Just five days left to vote on theme song

NEWCASTLE fans who want to see the return of Mark Knopfler’s theme from Local Hero to St James’s Park have just five days to make their views known to club bosses.

NEWCASTLE fans who want to see the return of Mark Knopfler’s theme from Local Hero to St James’s Park have just five days to make their views known to club bosses.

Our poll for the pre-match song, which Local Hero theme Going Home is leading by a landslide, ends at midnight on Wednesday.

The vote, to which club bosses have pledged to listen, will come to a close just three days before the Magpies entertain Portsmouth at St James’s Park, whose line-up includes former United player Sylvain Distin. But will the French defender return to find the unfamiliar Sham 69 song If the Kids are United booming out as the teams run on to the pitch, or will The Journal’s poll result in Going Home being reinstated? It’s up to you.

Since a video of fans in Newcastle city centre went online at www.journallive.co.uk, there has been a surge in voting – but none of them have been for Sham 69, which replaced Going Home at the start of this season. After being played for a decade at St James’s, fans have inundated our offices with calls for it to return, which sparked our poll.

But as one fan points out on the video, the team’s best start to the season in 11 years has coincided with the new song.

The video features dozens of supporters and their families, polled on a walk from The Journal’s head office to the 52,000-seater stadium.

There we caught up with fans who had just completed one of the special tours of the ground that the football club staff conduct on a daily basis – and during which the famous Knopfler song was played.

Another fan tells NUFC bosses to “listen”, pleading for a return for Going Home, described as the “National Anthem” of St James’s Park and the mobile phone ringtone of thousands.

So far 1,395 people have voted for Going Home to be the song to which the team run out, putting the song firmly in the lead.

The Blaydon Races is in second place with 76 votes, while 33 fans have voted for no music to be played as the team runs out, allowing the crowd to build up the pre-match atmosphere.

Sham 69’s song has just 14 votes.

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How you can register a vote

YOU can tell us – and Newcastle United – the song of your choice by:

TEXT: Voice your opinion by texting JLNEWS followed by a space, then HERO, KIDS, BLAYDON or NONE, plus your name, house number and postcode to 84080. Texts cost 25p plus your standard network charge.

ONLINE: Click here to vote online

POST: Send to The Journal newsdesk, Groat Market, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1ED.

EMAIL: Send to jnl.newsdesk@ncjmedia.co.uk

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Gretna may get 'eco-stadium'

FOR the past five years, they have been defying the footballing odds by rising from English non-league football to the Scottish Premier League – now Gretna have set their sights on saving the planet and reviving their local community.

With their Raydale Park home of the last 60 years not up to Premier League standard, the Black-and-Whites are investigating plans to move to a new “eco-stadium” at an undisclosed site near the town centre with a range of community facilities.

The initiative for the stadium, which would be one of the most hi-tech and environmentally friendly in Britain, came from the Scottish Executive.

“When we talked to the Government, they asked if we were interested in an eco-stadium, which we’d never thought of,” explained chief executive Graeme Muir. “There’s a desire by Government to support such a prospect and everybody seems to be looking at it as a winner.” The stadium would generate its own electricity – through wind, solar and geothermal power – and re-use the water which fell on it, rather than using expensive sprinkler systems like most sports grounds.

This season, Gretna have been forced to play their home games at Motherwell’s Fir Park because clubs in Scotland’s top-flight are required to have a 6,000-seater capacity. Raydale Park holds just 2,000 spectators. Redeveloping their traditional home remains a possibility, but would hinder their ambition.

The development would also include a library, astroturf pitches, a sports therapy and treatment room, sports hall and multi-purpose rooms which could be converted into classrooms during the week.

After winning their respective championships for the three consecutive seasons, Gretna are playing in Scotland’s top division for the first time. They reached the Scottish FA Cup final in 2006, losing on penalties to Heart of Midlothian but qualifying for the Uefa Cup as a result.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer