There is nobody who dislikes the honors system in this country more than me.
As a lifelong socialist and republican, these bestowed ‘gongs’ still make me cringe, especially when I remember the roll call of some of the many toe-rags who have made it onto the Queen’s list over the years.
There have of course been some credible locals recognized with these honors over the years.
One of our own Knights of the Realm, Sir John Hall, always used to refer to our region as the ‘Geordie Nation’ back in the day when Newcastle United were resurgent as the ‘Entertainers’ in the 1990s.
Sir Bobby Robson also came back to manage his boyhood favorites and is sadly missed to this day.
Our rivals Sunderland have also seen two of their former Chairmen receive Knighthoods…the late Sir Tom Cowie, plus of course the man who gave them the Stadium of Light, Sir Bob Murray.
This got me thinking.
If we ever did have a regional assembly, us Geordies could maybe still stick with a little tradition and have our own honors list.
For many years Toon fans have quite rightly referred to our endeared 1990s goalscoring number 9 Les Ferdinand as ‘Sir Les’.
Below, as a Newcastle United fan, I am going to give my own nominations and reasons.
I would have two new regional Knights and one Dame.
First up, Sir David Kelly of Gallowgate.
If any young-uns don’t know how important his goal in our centenary year of 1992 was, I suggest they go and look up the significance of his late half-volley against Portsmouth. Sir David was lauded by ‘Wor Flags’ last season when he was back at St James’ Park, and I still remember him receiving a standing ovation when he came back as a player with Sunderland.
As for my Dame, this can be none other than the woman who never gave up when everybody was trying to kybosh Newcastle United’s takeover.
There is a great YouTube clip of Dame Amanda on Talksport, with Simon Jordan trying to pour scorn on her attempts to push through a deal with the consortium.
It was great seeing the follow up a short time later with Mr Jordan munching on a massive piece of humble pie.
As the secretary of the ‘Gloaters’, I wrote to Tony Cascarino at the turn of the year informing him of our plans for our inaugural reunion after 35 years. A little surprised at first, he was still kind enough to send a couple of signed pictures.
I would like to bestow upon him the title of Sir Anthony Cascarino of Roker.
Instead of OBEs I would have OGEs (Order / Officer of the Geordie Empire).
The first one is for George Caulkin, the most informative journalist in North East football. Throughout the long drawn out takeover it was George I looked for to receive the most accurate updates.
Rafa Benitez also becomes an OGE for sticking with Newcastle United after relegation in 2016 and taking us straight back up as Champions twelve months later. My good friend and fellow contributor, Tony Mallabar, has recently started a fan club in our favorite Spaniard’s honor.
Not many people will be familiar with Liam Boyce…but he is the ‘lolli-pop man’ in my list if you want.
Liam gets an OGE for scoring a late goal for Burton at the Stadium of Light and then running around wearing a bra, after relegating Sunderland back into the Third tier in 2018.
Now for the Members of the Geordie Empire.
Nick De Marco’s is well served. He was set to represent us along with Shaheed Fatima against the team hired by the EPL to stop the takeover. No one will now ever know what he had up his sleeve from him, but throughout the build-up to the ‘case that was n’t’, Nick kept in dialogue with us on twitter, often sending upbeat cryptic messages.
My fellow North Shields citizen Sam Fender also receives an MGE. This lad reminds me a little of the late, great Alan Hull of Lindisfarne, in the way he regularly champions his home town, Newcastle United and the region.
Oh…and he also has my Uncle Tommy’s grandson Joe as his keyboard player.
Last but certainly not least is the friendly, honest and enthusiastic Keith Downie MGE.
When it comes to anything about Newcastle United this fella is always on the ball and has fast become one of the shining lights on Sky Sports.
Well that’s that, a bit of cràic and fun and hopefully it won’t be taken too seriously by some of our more sensitive readers.
I’ll be in the pub this afternoon to join my mates, some of whom will be trooping their colors (new strips) when we take on 1860 Munich.