Miles away from home: Memories and moaning in Portland with Newcastle

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Speaking to Robbie Elliott ahead of Newcastle United’s game against Portland Timbers, I was reminded of one of the last interviews I did with him as a Newcastle United player.

Just over nine years ago, Elliott – who now works for Nike in Oregon – was sent off for two bookable offences in an FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea.

Robbie Elliott

Robbie Elliott

Elliott was shown his second yellow card after a blatant dive from Shaun Wright-Phillips at Stamford Bridge.

Newcastle lost 1-0 that night. Sadly, the club hasn’t come close to the semi-finals since then.

Elliott was distraught – and angry – after the game.

The defender felt what was a shocking decision could have a bearing on his future as he was playing for a new contract at the club, with his deal expiring at the end of that season.

As it was, Elliott left his boyhood club, for the second time, that summer.

Elliott, however, had already had one eye on his longer-term future, having studied part-time at Northumbria University.

And he’s now reaping the rewards for that hard work at Nike.

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So it’s not just the British who moan about the weather.

On the shuttle bus to my hotel in Portland on a hot and humid Sunday night, there was only one topic of conversation.

And it was the weather.

Portland has been enjoying a heatwave, with temperatures in the high 20s and 30s.

In England we complain about the weather when it’s cold. And many also complain when it’s hot.

It seems Oregonians are much the same.