Gavin Peacock was a class act when he was at St James Park.
Supporting Newcastle United as a boy through family connections to Tyneside despite growing up in the south, Peacock joined United in November 1990 when Jim Smith was manager.
He went on to play a pivotal role in Newcastle United’s rise from near disaster to Premier League glory under Kevin Keegan.
That 1991/92 season when Newcastle almost slipped into the third tier, Gavin Peacock was top scorer with a very valuable 16 goals.
His partnership with David Kelly was great to watch, they both had talent but also a great work ethic.
My two favourite Gavin Peacock moments happened in that near relegation season, despite the midfielder/striker also scoring goals the following year when Newcastle were promoted to the Premier League in 1992/93.
Both of these special Gavin Peacock matches came in the final days of that 1991/92 season.
Three games left and Newcastle travelled to promotion chasing Derby County and an inexperienced referee sent off three United players, as well as Assistant Manager Terry McDermott from the bench.
Despite being down to only 8 men and two goals down, Gavin Peacock and David Kelly led a remarkable fightback and for 20 minutes or so it looked like United might get something. Peacock pulled it back to 2-1 and it was only as they ran out of steam did Derby make the three man advantage count.
The match ended 4-1 and relegation was staring us in the face but the support for the team was astounding that day and the close relationship and mutual respect between fans and the likes of Kelly & Peacock was unbelievable. Ask anybody who was there and I bet they say it was one of their most memorable matches.
A nervebiting late win over Portsmouth with a majestic late Kelly goal, then gave Newcastle what looked an outside chance of staying up at Leicester on the last day.
Amid incredible scenes (see Mag cover), Gavin Peacock scored one of the two goals that gave a 2-1 win and helped ensure survival was achieved.
The next year Kevin Keegan led Newcastle to the Premier League and the rest is history but would any of that have happened without the contributions of players such as David Kelly and Gavin Peacock in those desperate days that preceded that?
Gavin Peacock has been interviewed by Cross The Line and here are a few of his answers:
Highlight of career?
“There were a few things, winning promotion with Newcastle was great, getting to the FA Cup final with Chelsea in 1994.
“The two goals I scored that season against Manchester United was another.”
Best player played with?
“Played with some great players such as Ruud Gullit, Mark Hughes and Vialli & Zola, but I still maintain that Glenn Hoddle was the best one I played with.
“Kevin Keegan called me up when I left Newcastle and said I would learn more from playing with Glenn Hoddle in training, than anything else.”
St James Park or Stamford Bridge?
“There was something special about the days that I played at St James Park, because we went up that season with Kevin Keegan and the place was packed, it was electric. When I played at Chelsea they were developing the ground…”
***Gavin Peacock is now a pastor in Canada and you can watch the whole interview with Cross The Line HERE.
They explain what the website is about in this way – ‘Here at Cross The Line we are passionate about combining our love for Jesus and our love for Football.’