Band delight as team run out to their song

TWO life-long Newcastle United fans yesterday spoke of their pride at hearing their own music played as the team’s new pre-match song.

Ian Barnes, Trevor Cox

TWO life-long Newcastle United fans yesterday spoke of their pride at hearing their own music played as the team’s new pre-match song.

Trevor Cox and Ian Barnes are members of up-and-coming North-East band The Longsands, whose version of The Blaydon Races is now played as the team runs on to the pitch before the game and at the start of the second half.

It was played for the first time at Saturday’s match against Portsmouth, replacing Sham 69’s If the Kids Are United and its predecessor, Mark Knopfler’s theme from Local Hero, called Going Home.

That tune was controversially dropped at the start of this season after a decade on the tannoy at St James’s, but after the club said it would return at the end of home matches, the Cramlington band duo are now hoping fans will get behind their track.

Saturday’s match wasn’t the first time their music has boomed out at the ground. The friends said the club had been supporting them for more than a year by playing their songs at home games.

And it was after a charity gig in Shearer’s Bar in September that the club approached The Longsands about recording the new song.

Yesterday singer Trevor – whose first gig was a Dire Straits concert at Gateshead Stadium – said he suffered from a rare bout of the nerves before the match on Saturday, but was pleased with the crowd’s response.

He said: “I’ve been going to St James’s Park since 1985 and I said yes straight away to the club.

“It’s not every day you get to do something like that. I was sat in the Milburn Stand watching Michael Owen run out to my song.

“We wanted to keep it as similar to the singing at the match as we could, so it speeds up and slows down like the crowd sing it. We recorded it when I had a cold, so it sounds like I’m singing really hard and we’re hoping it rings round the ground as hard and heavy as possible.

“I haven’t been nervous about much to do with the band, but on Saturday I was.”

Songwriter Ian added: “Personally, I’m into Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler and you can see where some of the fans are coming from.

“We really want the fans to get behind it. We tried doing a punk version but it just sounded rubbish, so we stuck with the traditional way.

“I was like a kid on Saturday. When we got our tickets, it was like the first time I went to the match.”

Trevor and Ian, along with friends David Stanyer and Gary Ormston, met as students at Cramlington High School, and formed a group called Lotus, which later disbanded.

It was after Trevor returned to the North-East from travelling and a short career in acting, that he and Ian, a former geography teacher, decided to give the new band, named after the Tynemouth beach, their full efforts.

All in their mid-20s, more recently they have recruited Sean Smith on drums, and this year completed a tour of all the major cities in the UK and sold out a gig in Hall 2 of The Sage Gateshead.

To find out more about The Longsands, visit www.thelongsands.co.uk where you can also join their mailing list.

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Shearer memorabilia at auction

THE shirt and skipper’s armband worn by Alan Shearer in Newcastle United’s 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Spurs in 1999 is to be sold at auction.

Shearer scored both goals, and the lot in the auction at Sotheby’s in London on November 20-21 is being sold with a note of authenticity from the player.

Priced at £600-£800 is a painting of Shearer in goal-scoring salute by artist Brian West.

The lot is rated at £1,000-£1,500.

A programme for the Newcastle United v Aston Villa FA Cup final of 1924 is set to fetch up to £8,000, and an autographed Newcastle 1910 FA Cup final-winning celebration dinner menu £700-£900.

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David Whetstone
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Mark Douglas
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Stuart Rayner
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