It was a miserable Monday night for Gini Wijnaldum and his Newcastle teammates at West Ham.
However, there were emotional scenes only 24 hours later as the United midfielder was guest of honour at old club PSV.
A remarkable performance full of character saw PSV fall a goal behind but come back and beat Manchester United 2-1 in their opening Champions League match.
Even more astonishing when you consider that after Wijnaldum led the Dutch club to a 17 point title win last season, both he and Memphis Depay were snatched away to the Premier League.
Ironically it was former NUFC loan flop Luuk de Jong who Captained PSV to Tuesday night’s superb victory.
However, the match was billed beforehand by PSV as ‘Gini Wijnaldum saying farewell to the club’, with the Newcastle star introduced to the crowd at half-time.
In return the Eindhoven fans didn’t let their former captain down either, displaying this banner (translates as Captain Gini Thanks) –
In a pre-match statement PSV said:
‘Georginio Wijnaldum will be applauded onto the pitch at half-time of PSV’s Champions League clash with Manchester United. As captain, he guided PSV to their first Eredivisie title in seven years.
Eredivisie title, KNVB Cup and Johan Cruijff Shield
Georginio Wijnaldum joined PSV in the summer of 2011 and made 154 appearances in all competitions, scoring 56 goals in the process. PSV head coach Phillip Cocu handed him the captain’s armband in the 2013/14 season.
The midfielder was all over the place, proved to be a prolific scorer and guided PSV to their first Eredivisie title in seven years. He won the Golden Shoe Award as player of the year last season. During his spell in Eindhoven, Wijnaldum won the Eredivisie title as well as the KNVB Cup and the Johan Cruijff Shield with PSV.’
— Georginio Wijnaldum (@GWijnaldum) September 16, 2015
No doubt some Newcastle fans will question the suitability of Wijnaldum taking part last night straight after a terrible display by both he and the Newcastle team and with United rock bottom of the league.
However, obviously this PSV tribute was organised well in advance and it is only common sense that Gini Wijnaldum needs time to adapt fully to the Premier League.
So many foreign players have been ruined so quickly after arriving at Newcastle due to not being introduced gradually to the first team.
It isn’t Wijnaldum’s fault that Mike Ashley allowed the situation to get so critical with lack of investment in the squad before belatedly allowing realistic funds to be spent on the Newcastle squad.
Here’s hoping and expecting that Newcastle fans can look forward to many special Gini Wijnaldum moments in the months and years to come.