Few could have imagined at 7.55pm as the Champions league anthem blasted out around an effervescent that the outcome of what they were about to witness would be so comprehensive a victory that even the world’s best player would barely gain a mention.
Older fans have lived out on passing down to their children and grandchildren the “I was there” account of Tino Asprilla and his Barcelona demolition of 26 years ago; omitting of course to mention that Barcelona came so close to sharing the spoils that night.
But on Wednesday night the younger generation were handed their own “I was there” moment. One which they themselves can call their own for years to come. And in Dan Burn and Sean Longstaff they had two extra gold nuggets; two Geordie goal scorers to get one over on with their elders.
30 minutes before kick off the streets around the stadium were eerily empty of footfall but inside St James’ Park the place was bouncing with both teams warming up under a cacophony of noise being generated by both sets of supporters and as the referee blew his whistle to start the game the decibel level notched up even higher. In spinal tap terms it went up to eleven!
And there it stayed, for the next ninety minutes and more. The noise level barely dropped and nor did the pace of the game as the players of both teams went about their job.
By now we all know that Almiron put the magpies ahead on 17 minutes. converting the rebound after Donnarumma in the PSG goal could only parry Isak’s shot.
On 35 minutes, or was it 36 or 37, a long-awaited VAR conference held somewhere in the ether of UEFA land was finally concluded and Dan Burn’s header was confirmed as a goal after long debate that undoubtedly covered such topics as handball, offside and quite possibly the effects of Brexit on the prevailing price of fish; so long did it take for the goal to be given.
The frantic pace of the first half was matched in the second and within 5 minutes of the restart it was 3:0.
Sean Longstaff, having won the ball in midfield to start the move found himself breaking onto the box and meeting in his stride a slide rule pass from Trippier. He fired in a shot that cut across the PSG keeper, who inadvertently diverted the ball into the net off what appeared to be the underside of his arm having readjusted after anticipating wrongly that Longstaff would aim for the near post.
PSG pulled one back five minutes later through a glancing header from Lucas Hernandez but that was as much as the visitors had to offer as Newcastle defended admirably and without panic as and thought of a PSG foothold slipped away. And when Fabien Schar fired in a fourth in time added on, the party that started hours earlier kicked on.
The Parisian drummer packed up and headed for the exit leaving only the massed choir of rejoicing Geordies to sing their hearts out without the accompaniment while waving their flags and hailing their conquering heroes.
What a night!