|Season 2006-07 Result|
|Zulte Waregem||1-3||Newcastle United|
| D'Haene 69.
| Dindeleux 47 (og),
O.Martins 59 (pen),
|Date: 15/02/2007 Venue: Jules Otten Stadium Competition: UEFA Cup|
|Match Report||Submitted on 25/02/2007 by ?|
|Trip to Gent
The draw for the first knock out round of the UEFA Cup gave us an attractive destination, easy getting to and a fairly unknown and therefore easy(?) opposition – Zulte Waregem, whose ground is too small to accommodate the 650 travelling fans. Apparently Newcastle has only received 650 tickets for this fixture which was played in Gent, some 20 miles north of Waregem, in a ground not much larger than Hartlepool’s Victoria Ground.
|Mick and the under 5’s (Jonathan and the twins) booked a mini cruise lasting for almost a week for £ 58 each. I have decided to travel more in style using the Eurostar leaving on Thursday morning, getting there within 3 hours. We all arrived in Gent at about the same time – Thursday lunchtime. The weather was brilliant. Mick picked me up from the Station and took me to the hotel where we had to sort out the Internet booking first. They claimed I have only booked for 4 people rather than 6 and she wanted therefore another €50. It was a mistake of the website, hence not our fault and we sorted it out. In the meantime Size Zero Milli from Newcastle joined us with one of his mates, Ed. They stayed in the same hotel and arrived at the same time as everyone else. We just dropped our bags down, exchanging stories of our travelling experience (forgotten what Mick told me) and then went straight out again to sample the famous Belgium beer. Not all of us went straight out. Micky went for a kip first. It did not take long to find a bar and after a few drink we started a pub crawl which led us to the Irish pub in Town. This was the focal point of all the Toon fans and we saw all the familiar faces and some of our mates. We stayed here till about 6pm when Mick and myself got a bit peckish.|
|We had enough to drink and went to the McDonalds next door where the queues were horrendous. While waiting in line a stupid Belgium non-supporter started an argument with us and after a while the McDonald’s staff got a bit nervous. This idiot was going on and on calling us names and even after another Toon fan in the queue next to us headbutted him. He was still not shutting up and left us along. Then just before it started to kick off the Old Bill came in and took him out. Another Toon fans smacked him pretty hard on the head on the way. A bit stupid you could say doing this with a copper almost next to you. That meant that as soon as the cops got this kid out they came back looking for us. But everything calmed down very soon. The Old Bill had a few quite words with us and than let us go to the ground. Mick and myself were still starving. Eventually we got to the ground, had something to eat and got in. There was a massive police present for such a ‘low key - low crowd’ fixture. There was police and riot vans everywhere. The ground was small, old and not really exciting – typical Belgium. We had the whole end behind the goal where it looked more than 650 NUFC fans. Did they not count the corporates ? The ground was by no means full. I guess about 10,000 (tops).|
|The atmosphere was very good with us singing a few new European songs and dreaming from winning our first trophy in years. The game was awful in the first half. Really crap, but we played much better in the second. The under 5’s positioned themselves next to some topless Toon fans (well they were almost naked) to get onto the TV (which apparently they have managed). The older guard (me, Micky, Milli and Ed) watched the match from a quieter place a bit higher up, being able to keep and eye on the youngsters. They behaved and had their fun. In the second half Newcastle scored 3 goals (own goal, Martins, pen and Sibierski) and we won easily 3-1. The difference between the two teams was obvious – especially after the interval. Well, they are amateurs, fielding a few students. Given the second half the game overall was enjoyable.|
|After the game, as soon as we exited the ground, the police directed us away from the main road towards a residential area. Here we were surrounded by riot police and vans who escorted us to the train station from where we were trained back to Gent. It was quite funny, but the policing was well over the top. I was surprised, once we were on the train, they did not send us straight back to Brussels or to England. By the time we got back to the main station in Gent, where more riot police waited for us, it was quite late now and we were all knackered. From here it took us a while to get back to the hotel where we found Milli and his mate who somehow managed to escape the rounding up of Newcastle fans after the game. They walked straight back to the hotel. (No trams were running – or at least not for Newcastle fans.) We thought about finding another bar to chill out but the place was pretty dead so we decided to call it a day. It was after midnight now anyway.|
Friday 16th February 2007
We all made breakfast and than checked out. The hangovers were not too bad and about 11.30 we met up at the train station. Again it was a very nice day. Mick and the under 5’s decided to go to Bruges. Apparently sightseeing, probably avoiding another all day drinking session. Milli, myself and Ed went to the nearest boozer next to the Station where we had a few quite drinks before we parted at 3pm. 6.30pm I was back in London ready to meet some of my mates in Clapham for a Friday night out. The end of a good European trip. Roll on Amsterdam.