Talking Sport: Smiling Geordies welcome Magic Weekend
Somebody in Super League got it right as the top clubs head for Newcastle to play their Magic Weekend at St James’ Park.
The fans should be met by that rarity - smiling Geordies - as the locals continue to celebrate the fact that Newcastle United escaped relegation from the Premier League.
After around three months of misery, with one point from nine games, victory over a half-interested West Ham meant survival and people celebrating wildly instead of cursing the dross they’ve had to endure.
So, all being well, they’ll welcome rugby league as a nice, competitive change from their usual suffering. Widnes, who have shrewdly brought out a Newcastle black and white striped strip for the occasion, will be specially welcome.
The Championship’s first Summer Bash weekend at Blackpool went well enough and a series of derby fixtures meant reasonable if not exceptional attendances.
It’s now 2-0 to the Rams over the Bulldogs this time and Dewsbury’s fourth in the table has inevitably brought interest in their coach Glenn Morrison, who is doing an excellent job.
Little wonder Dewsbury turned down Wakefield’s request to interview Morrison. Changing coach now would hit the Rams hard. It’s bad enough Dewsbury folk losing hospital services to Pinderfields without Wakey pinching their rugby coach as well.
There are a couple of other sporting encounters of note with the FA Cup final between Arsenal and Villa at the daft kick-off time of half-past five. And they wonder why supporters turn up drunk.
It’s OK if you’re a North Londoner supporting Arsenal and can almost walk to Wembley but the prospect of extra-time and penalties and no trains back is a bit much for Villa.
A lad under pressure this weekend will be Sam Burgess, playing in the RU Premiership final for Bath against Saracens at Twickers.
He’s still treated with contempt by those who can’t accept the split of 1895 didn’t bring the death penalty and there were a few more nasty digs after his team’s semi-final win over Leicester.
One writer suggested Burgess might struggle to cope with a major union final. It seems the writer has never heard of or seen the Australian NRL’s Grand Final.
The game is, of course, the result of union’s top-four play-offs. I wonder where they got that idea.
Apart from Geordie supporters, the biggest smiles belong to football agents. The end of the season means once again the keys to football’s bank vaults have been handed to these helpful types.
Most publicised is the bloke looking after Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling, who wants away. Judging by their 6-1 thumping at Stoke, they need rather more than Sterling and the result put another manager under pressure.