Newcastle United have chosen a goalkeeping coach – formerly working under Sir Bobby Robson, it is Simon Smith who has been appointed.

The lifelong Newcastle fan was appointed whilst Ruud Gullit was manager, shortly before Sir Bobby also came back home to manage the club he’d supported all his life.

In an official statement (read below) on Tuesday morning, the club confirmed Simon Smith’s appointment and coincidentally the goalkeeping coach was reminiscing only four days ago on the anniversary of the Geordie Knight’s death, about his first spell at St James Park.

Speaking to the FA, Simon Smith had this to say last Friday:

“I had got my dream job (at Newcastle) under Ruud Gullit – but then after he was sacked Sir Bobby arrived – a legend even then. The fact that he was coming back home to his own club made it that extra bit special.

“My first meeting with him was something I’ll never forget. We trained at Chester-le-Street and I walked past the reception as he called me into this side room. I feared the worst to be honest.”

I don’t know you:

“I went in and he said ‘Look, I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but we’ll give it a go and see how we get on’.

“As he was saying it, I’m thinking, ‘Well I know who you are, but you actually don’t know who I am’- but he never actually mentioned anything about the job again for the next few years until he left the club.”

Newcastle United Official Statement

Newcastle United are pleased to confirm the appointment of Simon Smith as the Club’s new goalkeeping coach.  Smith, 52, replaces Andy Woodman who left the Club last week.

Smith leaves his post with the Football Association to take up a role he previously held with United, as first team goalkeeping coach, from 1999 – 2004.

The club would like to thank the FA for their co-operation and goodwill in facilitating this appointment.

Newton Aycliffe-born Smith began his professional career with Newcastle United in 1978, spending four years at St. James’ Park before moving on to Whitley Bay and Gateshead where he played 501 games, including a run of 405 games in a row, over a ten-year period.

He started his coaching career with Newcastle United in 1993 where he initially worked with the club’s young goalkeepers before becoming the Magpies’ first team goalkeeping coach in 1999 under the management of Ruud Gullit and then Sir Bobby Robson.

In 2006 Smith moved to Vancouver to undertake a year-long secondment to research the biomechanics of goalkeeping and during this time he worked as a consultant to the Canadian Soccer Association.

More recently he was employed by the Football Association as the goalkeeping coach for England’s youth development teams.