It was little witches and ghouls and lots of face painting at Britannia Stadium on monday night, and the visiting Geordies ruled Britannnia with a convincing 3-1 win, moving them up to 3rd place in the EPL.
My Norwegian friends Harald and Marcus joined me on a pre match stadium tour led by Football in The Community guy Daniel Golden. The home dressing room and other photo opportunities, including sitting on the home team bench and then an hour or so of fun in the Family Area where the mercurial Wayne had them and many young fans including the Newcastle mascot and the Stoke mascots having a ball. By then Daniel had changed into his Pottermus costume to entertain the fans.
Face painting, mini goal attempts, Wii interactive games and more. Wayne is a bundle of energy and amazing. The Britannia is normally a home fortress, but not this night with Demba Ba, born in France and a Senegalese international scoring a well deserved hat-trick. In fact he was supposed to sign with the Potters for 9 millian pounds from Hoffenheim in January, but failed a medical and finished up at St. James Park via West Ham United, in black and white stripes.
The home team couldn't match the Geordie attack and the solid defence with Dutchman Tim Krul in goal and Colocinni the Argentinian superb in the middle of the back line. It was a great atmosphe in a full stadium with Geordie fans singing The Blaydon Races, their anthem and chanting "Are you Sunderland in Disguise" in reference to their woefull near neighbours who also play in red and white stripes. Stoke bought their floodlights from a baseball club in Utah, and their giant TV screen is a hand me down from Old Trafford, but there is a great atmosphere.
Peter Crouch danced around like a fairy in the Stoke attack and despite the skill and creativity of Jermaine Pennant, the long throw-ins from Rory Delap and a late entrance for Kenwyne Jones, they were decisively beaten at home, a rare occurance. Another rare sight was the appearance of Jonathan Woodgate, former teen star at Leeds United and England international with a forgettable short spell at Real Madrid. He has so much talent and so many injuries. I wish him well in his comeback.
Post match entertainment came from a very cold ball boy friend of ours, Sheldon Connell, a laugh a minute and always with his smile, who was 16 a couple of days ago, and surrounded by his admiring girls friends at the Potters Souvenir Store.