I was taken to my first game of football when I was nine years old. It was a sunny, end of season evening but I was more worried about falling off the concrete crash barrier than what was happening down on the pitch. Newcastle lost one-nil to Coventry: if you’re a Geordie you get used to sporting disappointment early on in life.
Regardless of the result, I was hooked. Since then I’ve seen football matches at more than a hundred stadiums around the world, from where it all began at St James’ Park to the Nou Camp in Barcelona, and the Yokohama Stadium, Japan. Most came in the mid-1990s when I went two-and-a-half years without missing competitive Newcastle game. Later, after moving abroad, I got to see three games in the 2002 World Cup and temporarily adopted teams in South Korea, Sicily, the Czech Republic and Japan. Like other obsessives, I’ve been driven through industrial estates to take photos of breezeblock stands and rusty metal turnstiles (Stirling Albion), broken through gaps in fences to stand on empty terraces (Nice, Plzen and Bratislava), or craned my neck in excitement at seeing floodlights from the sky.
This is my belated attempt at recording it all.