By Stuart Roach in Johannesburg

Newcastle United fans Ant and Dec were keen to grab the best seats in the lodge when Argentina kicked off their World Cup campaign against Nigeria at the weekend.

The 'Britain's Got Talent' pair were on their way to see England's World Cup opener against USA in Rustenburg and stopped off at the Kedar Country Hotel, which offered a remarkably peaceful sanctuary given that it was a mere five-minute drive from the Royal Bafokeng Stadium where England's Group C opener was about to kick-off amidst heightened security.

A handful of English and American fans were milling around, having stumbled across the lodge on the Muldersdrift Estate, along with invited guests for functions being staged by Coca-Cola and America's ESPN sports network.

But after Ant and Dec had tucked into a couple of enormous burgers, with only the occasional interruption for an autograph or photo, they were keen to catch the start of Argentina's televised game and cheer on Newcastle's sole representative at this World Cup.

Jonas Gutierrez has enjoyed a remarkable season with the Magpies, who raced to the Coca-Cola Championship title in some style, but there were some who doubted whether the flamboyant full-back would secure a starting place as Argentina began their bid for World Cup glory.

The Geordie duo were in little doubt though, as they rushed to finish their lunch in time to catch the kick-off on the big screen in the Kedar bar.

"He's the third name on the Argentina teamsheet - that's what Diego Maradona said!" Declan Donnelly said as he spoke exclusively to The Football League website.

Dec could barely contain his excitement as he elaborated on the claim: "After Messi and Mascherano, it's Gutierrez according to Maradona, so it's going to be interesting for us to see him. He normally plays as the right wing-back for Argentina so hopefully he will be getting forward a lot."

Gutierrez scored four times for Newcastle last season and is noted for a trademark celebration - pulling on a Spiderman mask that he keeps tucked inside his jockstrap!

"I don't think he'll be getting his Spiderman mask out at this World Cup. I don't think he'll be scoring the Argentina goals - they have got plenty of other goalscorers available," said Ant McPartlin, the other half of the Bafta-winning dynamic duo.

But as we settled into our seats for the kick-off - the calm before the storm as England fans outside made their way down the road to Phokeng - it was just in time to see Argentina's other full-back, Gabriel Heinze, open the scoring with a spectacular header.

Immediately, thoughts turned to Argentina's chances of winning this World Cup - claims boosted by Thursday's rampant win over South Korea in which Gutierrez again starred - and there were smiles all round as the boys considered a remarkable double for the Newcastle defender. "Imagine that," said
Ant: "a Championship winners' medal and a World Cup winners' medal! There can't be many players who have done that in the same season."

While the Kedar lodge offered a peaceful haven for Ant and Dec, along with other English TV celebrities including Tim Lovejoy, the pair knew that as soon as they stepped back outside the confines of the Muldersdrift resort they would be walking back into what has become a unique atmosphere.

This World Cup has been played to the constant soundtrack of the vuvuzela, a football fans' variation on the traditional South African instrument made from the curved horn of the kudu antelope, and the endless hum in and around the grounds has divided opinion even more than the football.

Many fans back home in England have called for the horn to be banned from the grounds, such is the affect on their TV viewing, while more than 500 complaints have been made to the BBC over a sound that can be compared to that made by a swarm of locusts.

But Ant and Dec are clearly fans of the vuvuzela and Magpies supporter Ant had a warning for rival fans when he said: "I'm taking a couple of them to St James' Park next season! They are definitely going to cross over into the UK I reckon."

His TV sidekick added: "Everyone is saying it must be really bad in the grounds but it's not. I think it seems worse on TV when people are watching it but it creates an amazing atmosphere. They have waited so long to have this tournament here in South Africa and they are just making the most of every moment of it and really enjoying it. Every World Cup has its 'thing' and is remembered for something and the vuvuzelas are what everyone is going to remember from this one."

Ant agreed, adding: "They just haven't stopped. After we landed, the first noise I heard was a vuvuzela being blown by a baggage handler who was taking the bags off the plane - and it hasn't stopped since!"

South Africa's defeat to Uruguay on Wednesday night did puncture the atmosphere somewhat, as the constant buzz on the streets of every city from Polokwane to Cape Town was finally silenced by an impressive Uruguayan performance, but the atmosphere from the opening game will live long in the memories of everyone who was there.

"The noise was deafening, it was crazy, and when South Africa scored the level of noise went through the roof - I have never heard anything like it," Ant said.

The pair will be hopeful of similar excitement at St James's Park next season after a year in which they took The Football League by storm.

Dec told me: "We were really pleased with the season. Nobody really knew what The Football League held in store for us and it was a dangerous time, but Chrissy Hughton did an amazing job. He has been brilliant, a really steady hand on the tiller. He has pulled everything together and just made it tick and the players all pulled together.

"There was a bit of a siege mentality there last season which I think is a good thing in football. It was them against the world and they were a big scalp in the Championship, but everyone went out there and took it on head on. Chris has done a great job in instilling that winning mentality into the team and it was a relief to bounce straight back."

Ant agreed that the positive response to relegation from the Premier League was a relief, given that many fans had feared a further slide down the football hierarchy.

He said: "It could have been disastrous if we hadn't bounced back at the first attempt. We could have done a Leeds and gone further down and that's what nobody wanted but we have stopped the rot and they are trying to sort the finances behind the club and just get things a bit more stable."

The pair also agreed that the headlines proclaiming Newcastle as Coca-Cola Football League champions were a welcome break from the negativity of previous seasons - on and off the pitch.

Ant added: "As Newcastle fans over the last couple of decades the one thing we have been sick of reading about is Newcastle on the front page. For once it has gone a bit quiet and it's all about the football, which is what we all want.

"There have been some great bonuses from last year. Andy Carroll's form was brilliant and it's great for Geordies to see a fellow Geordie out there on the pitch doing the business. He was a bit of a pain for defenders in the Championship and I think he will do that in the Premiership too - he's not going to score as many as he did last season, but he will cause problems."

So will those vuvuzelas, if Ant really does take a couple of souvenirs back to St James' Park!