And 50000 in the Stands
The Exiles are the songwriting and recording team of Tim Readman - composer, singer, guitarist - and lyricist Alan Millen, both lifelong supporters of Newcastle United. Tim lives in Vancouver, while Alan (a former Vancouver resident) now earns his daily bread in Zurich. Through the magic of the Internet, Tim and Alan hooked up in the summer of 2002, quickly developed a common bond and set out to celebrate their team and the Toon Army in song. They have now penned and recorded 30 songs, which have been released on two CDs. 'The First Eleven (and three on the bench)' was released in 2003. Their second CD -- entitled 'And 50,000 in the stands' -- was released in May 2007 Both recordings features Tim on guitar and vocals, with fine accompaniment on violin, accordion, flute, keyboards and various other instruments by musical all-rounder and studio wizard Victor Smith, also of Vancouver. Among the famous players celebrated are Peter Beardsley, Frank Clark, Lee Clark, Paul Gascoigne, Hughie Gallagher, Tony Green, Jackie Milburn, Michael Owen, Alan Shearer, 'Jinky' Jim Smith and Tino Asprilla, with many others mentioned in the musical storytelling. But the songs are just as much about the fans as their footballing heroes, covering memorable (and often heartbreaking) occasions such as the emotional rollercoaster of the 1976 League Cup Final and the 1998 F.A. Cup Final, memories of standing on the terraces and the thrill of meeting one's future wife at St. James's Park. Also explored are the nostalgic feelings of Geordies who have emigrated and settled elsewhere but still retain a deep affection for "their glory days down by the River Tyne". The spirits of the timeless Tyneside songwriting trinity of Tommy Armstrong, Geordie Ridley and Joe Wilson are very much part of the The Exiles' approach as far as lyrics are concerned. More contemporay influences in this regard are Ray Davies, Paul McCartney, Mark Knopfler and Richard Thompson. Musically, the songs share common traits with the likes of Fairport Convention, Dire Straits, the Kinks and Jethro Tull (in their folkier moments). 'The First Eleven (and three on the bench)' has an overall Celtic feel to it, while 'And 50,000 in the stands' leans in the direction of pop/rock and has a few other musical surprises on it. Another key feature is that our songs accentuate what some people might describe as 'old-fashioned values', such as family ties, traditions, friendship, nostalgia, and a love of one's home region without romanticising it beyond credibility. We do not express vulgar hostility toward supporters of other clubs, preferring instead to celebrate our own intense affection for the city of Newcastle and it's people.