Thanks very much to writer David McAvelia for taking on the task of an A-Z of Newcastle United.
Obviously the idea is not to include every single person or event but this is a very entertaining look at many of the things that make our club what it is.
Q is for Quinn, Micky:
There aren’t many words beginning with Q but nevertheless Quinny deserves a mention of his own.
Smashed four past Leeds on debut and was league top scorer in his first season with NUFC. After playing under Jim Smith and Ardiles he was sold by King Kev before NUFC’s fortunes took a turn for the better.
Now a Talksport presenter, still holds a place in Geordie hearts due to the passion he shows for our team and occasional sarcastic comments to wind up the Mackems.
R is for Robson, Bobby:
Who would have thought a miner’s son could become an England player and then England manager. As a club manager he would win trophies in the UK, the Netherlands and Spain, before becoming a Sir and managing Newcastle United. Bobby Robson was an absolute gent, there won’t be another like him.
“What is a club in any case? Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it. It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes. It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city. It’s a small boy clambering up the stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him, and without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.”
R is for Robledo, George:
Chilean who scored an amazing 82 goals in 146 appearances for Newcastle. Won the FA Cup alongside Jackie Milburn, which turned out to be a prolific partnership. Was a fan favourite after scoring his first goal against Sunderland.
Amazingly, would only sign for Newcastle if his brother Ted could join him, Ted played 37 times for Newcastle. They shared the pitch during the 1952 FA Cup Final, the first time two foreign players had done so. Imagine that!
S is for San Siro:
11th March 2003, for many the best away day of their lives as Newcastle draw 2-2 with Inter Milan, Shearer bagging the goals.
A barrage of Italian coins and pints of Italian urine were there to greet us courtesy of the Inter fans but the memory of a sea of black and white is etched on the memories of 12,000 of us. What a day!
S is for Season Ticket Renewal:
Drops through the letterbox once a year, causing a sense of both excitement and also fear. For many, it’s a time of early mornings trying to intercept the letter from the postman before your other half gets to see the letter and ultimately the price tag.
Usually opened to a chorus of “HOW MUCH IS IT THIS YEAR?” and “SO THAT’S OUR SATURDAYS RUINED FOR ANOTHER YEAR” from protesting partners.
S is for Singers:
Forget Alan Price, Lindisfarne, Sting and Jimmy Nail. I’d rather listen to Waddle and Keegan any day.
S is for Strawberry – (1):
Red fruit, species of the genus Fragaria known for its characteristic odour.
S is for Strawberry – (2):
Quality boozer at the Gallowgate end, known for its characteristic odour. On match days it’s full to the gunnels of clammin Geordies aiming to force one last pint down their necks at 14.58.
S is for Stevie, Old Stevie:
Became a familiar face at St James Park during the Keegan era when Sky Sports would regularly pick out the old fella in the Paddocks next to the dug out giving Keegan a pre-match sweet. Whatever he was feeding King Kev it certainly worked.
T is for Trophy Cabinet:
A storage cupboard at St James Park with a key that was lost some time in the 1970s.
T is for Ten Minute Flag:
Flag at the Gallowgate/East stand corner that would be taken down 10 minutes before the end. Usually was the prompt for people to head off early and avoid the rush.
U is for Underpants:
Laurent Robert could strike a ball harder than any other player I’ve seen at Newcastle.
Sadly, in 2005 after a spat with the hot headed Scottish knacker that is Graeme Souness, Robert was shipped out.
In a slightly unusual show of faith to the fans at St James’ that day, the Frenchman threw all of his clothes into the crowd. It was a sad way to end his career, highlighted by the fact that he’d not dressed for the occasion. Robert left the pitch in a pair of dirty grey underpants typically found down the back of your radiator when you remove it to decorate for the first time in 20 years.
V is for Varadi, Imre Varadi:
Fan favourite from the early 80s who formed a partnership with Keegan that resulted in over 40 goals in a single season. Played for over 16 clubs and was released from Newcastle after Cox brought Beardsley into the side. Sported a canny tattoo on his forearm of a skull in a hat.
W is for Wiggies:
For NUFC fans in the mid 90s, the sight of three young fellas (see image at the top) dressed in luminous hair pieces was common place at St James and around the country at away games. Well known for bursting onto the pitch before a Division One fixture with a ball for a kickabout. A cross was swung in and a volley was struck that almost burst the Gallowgate net. They jumped into the crowd and escaped the lunges of three overweight security guards in high-vis jackets. One of the best goals I’ve ever seen at St James.
W is for Woodgate:
A true Rolls Royce of a player. A magnet to the ball in his own box, he orchestrated the back four and read the game with such ease and poise. The best centre half we have seen at St James Park? Yes from me.
His qualities even masked the comical Titus Shambles to look a competent defender when they partnered up. Injuries perhaps tagging him as this generation’s Tony Green.
W is for Wharton, Kenny:
Kenny Wharton made over 290 appearances for Newcastle.
Wharton doesn’t have the notoriety of Beardsley, Gazza and Waddle but carved himself a piece of history by sitting on the ball in the middle of a game against Luton in the 86/87 season.
W is for Wyn the Leap:
Fairs Cup winner who played over 200 times for the Magpies. A giant of a centre forward who was well known for his jumping ability. Along with Tony Green, a real hero of my old man.
“Without Wyn Davies we would never have won the Fairs Cup.” said the chairman Lord Westwood back in 69.
X is for X ray:
At first glance Marcelino looked to be a brute of a man. A Spaniard not blessed with good looks but a towering presence at the back of defence.
First impressions can be deceiving however and Marcelino proved to be a costly signing for Gullit after he played only 16 games over a number of months. Bobby Robson was rumoured to have done his nut when he found out that the Spaniard had been out for two months with a sore finger that wasn’t even broken. £6m worth of defender on the bench with a bandage on his digit.
Y is for Yuck:
Steve Watson was a firm fan favourite, a North Shields lad who to this day holds the record of being Newcastle’s youngest player. A solid no nonsense defender who stayed out of the limelight during the Entertainer years. Despite this, had a mean party piece of his own.
Z is for Zola, Calvin:
Zaire born forward who signed for Newcastle in 2003 but never once played. Never heard of him? Neither have I but I don’t have another Z.
You can follow the author on Twitter @DavidMcAvelia
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