Newcastle United’s last Championship season had a very different look to this one and Fabrice Pancrate maybe sums up that difference better than most.
Chris Hughton was only given a caretaker role in summer 2009 after relegation, with Mike Ashley proceeding to sell as many players as possible and not renewing a single contract.
Whilst Rafa Benitez has also seen numerous players leave the club, at his own instigation, he has also bought 11 players for around £50m, plus the loan of Christian Atsu.
Chris Hughton wasn’t allowed to buy a single player in summer 2009 and proceeded to try and supplement his squad with a series of loans and out of contract players.
The 21 November 2009 saw Fabrice Pancrate arrive at St James Park, released by PSG a number of months beforehand he had still been without a club.
The 29 year old winger joined until the end of the season and fair to say the Newcastle fans didn’t have a clue as to who he was.
A week after joining Newcastle, Pancrate made a late substitute appearance as United beat Swansea 3-0.
He went on to eventually make 16 appearances for Newcastle in that promotion season, five of them in the starting 11, but it was a week after that debut v Swansea that his moment came.
On 5 December 2009 Newcastle were leading Watford thanks to a Peter Lovenkrands 20th minute goal, then with 19 minutes left Fanrice Pancrate replaced Danny Guthrie.
With seven minutes of the game remaining, Pancrate received the ball and then with his back to goal he produced an outrageous piece of skill and finish (watch it below).
Newcastle fans couldn’t believe we’d picked up this player for nothing as a free agent, what would we see next from him?
Sadly, that was about it, he wasn’t terrible but just a very workmanlike player who played a small part in United’s promotion that season, just like so many names that year who have been half/totally forgotten (Kadar, van Aanholt, Khizanishvili, Harewood, Hall etc).
Obviously though Newcastle United did make an impression on Fabrice Pancrate and maybe with that special moment against Watford in mind, the now retired 36 year old winger has reflected on his time at St James Park when interviewed in France last night.
Fabrice Pancrate speaking to SFR in France on Wednesday 14 September 2016 as reported by GFFN:
“The atmosphere at Newcastle is unforgettable.
“Newcastle United is the craziest club in terms of the fans.”