'Jose Enrique, we're in the top six...'

There is very little can beat a match day when the circus/pantomime rides into town and up to St.James’ Park.

The other week against Liverpool we were spoilt for choice as the pantomime baddies lined up to take the applause…

No two cases are ever the same but it is normally one or both of the following when the ex-player gets stick, something they said or something they did or didn’t do when wearing black & white.

King scouser Kenny gets stick because of the way he tore a very good Newcastle side apart, Enrique because he made clear he wanted to leave and said under Ashley we would never be top six (which we all agreed with at the time…), while Andy Carroll signed a new contract before next minute seemingly happily moving from the team he supported.

Craig Bellamy was a strange case as he initially had a lot of support/sympathy due to his run-ins with manager Souness, this though spiralled into contempt when he got into conflict with Alan Shearer after leaving….only one winner in that contest!

Rather bizarrely, Newcastle United have now seemingly gained a reputation for being bitter towards returning players, previously I have to admit I thought we were a bit soft the other way and gave certain people a far easier time than I reckon fans of other clubs would ever do.

I’ll never forget David Kelly getting a standing ovation at St.James’ Park as he entered the pitch in a mackem strip!

Les Ferdinand, Gary Speed and Rob Lee were given plenty respect after leaving, while Andy Cole had our respect and gratitude…until he celebrated at Wembley and joined in with an abusive song aimed at Kevin Keegan and the Newcastle fans. ‘Thick’ doesn’t quite go far enough.

Geordie boy Lee Clark had some kind of very early mid-life crisis and went to the mackems ( that day I knew that anything was possible in football), yet in later matches for the likes of Fulham I can’t remember him getting what possibly he deserved for such a betrayal, such though was the respect he’d built up while at Newcastle.

Things were more mixed up with our trio of superstars in the eighties with Peter Beardsley coming out of things pretty unscathed, while (Judas!) Waddle and Gazza were perceived as greedy and traitors. All three though probably only guilty of ambition, though Waddle hardly helped himself by talking about how great he was treated while at Spurs and infamously saying dismissively how on the way back from Newcastle’s away trips the coach would stop for fish & chips at Wetherby!

Of our modern day ex-players I probably have most sympathy for Enrique, a class player who always did his best for us and didn’t turn his back when Newcastle were relegated. When he talked about a lack of ambition under Ashley, Enrique was only voicing what most of us were thinking.

The golden rule clearly is; do your best when wearing the shirt AND keep your mouth shut!

Who would you cheer or boo?

  • Steve Passmoor

    if I remember correctly, Lee Clark never played against us, I stand to be corrected though

    • Scobenjak

      He scored against us for fulham!

    • armykev

      When he scored against us for Fulham, I don’t think I will ever forget the look on his face, I thought he was going to cry he looked gutted. It was a screamer as well!!

    • Maxee

      He never played against us for the mackems.

  • Utd111

    Shame on you for “hating” ex-United players.

    Go and stand in the corner until I say it’s OK for you to come back!

  • JW

    Lost all respect for Enrique for joining Liverpool when he clearly stated he would only leave Toon for a team in the Champions League. Liverpool, Champions League? You’re having a laugh!!

  • Sean

    Enrique only stayed with us after relegation as nobody eould pay his wages as he had a very poor season that season. We brought him on as a young player and then he left for more money…. It is always about the money snd I have more respect for a player when they admit that

  • Trippynet

    If you’re talking about ex-players getting positive receptions, it doesn’t get much better than when Shay returned to St James earlier in the year.

  • ivan marx

    Well put. I think the bottom line is that there’s no real hard and fast logic to being a football supporter, and the more ‘modern fans’ try to apply it, the more it confounds them.
    As you say, the Waddle/Beardsley/Gazza departures, coming within only a few years of one another, are a case in point. Waddler made some ill-advised comments in the press, while Gazza went back on what he’d said (I’d heard him criticising Pedro, over his move, at talk-ins less than a year before he himself left the club).
    Pedro kept a better lid on his transfer in public, although I did hear him publicly cite NUFC as completely lacking in ambition at a talk-in the spring of 87, and the title of his book ‘Proud to be a Geordie’ (published in the summer of 86 after his World Cup exploits) had an ironic ring. Despite this, Pedro’s PR with the fans has always been very good.
    I always felt sorry for Clarkie, as there were usually players ahead of him in his time as a young lad at NUFC. S*nderland was a puzzling choice for him, but after the SMB T shirt at Wembley, all was forgiven.

  • tattyheed

    i’ve got to say i loved Enrique as a player

    laughed my kn*b off at the weekend when i found he’d been benched for Wembley….for jamie carragher!!

    take that you traitor!!