‘Big Al’ scores the one and only strike with Geordie ale

Some brands have an important place in the affections of those who grew up in the latter part of the last century. Think Chopper bikes, Sergio Tacchini tracksuits and the Rocksteady Crew.

Some brands have an important place in the affections of those who grew up in the latter part of the last century. Think Chopper bikes, Sergio Tacchini tracksuits and the Rocksteady Crew.

The Diary never mastered the electric boogaloo and hasn’t spun on its head for quite a while. The tracksuit is now stowed away in the attic and the Chopper got nicked from the school’s bike shed.

But there are things from those days that remain part of the Diary’s life. One of them is Newcastle Brown Ale, another is Alan Shearer, who still crops up on Match of the Day almost as often as he did in the early 1990s.

“The Dog” has accompanied the Diary through the sixth form, around student union bars (where some unfeasibly bad indie rock was being played) and still has a spot all of its own in the fridge. The same can’t be said of Big Al, but he has kept his place on the back pages of the papers.

But next month these two pillars of the North-east will come together as the good people of Newcastle begin what will no doubt prove to be a tearful farewell to the man once dubbed Mary Poppins.

The Geordie striker, who it seems has been around for as long as the beer, hangs up his boots this summer and to mark this footballing tragedy/ long overdue retirement, a limited-edition Newcastle Brown bottle will feature the knack-kneed former goal-machine.

Scottish & Newcastle says: “It is first time in the 79-year history of the brand that its famous label has been changed to celebrate the achievements of a celebrity.” It sure is the end of an era.

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