Miles away from home: Newcastle’s USA fanbase is hooked – despite lack of success

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The pitch in Portland didn’t suit Newcastle United, but the welcome in Oregan couldn’t be faulted.

Steve McClaren had to leave out half a dozen players at Providence Park because of the artificial surface.

But the city – known for it’s bridges, much like Newcastle – was welcoming.

And so too was the USA, where the club has a surprisingly large following.

Some supporters adopted United as their club because of their fondess for Newcastle Brown Ale, which is popular Stateside.

I met fans who had travelled from across the USA to watch the team.

Some were exiled Geordies, many more were Americans.

For whatever reason, they were all hooked. For better or worse.

They wanted to seize the chance to watch the team they follow in the flesh, though what they saw was very much a work in progress.

Normally, they have to get up in the early hours to watch games on TV.

Before boarding my flight back to London Heathrow, I was reminded of the catchphrase of a one bartender in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Newcastle p[layed their first game.

He said: “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time.”

United’s fans certainly had a good time, though what they saw on the pitch wasn’t always to their liking.