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11 most important Newcastle United people in my 40 years

1 year ago
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It is the 125th birthday of Newcastle United today.

I can’t account for the first 85 or so years as I wasn’t at most matches and even when I was taken occasionally in the years 81-85 (mid-70s), I didn’t really have a clue as to what was going on.

All I knew was that it was both very exciting and a a little bit frightening at the same time, especially the odd time when I was taken in the old Leazes End.

It was just mental and brilliant.

All the talk has been of picking a best Newcastle team from all the players in those 125 years, ahead of today’s birthday.

I don’t really see how you can delve beyond what you have seen yourself, so I am keeping it to the last 40 years, and I have gone for the most important 11 Newcastle United people, not just players.

This is my first article for The Mag (if published…), so interested to see your comments at the end…

Kevin Keegan

When he first arrived in 1982, it is hard to describe just how mind blowing it was. The club was in a state of total decay and to have the England Captain dropping into the second division to rescue us, was exhilarating. That first game and win against QPR…the numbers in the Gallowgate must have been double what they should have been. Keegan of course scoring.

It took two years but with the help of Waddle and Beardsley, KK led us into the top tier only for the usual incompetence to ruin it. Arthur Cox walking out of the door after being let down on transfers…

More of you will be aware of Keegan’s outstanding contribution as a manager in the 1990s, quite simply, easily the best time to have been a Newcastle fan in the last 50+ years. I also think that given the right backing…he could have done a brilliant job when returning in 2008. Keegan is the best for me.

Alan Shearer

When he signed it was the best since Kevin Keegan. You couldn’t read enough about it. There must have been more Chronicles bought that day than they must sell in a month these days.

Newcastle’s greatest ever goalscorer, the Premier League’s greatest ever goal scorer, England Captain, could have gone anywhere, but he stayed with us.

Unconditional love and along with Kevin Keegan, arguably the biggest stain on Mike Ashley’s ownership, That he undermined the two greatest living Newcastle United people and tried to smear them after they wouldn’t take it lying down.

Sir John Hall

Set in motion those great great days under Kevin Keegan.

Without John Hall there would have been no Freddie Fletcher, which would have then meant no Kevin Keegan, subsequently no Alan Shearer and so on.

For that I will always be eternally grateful but unfortunately the later years of the Hall and Shepherd reign saw them ruthlessly taking as much money out of the club as possible and waste massive opportunities to make the club massively successful. The open goal of being the first English club to get Champions League football without winning the league, massively wasted as they sold off Ferdinand and others and bought in free transfer pensioners such as Barnes and Rush.

Mike Ashley

Not a lot needs saying as you know it all.

I’m not big on religion but Ashley has brought every type of pestilence and darkness to our enjoyment of supporting Newcastle United.

What a horrible 10+ years to be a Newcastle fan.

Peter Beardsley

A brilliant player.

Best I have ever seen? Very probably.

Was superb the first time and even better when returning in his 30s.

Least said the better about his slavish love of Mike Ashley and what is happening with football below first team level at the minute.

Sir Bobby Robson

Made us believe again.

Two seasons of outstanding football and some great times, pus a third season of very good football which now looks superb in comparison to much of the nonsense since.

Not quite Kevin Keegan in terms of his influence on Newcastle United and impact on the pitch but then when you add everything else such as his foundation, he is a Newcastle United great for sure.

Gazza

If Beardsley is the best I have ever seen, Gazza is the most talented in terms of pure skill.

Losing him to Tottenham, after Beardsley and Waddle had also left, prompted the start of The Mag I remember.

When Gazza left in 1988 it was horrendous. Watching him play for Newcastle in the 80s was just so exciting, outrageous at times in what he attempted and usually achieved.

Rafa Benitez

Early days and we all wait to see if he will be given a chance to try and do something all the KK/SBR lines.

However, a brilliant bloke who believes in what is possible at Newcastle United and now we just need owners who are on same wavelength.

Has done a great job in very trying circumstances.

Graeme Souness

I hate Graeme Souness.

The most ludicrous decision ever, replacing Sir Bobby Robson with him. It was laughable.

He ripped apart that Sir Bobby team and threw away a brilliant chance for the club to establish itself as a regular at the top table. Useless and refuses to hold his hands up to the mess he made.

My Dad

For introducing (and indoctrinating!) me into Newcastle United.

Mikel Merino

This is a bit of a longer-term one…

Has only played a handful of games but I think he is going to go on to be a brilliant player and a star at both club level and for Spain.

If he is still a Newcastle player in five years time then I think the club will be in a very good place.
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