On 23 October 2002, Sir Bobby Robson’s Newcastle United took on Italian giants Juventus in the Champions League at St. James’ Park.

The visitors had some true greats in their line-up, with Turam, Del Piero, Buffon, Nedved and Davids facing United.

The hero on that October night was an unlikely one, full-back Andy Griffin getting a short corner from Laurent Robert before driving through the Juve defence and lashing the ball into the net via Buffon’s elbow (watch the goal below).

It was some night and after the final whistle showed a 1-0 scoreline, visiting Manager/Coach Marcello Lippi said:

“Coming to play in a stadium like Newcastle United’s ground is not an easy task.”

Moving forward thirteen years and that night’s goalscorer is making his way back to St. James’ Park on Sunday, working for BBC Radio Stoke.

Griffin has been reminiscing about those great days (and nights!) under Sir Bobby Robson, but also revealed that he’d brought his son for a much anticipated visit to St. James’ Park last season. The former full-back saying he couldn’t believe how bad the atmosphere was these days and just how different a club Newcastle United is now.

Speaking to the Stoke Sentinel, Andy Griffin:

“For me it was five years of challenging for the title under Sir Bobby.

“We weren’t quite good enough to win the league but we were good enough to get into the Champions League, which was like winning a trophy in itself.”

NUFC hasn’t been the same since;

“It was a wonderful time, but since Sir Bobby left it hasn’t been the same up there.

“In recent times it hasn’t been the same club, they haven’t had that buzz for a while.”

Where’s the atmosphere?;

“I went with my son, Cianan, to the last game of last season up there because I’d always wanted to take him.

“I told him beforehand about the terrific atmosphere, but when we got there you could sense an element of frustration and the atmosphere wasn’t what it was.”

Watch Andy Griffin’s match winner against Juventus below.

  • SimonM68

    Hey Andy, if you are looking for atmosphere and excitement, don’t come here ! Why not take a drive in a high performance car and test your skills as Stig’s stuntman?  Ah yes…been there, done that.
    The atmosphere situation is a bit like when you only see your extended family once in a blue moon and you are shocked when your nephew has shot up. If you go regularly it’s hard to spot the demise, but if you’ve not been for a few years it must be a hell of a let down.

  • GToon

    Great that he actually went and took his lad too.

  • newcastle7

    The atmosphere at the Cardiff game was actually very good with true fans backing the club throughout
    but the rebels walked out on sixty and sixty nine minutes.Its a fact that in all seater stadiums its hard to generate an atmosphere especially in large stadiums except in the away end.Think Andy should concentrate on the low crowds at Stoke and keep his nose out.Despite offering free travel on Sunday they have returned over a thousand tickets pathetic.(Simon)

  • toon tony

    No atmosphere, no hope, no ambition, no class, no point. Thanks Mike. !!!

  • Lofty9

    GToon Completely agree. Its amazing the hold the club still has on ex players. I’ve never heard an ex player slagging the club area or fans off. That is what Newcastle United is all about.

  • heza09

    newcastle7 Perhaps it was the rebels who were generating the noise in the first place? Supporting their club but showing discontent for the regime. (That’s rhetorical, by the way.)

  • PaulNewsome

    Whay should Ashley care about atmosphere? He’s made a bankbusting profit from Newcastle this year and that is what’s important.

  • David Williams

    Ashley sold it off

  • PaulNewsome

    SimonM68 I live in London so I see as much of Newcastle at places like the Emirates etc as much as I do at SJP nowadays. You DO notice it more when you don;t go every other week. Apart form atmosphere, one thing that struck me most was the animated Sports Direct signage everywhere non stop when it arrived in full, It seemed like a bank of fruit machines flashing on and off at the same time and was distracting and horrible. Even when I was walking out of the stadium it was still flashing on and off in my eyes. I don’t get that at other grounds, they’re more restrained.

  • amacdee

    told him beforehand about the terrific atmosphere, but when we got
    there you could sense an element of frustration and the atmosphere
    wasn’t what it was.” 
    It isnt easy making a lot of noise if you’re sitting on your hands for 90 minutes

  • dannymc21

    Sadly Andy you’re quite right. Most fans are very frustrated.
    I’m not saying the current crop of players aren’t as committed as the players when you were here, but sadly it’s the quality in some areas that’s missing, and that’s due to a deliberate policy of zero ambition of behalf of the clubs owner, apart from generating and keeping as much of the income as he can.
    So expenditure on players is kept to a minimum.
    Good on you for taking your son to the game, but I hope you didn’t pay.
    In my opinion, everyone paying is just playing into his hands and filling his pockets. Things will not change until Ashley goes, and hopefully someone comes in with greater ambition than getting knocked out of the cups early and finishing above the relegation places but below the European qualifiers.;

  • hate the mackems

    has anyone actually been up in level 7 in recent years. it’s like being at the pictures, women & kids with absolutley no interest in football sitting playing games on tablets & phones. 50,000 yes,  football people no! its dreadful up there, i defy anyone from the old days to sit up there more than once. the pub is where our atmosphere has gone.

  • Christopher Murphy

    them days have gone. Fat mike has taken it like the Grinch he is. Fat fcuking london buisness man. Coo-ut.