“I never make predictions………and I never will” – One of the most famous utterances of footballer Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne which has passed into commentary legend, but actually makes more sense than we all think.
If experience teaches us anything (and it doesn’t) predicting anything is utter folly. To stay with the North East footballing analogy, last season Newcastle United were flying high in the league and ended up qualifying for Europe.
The darlings of TV and regular scorer of inspiring goals (Chelsea away) the owner rewarded the manager with an unprecedented 8 year contract. Last night they conceded seven goals and dropped to within three points of the relegation zone.
Fate and time make a mockery of all predictions so instead I thought I’d look back over the last year – only to find that makes a mockery of expectations too.
(Much cooler 360 images can be viewed here & here)
Directly below my muddy shoes, almost 760 feet under the earth 1,400 men once hewed a living from the hot, dark, grimy pit of the land.
Less than 40 years ago the landscape would be scarred with soot, sound, smoke, grime and fire as armies of men and boys earned a living mining coal as their fathers and grand fathers had done before them.
But now it’s silent, calm and green with just me and a bike looking out over the Tyneside skyline.
I’m standing at the top of a former pit head that was once part of one of the world’s largest coal mines.