Cliffy Ahmed: Backpage travel club leaves superfan coach seat empty in respect

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Twelve years ago, the first Backpage coach trip started from St James’ Park. As might be expected, Cliffy Ahmed was on board. As of that day, Cliffy hasn’t missed a Newcastle game, at home or away.

Toon Cliffy’s superfan was booked for seat five on Saturday as Newcastle fans traveled to Watford. The Backpage team left their seats vacant as a token of respect – draped in the NUFC flag, with a shop card displaying Cliffy’s beloved St. James’s Park for trip members to sign with their personal farewells to the famous superfan.

The card will now be kept at the St Andrew’s Street store as a “precious reminder to one of the most loyal fans and friends we have had the pleasure of knowing,” said a spokesperson for Backpage.



Newcastle United fans during the game against Watford at Vicarage Road

The 57-year-old South Shields man died last week on his way home from the pub after Newcastle and Manchester drew 3-3. He went into cardiac arrest and was found lying near the Strawberry Pub, a few yards from St James’s Park. He was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary and died in hospital on Wednesday.

Cliffy visited the Backpage store a couple of times a week and was always ready to discuss the ups and downs of the Magpies or his adventures following the team as they traveled for away games.

Some members of the travel club made a banner in memory of their old friend, which read “RIP Cliffy 1958-2016”. Its size and positioning in the stadium has allowed thousands of people to share the memories of another fan devoted to following the Toon.

A fundraiser was made from the coaches to help pay for Cliffy’s funeral costs and NUFC fans managed to raise £ 316 by traveling to the match.

The Backpage team released a statement after returning to Newcastle, and said: “Our hearts are with Cliffy’s family at this sad time and words cannot express how much we will miss him at the store, but you can be assured that his memory will last in every away game we travel and he will always be with us in our hearts.

“An authentic character and black and white through and through. You will never meet a more loyal NUFC fan than Cliffy and his loss is felt throughout our fan base.

“Rest in peace Cliffy, we’re sure he’ll be up there in Heaven now telling God about all of his travels and you can rest assured that God will be a NUFC fan by the end of the week.”

  • Cliffy Ahmed’s funeral will be at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, January 27 at the South Shields Crematorium.


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