Kath Cassidy

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Over the last four decades, Newcastle managers past and present have known that Kath Cassidy is the best tea lady in football - and now the rest of the country knows it too.

Long-serving Kath, who started working for the club 44 years ago, has served up brews for for legends like Joe Harvey, Arthur Cox, Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer and Chris Hughton as well as making matchday cuppas for journalists covering the Magpies.

And on Thursday night she was honoured at the 2012 Football Hospitality Awards, winning the Special Achievement Award - meaning she has another cup to add to the ones she lovingly hands out every other Saturday.

Although the 85-year-old didn't attend the ceremony at Brighton and Hove Albion's Amex Stadium, she was thrilled to receive her award - and a bottle of champagne - at the Sports Direct Arena on Monday.

Thanks in no small part to Kath, Newcastle also won bronze in the Media Choice category, voted for by the press who attend matches throughout the UK, while the club's hospitality team were celebrating after winning silver in the Overall Matchday Hospitality Experience section and bronze in the Chef Team of the Year.

Kath, from Battle Hill in Wallsend, said: "I feel on top of the world. I didn't expect it but I'm absolutely delighted. I can't tell you how happy I am; I'm so happy I could scream!

"Hand on heart, I never thought this would happen. I can't believe it and my family will be all delighted."

She was nominated for the award by the club, with current boss Alan Pardew sending a heartfelt letter to the organisers.

He wrote: "When I joined the club in December 2011 I knew there were some long-serving staff working here; little did I know that one of them was coming up to her 45th year! It's a remarkable achievement for anyone to be part of the same company for so long - well done Kath!

"I'm based at the Training Centre through the week, away from the ground, but on matchdays when I see Kath, she is always happy, always smiling and always has a bit of banter and of course has her customary cups of tea on the go! Of late, she has become a star in her own right because of the tremendous commitment she has shown to Newcastle United and deservedly so.

"Kath is an absolute delight to work with and is very much part of our matchdays at home. She has served thousands of cups of tea over the years and I for one am looking forward to many more made by this wonderful lady.

"Thank you Kath, for everything you have given Newcastle United. You deserve some recognition for your service!"

And Kath is equally glowing about Pardew, who is among her favourite managers despite working under so many - 27 in all - since she joined the club in 1968.

"Alan has taken us right up to the top," she smiled. "And he makes such an effort. He sent me a boquet after the last home game. I thought it must have been a mistake and it was meant for somebody else!

"He puts a lot of thought into what he does. He's fabulous.

"And I have a great relationship with all the journalists. I've known most of them for a lot of years.

When Newcastle played Norwich on Mother's Day in March, Kath watched her first live Magpies match and saw a 1-0 win from the comfort of the directors box. And on Friday night she was the guest of honour the Pin Point Recruitment Junior League Challenge Shield final, where she handed out trophies to the winners.

"It's been a special year," she smiled. "I'm 85 now - but sometimes I still feel 25!

"It's been an exciting year for me altogether and I feel so glad that all this has happened to me."