FOREST AWAY: Newcastle, Tuesday 26th December – Fan Guide
Writing this latest edition of our guide, it was difficult not to cast the mind back to our last visit up to St James’ Park. It was a day of sunshine and excitement to be back in the Premier League. This time there is not so much sunshine and certainly not so much excitement. When adding in a ridiculously early start to make a ridiculously early kick-off and those bloody steps up to the away end, you’d be forgiven for taking the option to stay in bed, come together with the family and spend the day being festive and jolly in a warm house.
Thankfully 3,000 or so hardy Reds will once again leave such logic to one side and put their support firmly behind their team once again. For our sake as much as anyone I dearly hope there is some reward for such efforts.
TRAINS: There are no trains running on Boxing Day.
ROAD: A Boxing Day visit to the North-East will forever bring back troubling memories of Middlesbrough 2014 when the sky erupted on the way home after a 3-0 defeat and snow blocked the way home. Thankfully, no snow appears to be forecast.
Heading from the south, take the A1(M) and then take your pick of routes depending on where you intend to park. St James’ is in the city centre which does limit easier options and keep in mind that with there being no trains the majority of fans will be driving in which could make it hectic, especially with the earlier kick-off and fans not staggering their arrival across several hours.
Unfortunately, I cannot offer any sure-fire solution on parking, my one experience with being in a car to Newcastle was for the League Cup game some years back and we parked at the train station but not really comparable as it was a much smaller crowd. Using the usual logic, using the A1 around to the west and then using the A186 (West Road) in towards the city centre seems to pass via some sizeable housing estates which could very probably offer some street parking. One advantage of Boxing Day is normal parking restrictions shouldn’t apply. Parking a bit further away and with one eye on escaping back to the motorway seems particularly wise for this one.
Our Newcastle fan below has a couple of very specific ideas on parking too which may help.
We discuss in the Q&A below that Newcastle is a welcoming place for an away supporter. Fans are not restricted like they are when visiting other stadiums and during out trip to St James’ last season we had no issues wandering around pubs and mixing with home supporters. Obviously, many of us may not arrive early enough to allow much chance for a drink…
The Victoria Comet across from the station and a 15-minute walk to the stadium is, I understand, still the main venue for away fans while the nearby Gunnar Tavern will generally be a mix of both sets of supporters. But, again, do not feel restricted to just these places, there are many fine pubs to sample.
With it being an early kick-off on Boxing Day certain place may not open until later but it is my expectation that most will open in good time.
Q&A with Paul of the Magpie 24/7 fan channel (@Magpie24_7)
It was an exciting, breakthrough season for Newcastle last season. How is this one comparing and what’s the aim come May? Presumably you’ll be eager to sample the Champions League again?
This season is being dominated by injuries, sadly, and that’s impacting on results, mainly away from home. Saying that the home form has been good and the players are giving everything and that’s all we ever ask for.
Both this season and last season we are playing some good football and we have some great players to watch – it’s also great to see the club so ‘United’ together still after a decade of decline and misery under Mike Ashley’s retched ownership.
The aim this season has still to be some sort of European football again on Tyneside – anything!
Given that initial success has expectation become a problem among owners / fans?
No I don’t think so. We always knew, and the club communicated this well through last season’s Amazon documentary, that this season would have its challenges but despite some VERY bad luck injury wise and despite more dodgy VAR shenanigans we are still very well placed in the league.
We aren’t a demanding bunch and are all well behind Eddie and the boys and enjoying the ride. The future is bright for our club!
There is some frustration among Forest fans that this game has been shifted to such an early kick off on Boxing Day. Do you have recommendations on parking for those coming up in the car?
The fans are never thought about these days more than ever and we share your frustrations with kick off times and TV companies. We’ve got Arsenal on a 8pm kick off away coming up and the last train home leaves at half time! Madness!
There is plenty of parking about Liddle Street, Longley Street and around the Arthur’s Hill area. That’s just a ten-minute walk away and is all free! Just Park considerably for the local residents there.
One of the great things about an away day at Newcastle is the option to drink in pubs all over the city, without us being forced into certain venues. Can we trust that pubs across Newcastle will continue to welcome Forest fans again this time and be open at a good hour on Boxing Day?
Yes, YES, Yes! The one thing that annoys me on away days we take is ‘home and away’ pubs as there should be no need for separate areas, but there is none of that on Tyneside.
Home and away fans regularly mix in the 131 pubs close to St James Park and it’s all part of the day and builds up the atmosphere for the game! It’s how it should be! Come and have a drink and a great time!
How important is Jamal Lascelles to Newcastle? Being our former academy player, I’ve always kept tabs on him and he seemed to be out of the picture until I saw him playing in the Champions League this season.
Jamaal Lascelles has been a great signing for Newcastle United – THANKS!
He has had his own injury frustrations in previous campaigns but this season, after remaining VERY patient behind the excellent Schär and Botman partnership, he has once again stepped in and stepped up! He came in when Sven Botman was injured and has done a great job in defence, softening the Botman blow. He’ll start on Boxing Day you’d think with Fabian Schär only rated 50/50 with an injury.
We recently had a display in the Gallowgate featuring Jamaal stating ‘Championship to Champions League’ and I’m glad as he deserved it and I hoped it showed what warmth and love the Toon Army have for our club captain and his near 10 year service to our club. A proper man’s man footballer, a great ambassador, a leader and not one to ever complain if he’s on the bench – he always puts the club first, top class.
Finally – let’s have your predictions…
Where will Newcastle finish?
Where will Forest finish?
Who will win the league?
Which 3 teams will go down?
Always a tough one bit here goes!
Where will Newcastle finish? 6th – injuries and long term, freakish ones have hampered us this season and the Tonali ban hasn’t helped either after spending so much of our FFP budget on him but I still think somewhere around the top 6 is realistic and another good season.
Where will Forest finish? You’ve no worries at all around relegation, that’s the first thing to make clear. I was surprised you changed Manager after all Steve Cooper had done though, his legacy is certainly something to build on. I think at least 14th or above, possibly higher with a good January.
Who will win the league? I hope it’s not Arsenal! Can’t stand Arteta and has histrionics. I lost a lot of respect for them because of his paddying and antics, he doesn’t have the grace and class of some of the other top bosses. I think Liverpool will be ones to watch, Villa are shaking it up, but don’t count Man City out of it at all – they are the measuring stick still despite an iffy few weeks, they are world champs!!
Who will go down? Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton. I think the current bottom 3 will be the final bottom 3 with the greatest respect to them and their fans, who I’ve no problems with. Shame it wasn’t Everton now that would have been funny!
With thanks to Paul for his help on the Q&A.
Safe travels to everyone travelling and wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.
See you on Boxing Day.