I have held off from writing anything since before the Villa game, lots I wanted to say, I even held off from writing about the anger I felt after West Brom.
Well simply because of the awful news about Pavel Srnicek. What started as awful breaking news about his cardiac arrest, to the sad inevitability of the news broken on Sky Sports this week.
My Christmas treat to myself was to buy a signed copy of his book, a book he had been promoting on a visit to Tyneside last month, Pav was always welcome in Newcastle.
I grew up supporting Newcastle in the 70s, so unlike many fans my favourite players were not greats like Alan Shearer or Peter Beardsley, but more Malcolm Macdonalds and Jimmy ‘Jinky’ Smith.
Pavel Srnicek was not the greatest goalkeeper In Newcastle United history, but he became one of us, a character who the fans could identify with. He had to see off many rivals for the number one jersey and up until Shay Given showed up, he was pretty much still number one.
Capable of the spectacular and also the odd flaw, life was never boring with Pavel in goal, I have an early memory of him when we played Sunderland at a rain soaked St James Park as lumbering Mackem Mick Harford ran into Pav late and at pace, only to end up sat on his arse as his frame made little impact on our soon to be Czech favourite!
Pavel Srnicek is in my my top five all time favourites who have worn the colours of Newcastle United.
The same ritual before every game at the Gallowgate End, running out getting massive applause, then across his penalty area from the east to to west stands, giving and taking the applause.
I have no shame in admitting a tear came into my eyes when he came back to Newcastle in 2006, and replaced Shay Given against Tottenham Hotspur for the last few minutes.
I have no shame in admitting the same tear came into my eyes when the news of his tragically early passing broke.
There will be many words and tributes written in the coming days/weeks but the greatest tribute I can pay is simply the following – ‘Pavel Srnicek – always a Geordie’.
I hope his family and close friends can take comfort from the mountains of tributes that will no doubt follow, our thoughts are with these people.
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