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Is Newcastle for real?

Updated: November 4, 2011, 2:27 PM ET
By David Hirshey | Special to ESPN.com

On May 24, 2009, the day Newcastle fell from Premier League grace for the first time in 16 years, I happened to be in England. Among the myriad images of shattered supporters that flashed across the TV screen that afternoon, one remains uncomfortably seared into my brain.

The photo is of two plus-sized gentlemen standing in the away end at Villa Park, arms around each other, belting out their anguish through streaming tears. (You can see them to the right here, and for a more disturbing image, ...

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