Latics Guest Column: Dan Burn
I've been waiting all season for the trip to Newcastle '“ it's the first one I looked for on the fixture list!
Being a Geordie, it’ll be good to go back home, and we’re all really looking forward to it.
I was obviously a massive Newcastle fan as a kid.
I used to have a season-ticket and go along with my dad – me and my brother used to go to half the games each with him.
My favourite game was when we beat Sunderland 5-1 – that was an unbelievable feeling.
Alan Shearer was obviously my hero at the time – the No.9 shirt is iconic in Newcastle.
I actually met him a few months ago, and it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever been star-struck.
I just didn’t know what to say to him. I just sat there in total silence...absolutely nothing!
I would love to have been a centre-forward like him, but that was never on the cards.
I played goalkeeper a bit as a kid, but when I played out it was always at the back.
To be fair, Newcastle have never been known for their quality of defenders over the years.
Jonathan Woodgate was probably the one defender I wanted to emulate more than any other.
But the big names, all the quality, were all at the other end.
It was the era when they were in the Champions League, with great players like Nobby Solano, Gary Speed...amazing times.
When you become a footballer it becomes slightly different, because you don’t really ‘support’ a team in that sense anymore.
But it’ll still be amazing to go back. I’ve been waiting to go back for years.
It’s a cliche but it’s true...everybody up there works towards going to the game on a Saturday.
The club is a massive part of the city, and you can see from the crowds they’re still attracting in the Championship that’s still the case.
Although I’ve been a professional footballer for a number of years, I’ve never actually played at St James’ Park before.
Every time I’ve faced them, it’s always been on home soil.
I was there as a kid, between the ages of 10-12, but to be fair I wasn’t a good player so I wasn’t surprised.
To be fair the decision was probably justified, although I was obviously gutted at the time, because it was my dream.
I then had the opportunity to go back when I came to leave Darlington for Fulham, but I decided it was probably better to get out of the north east at the time and go down to London.
I’ve been really lucky to have played at some great stadiums during my career – Old Trafford, the Emirates, Wembley.
But it will be quite surreal to walk out at St James’ Park, and I’ll probably be very nervous before the game.
It’ll be a great day for me, but I’d swap all that just to get the three points.
It’ll be a massive test for us, because Newcastle are flying high at the moment, and going all-out for promotion.
But we’ve come up with some decent performances against some of the big teams, and hopefully that’s something we can replicate that this weekend.
I thought Brighton looked a very good side when we played them, but Newcastle are paying some ridiculous wages – they’ve probably got most of the best players in the league – and they are where they should be, for the amount of money they’ve thrown at it.
That won’t make our job any easier, but I’m hoping with the big occasion and the full stadium that we can rise to the occasion.
I think there’ll be a lot of pressure on Newcastle to win the game, because it’s getting very tight at the top and they can’t be dropping points.
That might play into our hands, and help us out.
I have to say there’s been a lot of people who I haven’t spoken to for a few years that have suddenly come out of the woodwork wanting tickets!
I’ve spoken to Stevie (Warnock) and hopefully he’ll be able to sort me as many as I need.
My family have already sorted themselves out – they knew there’d be a mad scramble and they didn’t want to miss out.
But all my friends will want sorting out, and hopefully there’ll be enough to go around.
Hopefully we can put on a performance in front of all my family and friends and spoil their promotion party for another week.
The great thing about this league is the fact any team can beat any other on a given day.
It’s not like the Premier League where the top teams play the bottom teams and you know the top teams are going to win.
It’s far more of a level playing field, and hopefully it’s our day on Saturday.
If I pop up with a goal you’ll see some celebration.
I’ll probably do a full lap of the pitch!
Dan Burn was speaking to Paul Kendrick