A lack of action on the pitch as England took on USA at the Qatar World Cup 2022 couldn't be more of a stark contrast compared to what was happening back home in Newcastle as Geordies tried to cheer on the Three Lions from NX Newcastle.
The new venue, which took over for O2 Academy Newcastle, put on a fanzone for England's second World Cup game with tickets selling out for the event. Fans arrived in high moods, chants of 'It's Coming Home' aplenty, but left fuming - and most anger was saved from Gareth Southgate and his men.
Fans watched the first half of the game with images on screen out of sync with the commentary, which was around one minute behind the live action. Attendees gesticulated furiously at camera crew on stage begging for the audio to be fixed, or even simply cut, but nothing was done to remedy the problem.
A couple of late chances for England stars Bukayo Saka and Mason Mount meant a quick lift of mood before halftime and a series of tunes from a DJ during the break was well-received - oh boy, do those Geordies like a song.
Come the second half and a rejuvenated England side were back out and raring to go. Or, were they? The screen at the NX Newcastle was completely cut for a substantial period of time with fans fuming. Many whipped out phones and held them aloft in the air in the hopes of sharing the action with other fans.
Whilst the football was off, fans lobbed pints on stage, spilling over equipment and one thumping against the drums. Another hurdled the front barrier to pinch the toy World Cup at the front of the stage, much to the amusement and cheers of the crowd. He was chased back through the crowd by a furious security guard who then engaged in a shouting match watched by the whole venue.
Eventually, the screen cut back in, although began broadcasting Angels of the North rather than the football. There's a time and a place for the local reality series, but that was certainly not it.
The final portion of the second half returned to screen, first with no commentary and then with the delayed musings of Sam Matterface and Lee Dixon once again.
Spilling out onto the street after the event, fans spoke to NewcastleWorld and shared their demands for a refund. One said: "Shocking! They lost connection like five times and for fifteen minutes the game wasn't even on. We need a refund. I think it was the first time they put it on to be honest."
Others described the fanzone at NX Newcastle as "a shocker" and added that a refund is "the least they can do after that".
Another attendee added: "It's pretty poor I can't lie. You pay all this money to come watch an event and it turns out they don't know how to use a remote."
A statement from NX Newcastle was shared on Friday night. It read: “We are very disappointed with the technical problems experienced tonight with the Fan-Zone event. We are now woring with the event promoter to establish precisely why the football screening was not delivered as expected.
“NX would like to apologise to all fans who had such a disappointing experience. We would like to add that the event was not promoted by NX but by a promoter with a long standing track record of delivering sports events in the city. We will provide an update regarding ticket refunds shortly.”