Tottenham return to White Hart Lane on Saturday for their Saturday lunch-time match against Newcastle United. Fans of both teams will remember last season’s 5 – 0 home win with Tottenham looking for more of the same while Newcastle’s travelling support will be hoping that their team ‘turns up’ this year and carries on from their exhilarating win over Chelsea last weekend.
When Newcastle United are mentioned what immediately comes to mind?
Mention Newcastle United and I think of:
1. Centre Forwards
2. Sir Bobby Robson
3. Kevin Keegan
4. Temuri Ketsbaia
5. Fans who deserved better.
Jackie Milburn – before my time, I didn’t really know him – but he is so famous down the line of history that he is still the first one to spring to mind – Malcolm MacDonald, Alan Shearer (a TV pundit now but a tough guy with a shot like a rocket who a director was foolish enough to nickname Mary Poppins. The game could do with a few more Mary Poppinses like that these days). Les Ferdinand, Andy Cole-and that chubby bloke who looked like Bob Carolgees, even Andy Carroll, if only for 5 minutes before he made the biggest mistake of his still young life and jumped ship. Faustinho Asprilla, (was he really a centre forward?) Kevin Keegan (not sure if he wore the no 9 but definitely a fantastic partnership with Peter Beardsley.
Sir Bobby Robson; his skill as a manager and his bravery as a person in the face of cancer. His autobiography is inspirational.
The Georgian Geordie played for Newcastle in the late ‘90s, he displayed remarkable close control and scored some spectacular goals. He had shaved his head and reminded me of a TV character from the past, enjoying a resurrection in Hollywood movies. It was Uncle Fester from the Addams family. I would hereby like to claim credit, if that’s the right word, for starting the chant that was taken up at the time by some Spurs fans when he was on the ball. It was the Addams Family theme tune. A light-hearted ribbing. All together now,” Doo doo de doo de doo doo. De doo de doo de doo doo, De doo de doo de doo doo, the Addams family”. Much hilarity. Such fun.
Kevin Keegan as manager
The first time round, leading from the front with swashbuckling football and the surge back to the Premiership. His passionate but ultimately unfortunate outburst when they had been 9 points clear and nailed on favourites to beat Manchester United. We all know what happened next.
Up to date
There have been some crazy days in recent years under Mike Ashley the current owner. It seems to have settled down for the time being. The fans deserve some success, having been the nearly men in the league under Keegan and at Cup Final after Cup Final down the years.
Newcastle bought several French players in the recent transfer window which should ensure their survival this season after a bad run with injuries and an apparent lack of loyalty from some senior players. I do have some sympathy with Arsene Wenger’s view that January transfer signings should be restricted to a maximum of two, so the richest clubs cannot just spend their way out of trouble. It also adversely affects teams who may have been in trouble and have not yet played the big spenders whereas other teams may have beaten them twice already and have 6 points in the bag, having played a different team. Luckily for us, Chelsea were the first team to suffer from this effect but I have a feeling we are going to be the next, having lost Jermain Defoe to injury, just as we all feared. It’s hardly a level playing field but whilst it’s within the rules, good luck to Alan Pardew. He did so well last season and earned a really long term contract before performances slipped away.