Members of a Newcastle United fans’ group have left a parting shot as they join the advance legions of the Toon Army heading to Wembley for tomorrow’s Carabao Cup Final.

The Wor Flags supporters’ collective has heralded the Magpies’ first appearance in a major final for 24 years by adorning the Angel of the North with a giant black and white shirt.

Motorists heading south on the A1(M), many bound for the capital for tomorrow’s final against Manchester United, can view the giant landmark at Gateshead sporting the massive Toon top, bearing the words: “Howay the Lads … 2023 … Wembley”.

The Northern Echo:

It is not the first time that the landmark statue has been adorned in the Magpies’ black and white colours, as a few months after it was erected, a quarter of a century ago, a group of cheeky Toon Army members draped an oversize Newcastle number nine Alan Shearer shirt over it, ahead of the 1998 FA Cup Final, when United faced Arsenal.

Read more: Amazing scenes, and stories, when the Magpies won the cup 99 years ago

Council officials arrived to persuade the pranksters to remove the top, but the gesture is now part of the folklore surrounding the Anthony Gormley creation, which recently celebrated its silver jubilee.

Today’s repeat stunt did not go down well with every member of the public.

One correspondent on the Wor Flags Twitter site, under the handle ‘Yarmnthat’, commented: “Please remove this!

“Not only is it criminal damage, it’s also a danger to drivers if it blows in the road.

“Not securely fastened and is an accident waiting to happen.

“Thanks. Concerned citizen.”

Read more: Carabao Cup final: Newcastle United's complete Wembley record

Another message commented: “On a Gateshead monument? Bizarre. May as well have stuck one at Durham Cathedral too.”

Thousands of Toon Army foot soldiers are already making their way to London to paint the capital black and white ahead of the final, with Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square expected to be magnets for United fans, with or without tickets, eager to soak up the atmosphere ahead of the big match.

But, back in Newcastle, tens of thousands of ticketless Toon fans will flock to the city to watch the big game in pubs and clubs.

Among the bigger venues hosting special screenings is Northumbria University, which has a 1,500 capacity EFL Cup Fanzone, with special guest Newcastle-mad singer songwriter Andrew Cushin.

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The NX Academy, formerly the O2, in Westgate Road, and The Boulevard, in Churchill Street, have both also mounted giant screens, while the fan zone from the World Cup will be revived in Times Square.

Tomorrow’s final, kicking-off at 4,30pm, will be United’s first appearance in a Wembley final since the national stadium was refurbished.

The club’s last Wembley final was in the FA Cup when tomorrow’s opponents Manchester United beat Ruud Gullit’s Newcastle 2-0 on the way to the historic treble, under Sir Alex Ferguson, in 1999.