Read a former Premier League goalkeeper's fascinating insight into what it's REALLY like to play against Newcastle at St James's Park
Former Premier League goalkeeper Brad Guzan has named St James's Park in his top five 'most epic soccer stadiums in theÂ the world'.
The 34-year-old spent nine years in England with spells at Aston Villa, Hull City and Middlesbrough before moving back to the USA in 2017, where he has since remained with Atlanta United.
But the home of Newcastle United has left a lasting effect on the American, and he spoke at length with The Players Tribune on why St James's Park 'creates a really dramatic atmosphere'.
Guzan called Newcastle fans 'crazy' and understands they are 'dying for a return to glory'. He also believes the 'banter is borderline abusive but often hilarious'
Here's the full Guzan transcript:
"This is one of my favourite stadiums from an architectural standpoint. At field level, the way the transparent roof extends over the stands creates a really dramatic atmosphere.
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"There are technically larger stadiums in the Premier League, but St. James’s feels really massive. Newcastle also puts the away fans at the very top, top, top corner of the stadium so you can barely see them.
"The passion of the fans in the North East of England is crazy. Back in the day, Newcastle was a Champions League team and the fanbase is dying for a return to glory, so there’s a lot of pent-up energy and frustration. It creates a unique kind of tension. I guess you could compare it to the Oakland Raiders in America.
"Going into Newcastle, you know you’re going to be exposed to some very interesting chants and songs. The supporters are going to tip-toe right up to the line of decency, and maybe over it. The banter is borderline abusive but often hilarious.
"Thankfully, once you get on the pitch, it’s actually quite hard to make out what the fans are saying, especially at a 50,000-seat stadium like St. James’s Park. At the smaller grounds like Loftus Road, where there’s just a few thousand people sitting five feet behind your goal, it’s a different story. You have to be very focused not to let it distract you.
"Off the field, I’ve been told that Newcastle is a very good night out. I’ve never been out (and with a new baby at home, probably never will have the pleasure), but I’ve certainly heard some stories."