Stoke City: Cricket fans left stumped by Potters' demise
"I'M sorry mate, your clutch has gone," said the AA patrolman, in the same grave manner with which I imagine Stoke City's doctors delivered Demba Ba's medical report.
But while Ba's knee has held up long enough to get over his Stoke rejection and star for Newcastle, my own chances of making Geordie Land had gone up with the smoke which had been escaping from my bonnet.
I recalled the wise words of my colleague Martin Spinks who'd said we shouldn't always travel together in case this very thing happened and we both missed the game.
Frankly, I'd suspected it was more to do with my egg sandwiches.
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So, I was towed back to Stoke and switched to Plan B. Luckily, there was time to join 100 City fans packed into Hem Heath Cricket Club, a mere long throw from the Britannia Stadium, to watch the game on the big screen.
The crowd was swelled with the cricketers from Hem Heath and Stone, whose North Staffs and South Cheshire League Premier Division game was washed out.
By 3.20pm, we were all wishing rain could stop play at the Sports Direct Arena (St James' Park to you and me) because City were 2-0 down and looked completely stumped.
"This is the biggest stroll in the park you could ever see in a Premier League game," said summariser Craig Burley at half-time.
Not many of the Hem Heathites gloomily nursing their lagers disagreed. Those pints might have looked half full, but after that dreadful 45 minutes, I can assure you they were half empty.
"We've got no flair, no-one who can create something from nothing," said 58-year-old Northern Soul DJ Chris Williams, from Hilderstone, who attends all home games in the Q-Railing Stand.
"I know we are still in the Premier League for another year, but the football this season has been hard to watch.
"Still, I remember in our promotion season when we lost at home to Crystal Palace. I said to my 19-year-old son, Ryan, 'that's it, you might see us in the Premier League one day, but I don't think I ever will'.
"He's a regular at Stoke, even though the first game I took him to was that 7-0 home defeat to Birmingham."
As the game wore on, there was some dark speculation that Newcastle might go close to that infamous scoreline.
Admittedly, this wasn't coming from the table who had started ordering sambucas and were showing the same bravado as displayed by the Stokies at the stadium who launched into a second-half conga.
The rest of the audience, though, watched the game in the same arms folded, brows knitted manner with which The Apprentice boss Alan Sugar listens to a hapless candidate who's tried to sell rubbery cut-price cheese to the French.
As it turned out, Yohan Cabaye's brilliant 57th-minute strike for Newcastle's third was as bad as it got for City.
Mind you, Newcastle took off two of their best players, Cabaye and Papiss Cisse, midway through the second half and strolled through the rest of the game like a training exercise.
Credit then, to the Stokies at the game whose 80th-minute Delilah was picked up on television; no mean feat considering they were housed halfway to Scotland in a far flung top corner of the stadium.
Even if they'd had something to celebrate, you couldn't even consider a pitch invasion from there without an up-to-date bus timetable, flask and sandwiches.
Back at Hem Heath, there wasn't even an invasion of the bar as disappointed City fans drifted away at full-time.
"I think we need to be like Madonna and reinvent ourselves," said 58-year-old Hilderstone Stokie Martin Wade, briefly conjuring an image of the back four running out in conical bras.
"What I mean is, we don't play any creative football and teams have sussed us out. We can't just be about effort and energy."
The only supporter in the club who hadn't had his afternoon ruined was Hem Heath and Staffordshire cricketer Ben McGuire.
"I'm a Newcastle fan because I was born up there," he confided.
"I haven't really liked to celebrate though because everybody here is supporting Stoke.
"Mind you, I think the Stoke fans were expecting to lose today."
Blurton Stokie Martin Stevenson, aged 46, was at least keeping his pecker up.
"It was a poor game, but Tony Pulis will get it right. We'll be completely different at home to Arsenal next week."
However, positives from the actual game were more difficult to find.
Did Stoke deserve any credit at all? At least, ahem, they turned up.