‘Almost in tears’ - Much-loved Newcastle United superfan on Magpies’ visit to hometown of Dortmund

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Newcastle United fan Ronald has been following the club from Germany for years and can’t wait to welcome the Geordies to Dortmund.

Buoyed by victory against Premier League title chasers Arsenal, there's no feeling of Monday blues for Newcastle United supporters, some of whom are on planes, trains and buses moving towards Dortmund for this week's Champions League action.

For 43-year-old Magpies fan Ronald, the journey to the Signal Iduna Park will be much less of a faff. The honorary Dutch Geordie has been living in nearby Wuppertal for 15 years and couldn't believe his luck when Eddie Howe's side drew his local Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund on their return to European football.

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"I was almost in tears, I was so thrilled," Ronald remembers as he watched his side qualify for the competition at the end of May. "I was bricking it during the Leicester game! Then when the Champions League draw was done I was thinking RB Leipzig or Feyenoord wouldn't be too far away and then when Dortmund came out, I thought I have to be there."

Ronald's love for Newcastle United was fostered from an early age and, somewhat ironically after last week's Carabao Cup win, was kickstarted by a Manchester United-loving brother.

He said: "I used to watch football as a kid, and obviously still do. The Eredivisie in the Netherlands isn't the best ever so I was always watching English football. I'd play Championship Manager with my brother, who is a huge Manchester United fan, he picked that team and told me to play as Blackburn Rovers because they had just won the league with Alan Shearer.

Ronald has followed Newcastle United from afar for years.Ronald has followed Newcastle United from afar for years.
Ronald has followed Newcastle United from afar for years. | Image: @Lainedil_NUFC X

"He had been bagging goals for fun and then when he came back home to Newcastle everything was black and white from then. They say the football club picks you! That's what happened."

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Since the Champions League draw, Ronald has become somewhat of a celebrity online for Newcastle United supporters getting excited about the visit to Germany. After the draw, the Magpies fan wrote a message on X offering his local knowledge to any travelling supporters to help visits go off without a hitch.

Nearly 170,000 people saw that message with hundreds of replies and DMs coming Ronald's way as he set about explaining the local public transport network, different airports and what fans can expect.

"It blew up," the Dutchman admits when speaking about his newfound social media stardom. "I think I had 70 people messaging with questions about tickets, bars, connections, hotels. Some people asking about the red light district... although I should make it clear that's not in my scope of services! It's been a massive thing."

Ronald has seen the Magpies play once before, a 2-1 pre-season friendly defeat against Mainz in 2017, but has never seen the side in competitive action. He'll be sat in the home end on Tuesday night and joked that 'worst case I'll have to be quiet when we score five goals'.

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When asked for two key tips for Newcastle United fans, Ronald told NewcastleWorld: "There aren't any designated away fan pubs. Everyone is welcome everywhere as long as you behave. It should be a massive party, just behave and don't be an idiot.

"I'd really like to stress, no war and Nazi jokes. It may sound like fun after your 12th beer to raise your right arm but there's a zero-tolerance policy - best case you pay a few hundred euros fine and worst case you spend a night in prison, it's no joke.

"People who have an official match ticket, there's a code on there and if you enter that you get a link to get a QR code to download as a train and bus ticket. It's only valid in a certain part of the province but everyone coming from Dortmund and Dusseldorf is free to use that ticket up until 3 am the morning after. If you're flying in from Cologne you need to buy a regular train ticket."

Ronald can be found @Lainedil_NUFC on X, formerly Twitter, and has told fellow Magpies fans he'll 'be keeping an eye on X' this week for anyone with last-minute questions.

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