What's 'Tyneside Life' all about?

Updated: Mar 11

For a few years now I've been threatening to create a YouTube channel, as a way of expressing my creative side, learn new skills, earning a bit of money and to leave some sort of life legacy. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) I have so many hobbies and interests, I couldn't decide what to focus on! I love keeping fit, walking up high mountains (especially in the snow), long distance treks, wild camping, cycling, reading and learning philosophy, psychology and even salsa dancing! I also have two wonderful border collie dogs called Lilly and Setu, that I spend an enormous of time with in the outdoors. Oh, I also support Newcastle United. What to focus on?...

Back in February 2021 I began filming some long walks with my dogs, including sections of the Hadrians wall walk. I then learned how to use some rudimentary editing software on my iPhone and downloaded them onto YouTube. The views rocketed into the... dozens! I instantly got the bug and made some more on various things I'm interested in.

What made me create 'Tyneside Life'?

I've been as season ticket holder for Newcastle United since 1993, when we were promoted under Kevin Keegan, but had been going to the match since around 1976/77. Unfortunately the Mike Ashley years and the football being served under Rafa Benitez was enough for me. I gave up my season ticket in Rafa's last year and only went to see a handful of matches over the next couple of years or so. Meanwhile, during 2021, I continued to experiment with my YouTube channel and learned how to edit and put together videos.

In August 2021 I had a rush of blood to the head and decided to renew my season ticket. Although my obsessive relationship with Newcastle had calmed down as I got older (a bit how a marriage evolves over time...) I thought I'd jump back in and tie in my passion for the club with an idea I had for my YouTube channel.

My channel started really slowly with my first 3, or 4 matches and I didn't get many views at all. That was until the takeover happened and everything just went crazy! On the day of the takeover announcement on Thursday 7th October 2021 I had booked in to do the rooftop tour of St James' Park, having done the stadium tour a few days earlier. On arrival at the stadium around 13:30, I noticed 20 - 30 people hanging around outside and it was apparent that the takeover announcement was imminent! I couldn't believe my luck! After the tour I hung around until the announcement was made and caught on video the moment the news trickled through the crowd like a Mexican wave. The place just exploded and the rest is history. That particular video gained instant viewing and my viewing figures went quickly into the thousands! It was around about this time that I set a tentative target of hitting the required 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watched hours by the end of 2021.

My next big break through was a video I did about three weeks later on the potential St James' Park redevelopment options and the sale of land by Mike Ashley behind the Gallowgate. I did this video as a bit of a stop gap until the next match vlog. Completely by suprise, the video exploded (comparatively speaking) and as I type this, it still has my highest viewing figure at 87K! These two videos provided the platform for my subscriber interest to take a steep curve and I hit my targets. During the last week of October my Youtube channel was monetised and I couldn't have felt prouder. I've experienced some amazing things in my life but by far, creating a monetised YouTube channel and learning all of these new skills from scratch is the biggest achievement of my life! Being autistic had also provided me with some challenges in front of camera as I'm not by nature very animated and seeing all of those other 'YouTubers' with big charming smiles and camera magnetism, has been a big hurdle for me.

By the end of October 21' I was beginning to find my feet and my confidence was growing. My earlier feelings of 'imposter syndrome' were beginning to fade. The home game against Chelsea was approaching and I'd already demonstrated that I could confidently mix with away fans (Leeds and Spurs) and strike up some banter. On the day of the match I discovered that The Victoria Comet, the pub across the road from Central Station was packed with Chelsea fans, inside and out. There was only one thing for it and that was to head right over and in my Newcastle United colours mingled amongst them as their 'tribe' partied. This video proved to be another smash and things again just went from strength to strength.

The two video that propelled me way past 1,000 subscribers however were the two history videos I did in November about Newcastle. All of a sudden, my YouTube presence was gaining momentum and it was becoming quickly apparent that my new target should be increased to 5,000 by the end of 2021.

I actually hit 7,000 subscribers on New Years day of 2022 and three weeks later, as I type this, I'm approaching 8,200.

I have now uploaded 80 videos to date and I'm the fastest growing YouTube channel that covers Newcastle United. Recently I also interviewed Sky Sports presenter Keith Downie at St James' Park that also boosted my figures. Now, I can rarely come into town without someone recognising me and praising me on the channel and I'm regularly approached on match days to pose for selfies, or provide a fist bump to some young fan. It's all very flattering but it's not something that goes to my head.

Having looked at the other Newcastle channels I can see that there's a (glass) ceiling of achievement (in my opinion), due to the nature of just concentrating on the fans of just one club. I feel that producing videos every day on NUFC and the club developments requires milking any scraps of news, or gossip and is something I'm currently not intending to pursue . Apart from match day Vlogs, I intend to produce NUFC videos that have a wider perspective.

I want to break through that ceiling and go onto hit 50K by the end of 2022 hopefully. To do this I will continue to diversify my content to include a wider fan and viewer base, local history and culture and I've also uploaded two videos on improving one's mental health. It's my aim to do a series of videos on mental health throughout the year as I too have suffered and come through the other side. In time, I hope to produce just two videos a week, possibly one and focus on quality, rather than quantity.

I'm also in the process of putting together a 'mini documentary' covering the financial difficulties Gateshead F.C. faced and how a few supporters saved the club. I'm really excited about the coming year and how it will unfold. I will continue to learn new skills and hopefully impart some wisdom that I've collated over the years.

If you've landed on this website blog and enjoy my video content, please consider subscribing. It really does help the channel reach a wider audience and I'm driven to showcase Tyneside and the Geordie people. Thank you!


If you'd like to buy me a coffee, just hit the link below. Thank you!

150 views0 comments