For us Newcastle fans, Saturday afternoon's 3-0 defeat at Oxford - a match for which I thought it would be prudent to return to my old stomping ground and witness in the flesh - is just the latest in a long line of humiliations. Perhaps our most spectacular and infamous collapse, at least of recent times, is the one that saw us lose a 12-point lead at the top of the Premier League in 1995/96 and get pipped to the title by a ruthless Man Utd. However, that particular failure is looked on with not shame, embarrassment and anger but pride and fondness.
Martin Hardy's Touching Distance, which I've recently reviewed for The Two Unfortunates, tells the tale of a halcyon era in the club's history in a manner pretty much guaranteed to bring a smile to the face, a lump to the throat and maybe even a tear to the eye. In other words, just the tonic for a miserably wet Monday morning in January when the current crop have just been comprehensively dumped out of the FA Cup by lower-tier opposition.