Former Newcastle midfielder Jermaine Jenas has been recalling his past memories of Christmas parties, the players out for a bit of ‘team bonding’.
Jenas says that his best ever players night out was his first ever one at Newcastle United.
Sir Bobby Robson’s team went out dressed as superheroes on the Quayside in Newcastle before gatecrashing a more sedate dinner that the directors and management were having at St James Park.
Jermaine Jenas says that social media has killed the big night out for players, with it being inevitable that negative stories/pictures will be used in the media afterwards.
As well as building a brilliant team at Newcastle in the 90s, Kevin Keegan also created an unbelievable team spirit, which was then resurrected under Sir Bobby Robson.
It seems all a bit mad now…but it was a common sight on a Saturday night in Newcastle city centre to see Kevin Keegan’s team out celebrating after a match (not just Christmas!), with pretty much all of the players out together.
With the likes of Shearer, Clark, Elliott and Watson being from around these parts it probably helped to develop the idea of the collective night out on the ‘Toon’. With Newcastle being a one city/one club place it made it a lot easier for this to go on but Keegan definitely created something quite special, both on and off the pitch.
Some great times for the fans, watching a brilliant team take the opposition apart on a Saturday afternoon and then you are standing in the courtyard at Martha’s bar (on Dean Street leading to the Quayside) later on that night and here comes that very same team en masse, celebrating alongside the supporters.
You can only dream of that level of success on the pitch and unity off it these days, but it is still good to keep hold of the dream that one day….
Jermaine Jenas talking to BBC Sport:
“The best Christmas party I have been to as a footballer was the first one I had at Newcastle in 2002, when Sir Bobby Robson was manager.
All the players had gone out in fancy dress to the Quayside in the city centre – I was Superman, Carl Cort was Batman and Kieron Dyer was Austin Powers.
Then we found out that the club’s directors were having their own party at St James’ Park, a black-tie do with their wives.
We decided we would gatecrash it, so we all piled into taxis to the stadium, ran upstairs and burst through the doors.
It was a bit surreal. We were all running about this posh dinner and ball dressed as superheroes, then found Sir Bobby, said “alright gaffer” and sat at his table. Someone had his pint.
He just looked at us and said: “Right, have one drink and get the hell out of here.”
Nobody ever had a go at us for it. Even the next day Sir Bobby just laughed about it and said “you lot are a nightmare”.
Social media has killed the Christmas party – at least for footballers.
Sir Bobby was always a big believer in the players enjoying themselves and building team spirit.”