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Toon Under: Meet our Aussie Magpies

This week, Newcastle United will fly out to Australia ahead of facing Tottenham Hotspur and the A-League All-Star Men in Melbourne and, despite being over 10,000 miles away from Tyneside, will be backed by a number of Magpies fans based Down Under.


Eddie Howe's side will kick off the city's 'Global Football Week - Melbourne' event at the world-famous Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) at 7:45pm (all times AEST) on Wednesday 22nd May, taking on a Spurs side managed by one of the city’s favourite sons, Ange Postecoglou, before facing the A-League All Star Men at the impressive Marvel Stadium in Melbourne's Docklands on Friday, 24th May at 5:05pm (all times AEST).


The post-season trip also marks Newcastle United's first visit to Oceania for almost a decade, when the Magpies won the Football United Tour in New Zealand with victories over Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix in the summer of 2014.


We spoke to a number of Australians who hold Newcastle United, despite their vast distance from St. James' Park, so close to their hearts.

THE CLUB STANDS FOR TRADITION, RESILIENCE, AND COMMUNITY. IT EMBODIES A RICH HISTORY AND HERITAGE THAT IS DEEPLY INGRAINED IN THE FABRIC OF THE CITY AND ITS PEOPLE. THROUGH THE HIGHS AND LOWS, THE CLUB HAS SHOWN RESILIENCE, BOUNCING BACK FROM CHALLENGES AND ADVERSITY WITH DETERMINATION AND SPIRIT.

CLARE O'CONNOR

On creating the St. James' Park feeling when unable to be there in person:

Tim Brown: I set up the NUFC Sydney group with the one goal of bringing together Newcastle fans across Sydney and New South Wales to watch games together. We meet at Cheers Bar on George Street for a number of games throughout the season and this helps to create an atmosphere away from St. James' Park.

On average, around 50 fans attend (kick off times tend to range from 9:30pm to 3am) and it's been a great way of bringing together ex-pats or Australia-born Geordies from across the city. Highlights this season have included the Tyne-Wear derby where we reached capacity (250+ Newcastle fans) and hosting the first ever Australia national fans meet up in 2022 - with around 150 fans from across the country in Sydney for the weekend. 


Claire O'Connor, who will be attending both of Newcastle United's fixtures in Melbourne this week: Even though I've been away from home since 2009, the sense of family unity and connection to Newcastle United hasn't faded. Thanks to NUFC groups overseas, I've found a way to recreate that sense of camaraderie and friendship even from afar.


Whether it's chatting in the lead-up to games, meeting up in pubs prior to kick-off, or exchanging messages and FaceTime calls with family and fellow fans, being a Newcastle United fan means staying connected and part of a larger community, no matter where I am in the world.


Dimitri Bourandanis, who has supported Newcastle United for over a quarter of a century: I’ve watched every single game and don’t think I’ve missed a live game for over 15 years. Most of the time, given the time difference, I’ve had to watch at home but that doesn’t stop me from expressing unbridled ecstasy when we score or win a game!


On some occasions, I’m able to experience the games with fellow NUFC supporters here in Melbourne, by congregating at a pub or venue to drink, chant and enjoy together.


Mark Scott: I arrange match meet ups for Brisbane for likeminded fans through a Facebook group I was asked to help as an admin. We have grown to a few hundred fans, often doing the lunchtime kickoff games and steadily growing, and the atmosphere created is just like being back in Newcastle.


I am also part of a podcast team here in Australia where we do match previews and reviews, the occasional watch-along and try to get guests on to share our passion with fellow fans despite being so far away. These two have been great to meet up with fans and really is the next best thing to being back with your mates in the UK or at the match.


On being a Newcastle United supporter:

Tim Brown: It was a huge part of my childhood. I had a season ticket with my dad, grandad and cousins between 1995 and 2014. It's a unique feeling being a Newcastle fan and you feel a togetherness with other supporters.


Whether it is watching a Newcastle game at St. James' Park away from home or the pub in Sydney with hundreds of others, the feeling is similar - a raw passion and love for a sports club that is so pivotal to the North East of England. Even since being outside of the UK, my passion, and I can speak for others, hasn't wavered. 

Clare O'Connor: Being a Newcastle United fan means everything to me. It's not just about supporting a football club; it's about passion, pride, and a sense of belonging. The word that comes to mind when describing my experience as a Newcastle fan is "intense". There's an intense passion for the club, its players, and the fan base that runs through every game and every season.


Moving away from home to Australia made me realise how much Newcastle United is intertwined with my family and my identity. When people asked what I would miss the most about home, it was the football because it wasn't just about the games, it was about the shared experiences with my family.

Whether we were all at the stadium together or watching from afar, supporting Newcastle United was our bond. It was how my family connected with us kids, and those hours spent together as a family are cherished memories.



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