Launch of new Newcastle United book is a big success

Hundreds of Newcastle United fans were left enthralled and entertained at stories of life at the club.

Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:23 pm
Martin Hardy (centre) with former Newcastle United players Keith Gillespie and Steve Harper plus local band The Middens. Picture by Wayne Bordoli Photography.

Former Magpies stars Keith Gillespie and Steve Harper were on hand to help sportswriter Martin Hardy officially launch his latest book on United’s recent history, Tunnel of Love.

The book follows on from Touching Distance – which covers the 1995/96 season – while his latest looks at 1996 to 2009.

The Middens perform at Martin Hardy's 'Tunnel of Love' book launch. Picture by Wayne Bordoli Photography.

In front of a packed audience at The Exchange, North Shields, Keith and Steve talked of their careers at the club, some of the antics behind closed doors and how they still have sleepless nights over missing out on title glory.

Attendees were also treated to videos of the club’s highs and lows, and famous players, with The Middens performing live to accompany it.

Martin, of Whitley Bay, said: “It was an absolutely brilliant night. I don’t think it could have gone any better.

“To see the Exchange full with so many people who had showed a lot of faith, at short notice that the launch would work, was amazing and the feedback has been excellent.

The Middens perform at Martin Hardy's 'Tunnel of Love' book launch. Picture by Wayne Bordoli Photography.

“I think The Middens stole the show. They’re local lads with talent and they nailed six great songs with about two weeks to rehearse and prepare, which was exceptional.

“Everyone was talking about them at the finish, and how good they’d been.

“Keith and Steve have been important figures in the recent history of Newcastle and the crowd seemed to really enjoy the interviews and the stories they told.”

He added: “Both of them sat next to me when the videos of the periods covered in Tunnel of Love and Touching Distance were on and you could tell it was emotional for them. Newcastle United has never been short of drama, and it was all there on the night.

“It was a lot of work in a short space of time, but it was worth it. So many people pulled together to make it work.

“I don’t think it would have happened without Mark Elliott, the manager of The Middens, who kept believing that we could get it done and put on a great night.

“I’d also like to thank Karen Knox and Mike at the Exchange. It’s a beautiful venue and with their help it brought the launch to life.

“ pushed the night and we even had Gallowgate Flags lend us Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer for the night!”

Martin will be joined by Keith and John Beresford at a book signing event at Fenwick, Newcastle, on Saturday, from noon to 1pm.