THE JOURNAL took to the streets yesterday to find Newcastle United fans still clamouring for Mark Knopfler’s theme from Local Hero to return.
The demise of the pre-match anthem coincides with the team’s best start to a season in 11 years, but that hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of supporters calling for Going Home to be played once again as the team runs on to the pitch at St James’s Park.
It was scrapped by NUFC bosses at the beginning of this year after 10 years in favour of Sham 69’s If the Kids are United. Since then our offices have been inundated with calls from readers who want Knopfler’s song reinstated on the tannoy.
Almost 1,500 people have so far voted in our poll, mainly through our website www.journallive.co.uk, where today you can see the results of our interviews.
We walked from The Journal’s offices in Groat Market to St James’s Park, to canvas the opinions of stallholders, shopkeepers, street sweepers and even playwrights.
Opinions varied through all the options in our poll for the pre-game song, some calling for Local Hero’s return, and others welcoming the change to If the Kids are United.
The Blaydon Races was also a popular choice, as was leaving the tannoy silent and allowing the home crowd to build the atmosphere. Yesterday in the fans’ favourite Strawberry pub, in Gallowgate, Steve Scott, 47, a civil servant from Newcastle’s West End, said: “Maybe it’s time for a change. Local Hero’s been there for a few years but it’s not like at somewhere like Everton, where they have always had the theme from Z Cars.”
Barmaid Jane Scott, 21, from Fenham, said: “It’s a bit of a shame. When you hear that song, you think ‘Home match’. I’ve never even heard of the new song.”
Brian Edwards, 57, a quantity surveyor, said: “Local Hero was so appropriate. Even without Shearer it’s still appropriate.
“They played it for a whole season when Shearer wasn’t there, so that’s no excuse. It made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. I couldn’t believe it at the first game of the season.”
Mike Wolstenholme, 61, from Whitley Bay, also a surveyor, said: “It’s a shame they’ve stopped playing it. It’s a great song and they have to change it back.”
Iain Kane, 29, from Low Fell, Gateshead, added: “From the times I’ve been to St James’s Park you just expect it to be played. Everyone knows the song and everyone associates it with Newcastle United.”
Shawn Hewison, 43, an exiled Newcastle fan now living in Hampshire, said: “They should still run out to Local Hero. I didn’t know this had happened because it’s my first day back in Newcastle in 10 years.”
‘LOCAL HERO’ leads our fans’ poll with 1,342 votes, ahead of the ‘Blaydon Races’ which has 70 votes. This season’s replacement for Going Home, Sham 69’s ‘If the Kids are United’, has 14 votes, in last place behind ‘Nothing at all’ which has 28 votes. Newcastle United chiefs have promised to listen to our poll, which is running until midnight on Wednesday next week.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org