It is an auspicious 24 hours for the black-and-white footballing residents clinging to both banks of a great river.
Because before big brother Newcastle United go desperately searching for their first Premier League win on the other side of the Tyne come Friday night Gateshead have their centre stage moment against Charlton Athletic in a FA Cup second-round tie beamed out live to the country on ITV4.
Charlton are a club of historic stature who straddling the Second World War were amongst the royalty of English football.
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During the thirties the Addicks produced their highest league finishes peaking when runners-up of the First Division in 1937. Then immediately after the war Charlton reached two consecutive FA Cup finals, losing in 1946 but winning at Wembley the following year having beaten Newcastle in the semis.
Their old time super hero was a Jarrow lad Sam Bartram who is still the club's record appearance maker playing 623 times in their glory years between 1934 and 1956. But for six years lost to the Second World War it would have been so many more.
Bartram was a miner who operated at either centre-forward or wing-half in local football. However when his village club Boldon Villa were without a goalkeeper for a cup final in 1934 Bartram took over between the posts. Anthony Seed, Charlton's North East scout and brother of legendary manager Jimmy, was watching the game and Bartram played so well he recommended him to his sibling.
Charlton first entered the Football League in 1921. Since then the club has had four separate periods in the top flight of English football: 1936â€“1957, 1986â€“1990, 1998â€“1999, and 2000â€“2007.
That represents some challenge for non-leaguers even if Gateshead have their own history as a Football League club reaching the FA Cup quarter-finals of 1953 when they defeated Liverpool before going out to Nat Lofthouse's Bolton Wanderers who went on to lose an epic Wembley encounter 4-3 in the famous Matthews final.
Charlton have already been up to the North East this season and triumphed. In October they put a huge dent in Sunderland's promotion hopes of at last leaving League One behind them coming to the Stadium of Light and winning 1-0. That puts into stark prospective the challenge Gateshead face before the live cameras but then every year the FA Cup throws up giantkilling acts. It is the lifeblood of a still great competition and why television is here.
For me this is a weekend of quivering speculation. I have supported Newcastle from the cradle and will to the grave while I owned Gateshead for 11 years and remain their life president.
What they are currently achieving is in no way down to me of course but that doesn't prevent my feeling of pride. When they were in the old Third Division North I was a kid and used to walk from our house in Benwell over the Redheugh Bridge and down to Redheugh Park on the Saturdays Newcastle were playing away to marvel at the Callender brothers, Bob Gray, and Johnny Ingham.
Now Mike Williamson, a central defender as honest as the day is long who served Newcastle United loyally, is player-manager of the Heed and the big name leader of a squad which includes no fewer than nine players who were once fleetingly or otherwise in the garb of their illustrious neighbours.
Get the weekend off to a flyer Mike my old son. We all need a lift!
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