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The Song Remains The Same.

Enough of the comparisons of Roker and the Stadium of Light.

Put them into the feather bed of history, where they rightly belong.

Both are part of our club: the Roker Roar was accompanied by wading ankle deep in piss to visit the bogs (did anyone ever actually dare to do more than piss? What a thought.)

I digress.

So let's not to get too romantic. It was never about the place. It was, and is, about the people inside that place.

And, from many thousands of miles away, with faint evidence other than the ramblings of a message board and a gut feel that only those born among the coalfields which were once of County Durham could understand, I think those people have once again boarded the bus.

Why the F.A. Cup had lost its glamour can be debated for hours. Certainly the all-powerful Premier League/Sky TV marriage-in-hell is number one on most people's coupon.

But there's a magic that still creeps out of that box which remains the world's oldest and greatest knock-out competition.

And I suspect, in just over a week, it might not just creep but explode.

Now, at the age of 55 with children grown and various wives dispersed, I can simply close my eyes and remember that night back in 1973 when we beat Manchester City (no abbreviations for such an historic occasion). Those who were there will understand. It remains a touchstone.

But those that were there, and I am guilty as self-charged, can use that same wonderful night as a subtle battering ram against those younger, not yet born. "You should have been there" they crow. Tough to be somewhere when you weren't even born.

That's what we older buggers do. My dad did it with Shack: "Ah, well..but you never saw him play."

But there is a remedy for that old-time bullshit.

Just turn up, roar from that place deep down in the stomach where real life exists, and scare the living shit out of a bunch of prima donnas who wouldn't know a Liver Bird from a Mockingbird.

Then, in 30 or 40 years, you too can have that privilege of age, that "I was there" moment.

Different times, different circumstances.

But not different people.

Sharkey's Shadow
(Our Canadian Correspondent)

March 20, 2012

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