Patrick Vieira has named Newcastle and Liverpool as the most passionate football supporters he played in front of in England.

The midfielder played for Arsenal from 1996 until 2005 and so took in the tail end of the Kevin Keegan era and the whole of the Sir Bobby Robson period. Plus he later had a one season playing stay at Manchester City  in 2010/11.

His Arsenal days were the period when Newcastle fans watched two great, but very different, Newcastle teams under the two managers.

Patrick Vieira was speaking at a UEFA event and this is what he had to say:

“The Liverpool fans were always very passionate, as were Newcastle United’s.

”A passionate atmosphere can be very intimidating for players, but as professionals this is part of the game and you must rise to that challenge.”

When asked about great players:

“I played with some amazing players like Zidane, Bergkamp and many others, but for me the best had to be Zidane.”

The former French international would find it hard to recognise the Newcastle crowd these days on most occasions, certainly at home matches.

Much of the time it feels like the lifeblood has been sucked out of the United support – let’s hope when things pick up on and off the pitch, that the atmosphere becomes a little bit more like what Patrick Vieira would recognise.