It was 19 September 1999 when Sir Bobby Robson took charge of his first Newcastle United home game.
Yes 17 years ago Newcastle fans at last had the man who should have taken over from Kevin Keegan.
Sadly supporters were left thinking what might have been, if they hadn’t had to watch Kenny Dalglish and Ruud Gullit tearing apart everything that Keegan had built at St James Park.
A common mistake is that the 8-0 drubbing of Sheffield Wednesday was Sir Bobby’s first Newcastle match. However, the first game was actually a narrow 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge for Gullit’s successor.
The team for Bobby’s first game at St James Park in front of a capacity crowd was:
Harper, Barton, Domi (Glass 81), Hughes, Goma, Solano, Speed, Dyer (Robinson 63), Ketsbaia (McClen 78), Lee, Shearer
After the game both Alan Shearer and Sir Bobby Robson had inspiring words to say, though amusingly Shearer felt the need to have to defend himself against accusations that he was ‘finished’. The shambolic running of the team/club by Ruud Gullit leading to that kind of bizarre thinking by some – the next seven years producing a few more goals…
“I’ve always said, I’m not finished. If I’m given chances then hopefully more often than not I’ll put them away like I’ve done today.”
Sir Bobby Robson:
“Eight nil is a big score. I knew it was going to be a close game…I thought it was going to be a close game. We’ve run riot in the end.
“I said to the players one thing before the game, ‘do you want to play football, do you want the ball, show me you want the ball’ – and of course they did.”
Watching the footage of the match below, a few things stand out.
Gary Speed’s headed goal from a corner reminds us just how magnificent he was at set-pieces, whilst Kieron Dyer’s performance reaffirms what an excellent player he was for much of the time he was at Newcastle United.
Interestingly, despite scoring five goals there wasn’t really a great goal from Alan Shearer, apart from possibly one of them – but that was more to do with Dyer’s brilliance that handed it on a plate to the number nine.
Enjoy reliving that special Sir Bobby Robson day below.