Watching Newcastle United in the late seventies and eighties was a sobering experience. Expectations were generally low, although the arrival of Kevin Keegan as a player gave us a brief glimpse of how good things could be.

On the international front I used to dream of seeing our players starring for their countries, as with many areas of life though the north east was ignored by those with power.

From Supermac, through Peter Withe, and up to Waddle, Beardsley and Gascoigne it was never a level playing field when they were in black & white stripes.

Moving to the present day and having players recognised at international level is a poisoned chalice. Whether it is the risk of injury or getting tapped up for other clubs, is there anything in it any longer for us?