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Ooh aah theatre!

Byline: By Owen McAteer

Toon Army vote for top chants from Keegan era

Eei Eei Eei Oh, what's this chant that we don't know?

Newcastle were charging up the Premier League in the first season back in the big time under Kevin Keegan.

United fans were in full voice and now supporters have picked their favourite chants from the early Keegan era to form the backing track to a new football play.

The Gala Theatre in Durham had asked the Toon Army to send top songs from the 1993 to 1994 season to be included in the play The Far Corner.

But the top five contains some surprise choices.

The favourite was "Robert Lee, Robert Lee running down the wing," sung to the tune of Robin Hood.

In third place was the little known Andy Cole song ( "Andy is our super king, hurrah, hurrah".

There were also some more obvious picks, including "Andy Cole, Andy Cole, Andy, Andy Cole, he gets the ball, he scores the goal, Andy, Andy Cole".

Simon Stallworthy, the director of the Gala Theatre, said: "I was surprised it was Robert Lee to be honest.

"Everybody knows about Andy Cole or Kevin Keegan. But I think most of the fans will remember the song."

Simon said that the range of terrace chants and content by Newcastle fans actually showed a great song writing ability.

He said: "Because somebody doesn't do it for a living it doesn't mean they can't do it very well.

"You will hear people say they are not very creative and then they come up with something like that. It is a different way of being creative."

One of the fans to send his chants was Ian Procter, who travelled to every away game with friend Ian Thompson of Redhouse Farm, who has since died.

He said: "Myself and a couple of mates, sadly one no longer with us, travelled everywhere that year.

"I remember being at Oxford away chanting `sing in the bus stop' referencing this tiny, poor, bus stop-looking shelter placed over a standing area.

"But my favourite of those days, to the tune of Robin Hood, was Robert Lee, Robert Lee, running down the wing."

Mark Jensen, editor of the Mag, said: "I can't remember the Andy Cole super king chant.

"Perhaps it was one bloke in a pub."

Cockney Lee signed for Newcastle from Charlton Athletic in 1992 after Keegan famously convinced him the club was nearer to London than Middlesbrough, who were also after his signature.

The hardworking midfielder became a fans' favourite in almost 10 years on Tyneside, overcoming being frozen out by manager Ruud Gullit, who did not even give him a squad number during his time in charge.

Lee won his place back in the side under Bobby Robson and scored United's first major goal at Wembley since 1976 in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea in 2000.

He eventually left Newcastle for Derby County in 2002 but is still idolised by the Toon Army.

The Far Corner, by Harry Pearson, is a tale of one fan's journey around the football grounds of the North East during the 1993/94 season, from grass roots to Premiership.

The book, written by North East-born Harry combines modern incidents with history, and fact with anecdote.

It runs at the Gala until this Saturday. Thursday's performance of the play is preceded by a talk by leading football photographer Stuart Clarke, entitled Football, Photography.

The top 5 chants

1. Robert Lee, Robert Lee, running down the wing.

2. Andy Cole, he gets the ball, scores the goal, Andy, Andy Cole.

3. Andy is our super king, hurrah, hurrah.

4. We are the Geordies... We are the loyalist football supporters the world has ever had.

5. Walking in a Keegan wonderland.

And here are some you will remember.

1. Toon, Toon, Black and White Army

2. Blaydon Races

3. Walking in a Shearer Wonderland

4. With an N and an E...

5. One Shay Given
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 11, 2006
Words:664
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