Myself and my friend Dan, a big fan of Newcastle United had planned since the football fixtures had come out to come up to Newcastle to watch the game between our favourite teams, but as the best laid plans often do, the movement of the game to Good Friday and another bloody Sky game curtailed that.
So undeterred we still came up and if gave me a chance to have a look at our next opponents, a kind of 'scouting trip' with beer.
I also got the opportunity to see Luke Murphy (he's on loan at Burton) and the legend that is Luke Varney, ex-Leeds, Ipswich etc, he's had a few clubs since leaving the Theatre of Everlasting Hope.
We set off Wednesday morning bright and early to travel to see Newcastle's last fixture before they play the Mighty Whites. It was against Burton Albion who surprised our nearest, not dearest neighbours Huddersfield Town last Saturday with a 1-0 injury time win. A Transpennine express got us up to Newcastle, our travel aided by a Dark Fruits and Jack Daniels!
Travelodge found and booked in we went to have a look around St James Park pre-game and without doubt it's an old ground but still a place that has been Premier League for a number of years. I'd been before but it was a charity football match akin to Soccer Aid.
My mate Dan and the statue of Sir Bobby Robson.
Dressed and fed we set off back up to St James' ready for the game, Newcastle were expecting to beat Burton easy. However, I thought that Burton might get lucky and hopefully pinch a point.
Newcastle's line up is pretty impressive, solid at the back, two full backs that like to attack, industrious in midfield, where Shelvey is instrumental in most things they do, Diame is the ball winner with Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie on the wings and a Perez/Gayle attack. The wingers impressed me most and both Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi or Charlie Taylor will know they've been in a game with these two, very direct and fast are numbers 30 and 11.
I can see Pontus and Kyle also being busy with Dwight Gayle, who netted twice earlier in the season at ER but his partner Perez isn't the most popular player and most of their fans would choose Daryl Murphy ahead of him.
Without doubt 'The Toon' have a good squad and will definitely go up this season.
Newcastle won 1-0 but the story was about one of the strangest incidents I've witnessed at a football match, Newcastle were awarded a penalty when Gayle theatrically went over a outstretched Burton's defenders leg, penalty. Matt Ritchie scored it but the referee disallowed the goal as Gayle had encroached into the penalty area, instead of ordering it to be taken again he gave Burton a free kick much to the annoyance of Rafa and everybody in the stadium.
What a farce! Ritchie netted a superb winner twenty minutes from time, they can be good but can be beaten too, Burton with Luke Varney up front caused them enough problems to make me think Chris Wood might get a little joy from the two centre backs, but he will have to be helped, you can't launch it long and expect him to win it every time.
A great day out and if your coming up try the Strawberry public house just outside the ground, that is if the constabulary let Leeds fans in, a lovely pub and both sets of fans mixed without a bit of trouble. It sells beer and cider in two pint 'Stiens' just in case your thirsty.
This 'scout' thinks that Leeds are quite capable of rustling a few magpie feathers next Friday evening.
By Keith Ingham
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