In recent years when Newcastle United’s reputation was slightly tarnished by the likes of want-away players such as Yohan Cabaye, Loic Remy and more recently Cheick Tiote; the fans can’t help but to reminisce about the past, especially during the first Keegan era.
Then, we had players who really played their heart out for us. If a young player like Rolando Aarons asks how to be a loved player in Newcastle, well just pick anyone from the team in the 1995-1997 team to follow. From the big guns like Shearer, Ginola, Beardsley, to the less-skilled ones like Darren Peacock and Robbie Elliot; those guys would still be mobbed by Newcastle fans even after twenty years since they last thrilled the league.
To become loved and respected, the players just have to play their hearts out and show they love the city and the crowd. Look at the contrast between Kevin Nolan and Michael Owen. Both were captains, but one will be cheered while the other will be booed severely.
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Back to the 1996 team, it was such a magical team. If they had won the league, how football is played would have been changed forever since. Captain of that team? A player who always wore a smile on the field, Mr Robert Lee.
Thanks to Malaysian broadcast company Astro, Robert Lee was invited to Malaysia to do some TV work and a meet-and-greet session with the Malaysian fans. He thought in a place like Malaysia, Newcastle fans would be few, especially when he has left the playing field for so long now. How wrong and surprised he was.
(Toon Army Malaysia with legend Robert Lee)
Fans led by Fan Club President Nidzam, came in their hordes, singing ‘Geordie Bootboys’, chanting his name . Also, we did sing a birthday song for him too.
We printed a banner and shirt to welcome him, also to thank him for giving us the great memories in the 90s.The whole area came to a stop as our chants and singing were so loud.
He is what we termed a legend. Trust me, the likes of Cabaye , Loic Remy would never be revered like this.
Members of Toon Army Malaysia had the time of our lives meeting up with Robert Lee, where he shared plenty of stories, be it on the football platform or the private lives of The Entertainers. As a matter of respect for the captain, it’s wise most of the stories shall remain unrepeated.
Except maybe one when we asked if he, the great man himself, harbours any hope to be the manager of Newcastle. His answer: “Definitely, it will be an honour to lead Newcastle in the future.”
So, why not give him a chance? He may not have the necessary experience but he loved the club, the city and the fans. He knows what the fans want. And being an ex-England player, he would still command respect and pulling power to pull good players in. Besides, the fans will give him time, unlike Alan Pardew or Joe Kinnear.
Toon Army Malaysia again take this opportunity to thank Sir Robert Lee for making the trip down to Malaysia, and we pray one day you will drag us out of the doldrums as the manager of Newcastle.