Jake Burns is the main man with Stiff Little Fingers.

A brilliant punk band from the seventies who broke up in the eighties and then reformed, every year they play in March to a packed venue (usually the Academy) in Newcastle, allowing many of us to relive our youth, year after year.

Jake Burns is also a massive Newcastle United fan.

Growing up in Belfast, rather than ending up a Liverpool of Manchester United fan, he ended up sharing the curse most of us are born with.

In an interview with Sportskeeda, Jake Burns reveals how Newcastle United ‘got under my skin.’

He now lives in Chicago next to the home of the Cubs baseball team.

Two years ago the Cubs won the 2016 National League Championship Series and 2016 World Series, which ended a 71 year National League drought and a 108 year World Series championship drought, both of which are record droughts in Major League Baseball.

It would take a brave man to predict when Jake Burns and the rest of us will see our own NUFC drought(s) come to an end, the turn of the year will see it becoming 50 years since our last (Fairs Cup) trophy, 64 years since the last FA Cup victory, also 92 years since the last top tier title.

As Jake Burns might say, Newcastle United need to ‘Go for it’…

‘You’re known to be a big supporter of Newcastle United. When did that start?’

“My first wife lived in Newcastle, so I moved up there from London and I lived in Newcastle for 15, 16 years…

“That’s kind of when they got under my skin.

“I’ve often said, “It would’ve been a lot easier if she’d lived in Manchester or somewhere they actually had a football team that was going to win something.”

“But for better or worse, you know they’re there. They’re part of the fabric of my life, I’m stuck with them.”

‘Are there any other teams that you feel that way about that? That you feel that passionate about?’

“No, not really. I’ve lived in Chicago for the last 14 years. Simply because we live close to Wrigley Park, I became a default Chicago Cubs fan.

“I was beginning to think that I had managed to transfer the curse of Newcastle across to Chicago so much that it looked like that for the first 12 years I lived there. The Cubs were never ever going to win the World Series. And then blow the feathers, being the Cubs they have to find the most difficult way on Earth they will actually win it and still did.”

‘What was it that made you move to Chicago in the first place?’

“Probably the best reason is I fell in love with a woman… my wife is an American girl.

“She actually considered moving to the UK, but she had just been given a job offer in Chicago. I said to her, “Well look, you know I can do what I do, I can be anywhere as well as I’m close to a major airport.” They don’t get much more major than O’Hare [International Airport]…”

‘Well, you managed to move to one of the places that’s much colder than Northern Ireland…’

“If anything, it’s probably prepared me for the month up here [touring currently in Canada]. People here have been warning me this is going to be cold.

“Well, I lived in Newcastle, which was really cold.

“When I first moved to Chicago that was my attitude… The first time we had a snowfall and I literally couldn’t see the car. The car was buried. It’s like, “OK, this will be colder than England.”


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Mark Jensen