Newcastle United
St James' Park

Ground No. 39
Visited - Sunday 9th May 2004
Result - Newcastle United 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Competition - FA Barclaycard Premier League
Attendance - 52,139

Having visited the City of Manchester Stadium about a month previously, and being convinced that that was by far the best English ground, many people had told me that I had a treat in store up at Newcastle.
Not only is it one of the largest grounds in the country, the two big stands are something to be experienced by everyone, so this was one of those that at the start of the season was circled straight away, its just a shame that being the last away game it had to take so long to come to!

The journey up to Newcastle was surprisingly good, just over 3 hours after changing in Birmingham. Although there were two Newcastle fans on the train the whole way, and its not a journey I would like to do every other week, simply for cost if nothing else! But seeing as it’s the furthest trip of the season it wasn’t too bad.

Once in Newcastle finding the ground wasn’t too hard, it was just a simple case of following the shirts, I always prefer grounds that are on the edge of Town/City centres, not only do you get a feel for the city itself, but its never hard to find either. Also when coming into Newcastle you cant fail to miss it with the new stands towering above everything around, it really is an impressive sight, and the partisan support for the club in the city is impressive as well.

Before the game I had a look at the sights of Newcastle, and it’s quite a nice city, certainly architecture wise if you're into that sort of thing. Due to the early Sunday kick-off there weren’t too many pubs open, and those that were seemed to be full of black and white shirts, so were probably best avoided.
After a while, I started to walk towards the ground, and once there walked around taking pictures. After that was done, it was into the ground where I was about to be even more impressed than before! Walking up to the away section was more like a hike, staircase after staircase kept on coming, with there being 16 in all. Once at the top and after a much needed beer I went into the away section. I was in row F, and after the hike up the stairs I thought I would be coming out at the top of the stand, but no, there was even more as the entrances are at the bottom of the away section.

When you come into the seating area you really cant help but being blown away by how high up you are, the players looked more like an 80s computer game, and just different coloured dots on the pitch! The rest of the ground is quite impressive as well, and despite being dwarfed by their newer neighbours the Gallowgate End and East Stand still stand out in their own right as being better than your average stand.

The game kicked off, and Newcastle dominated really, taking a deserved lead halfway through the first half. The second half started better for us, and we got back into it when Vio Ganea pulled us level after the Newcastle defenders got into a mix-up. Newcastle did win a very dubious penalty later on, but Paul Jones pulled off a great save to keep the scores level, and it finished with a point each.

The most surprising thing of the day was the home fans, as we didn’t hear a peep out of them at all. So often people talk about how they're the greatest fans in the world, but a little singing wouldn’t hurt, we did our best, making the most of the occasion having been relegated the previous week, but it was just never reciprocated.

Getting away was easy enough, fans were mixing freely and there didn’t seem to be any problems, although outside the train station there did seem to have been an incident with the Burberry boys and police being on alert. Despite this though, I managed to get on the train south again, and was back home before too long.

Overall it was a good trip, and I can see why people kept telling me that I had a treat in store when this game was announced, although I can't decide whether it’s the unique experience of being so high up that makes people think that this is the best ground in the country, but either way it certainly is one of the best, and a must do for any football fan. If the two larger stands could be continued all the way around (unlikely I know) then it would easily be one of the best in the world.

Layout of St James' Park

Rear of the Gallowgate End

Side of the Milburn Stand

Rear of the Milburn Stand

Rear of the North West Corner 
(note the car park in the bottom few levels)

Rear of the East Stand

Detailing on the East Stand

View from the concourse of the North West Corner

 The Sir John Hall Stand (left)

The East Stand

The Gallowgate End

The Milburn Stand

View from the top row of the away section

Interesting architectural style of the roof


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