"Ye kna it's gonna be crap but you've got to watch it anyway," said the man at the bar. England's cricketers were 42-0. On the screen Ameobi, Nolan and the rest were coming out of the tunnel in their ghastly yellow shirts. Things, you felt, could only get worse. In contrast to much of last season, Newcastle played like something resembling a team. West Brom - formidable at this level, according to the morning papers - were looking distinctly ordinary. And then, right on cue, we were one-nil down. For the record, the unrealistic expectations of those Geordies present amounted to shrugs of the shoulders and mutters of "What else did you expect, man?"
An hour, one goal and several Krul saves later the mood in Newcastle was slightly more hopeful. Down at Headingly England had lost five wickets for another forty runs.