Les Ferdinand “Delighted for Newcastle. Rafa Benitez has done an unbelievable job…”
What a player Les Ferdinand was for Newcastle United.
Arriving in summer 1995, along with David Ginola, Sir Les was superb.
With 41 goals in 68 Premier League matches and 50 goals overall in 84 NUFC appearances, he was yet another inspired Kevin Keegan signing.
No coincidence that the two seasons Newcastle finished runners up in the Premier League, were also the two years Les Ferdinand spent at the club.
Fans were gutted when he was sold off to Tottenham as it was supposedly ‘good business’ getting £6m for a 30 year old, the folly of the Hall and Shepherd regime was laid bare when then Alan Shearer picked up a serious injury pre-season, leaving them with no out and out centre forward for most of the season.
Ferdinand coached at Tottenham after his playing days before then becoming Director of Football at QPR.
Tonight he will have split loyalties but has made clear his pleasure at seeing Newcastle reach safety well in advance of tonight’s game.
Les Ferdinand believes Rafa ‘has done and unbelievable job’ and he is ‘delighted for Newcastle’, saying that the NUFC players ‘have stood up and been counted this season.’
After lying down in these last three games, those Newcastle players will need to stand back up and get organised once again, if they are not to experience a messy 90 minutes against Spurs.
Sir Les expects Tottenham to be victorious as they need to win to try and ensure Champions League qualification in these final two matches.
However, the former Newcastle number 9 (and 10) expects his old club to at least ‘have a go’, let’s hope that is the bare minimum tonight.
Les Ferdinand speaking to the official Spurs site:
“First of all, I must say I’m delighted for Newcastle.
“Rafa Benitez has done an unbelievable job and under his guidance, the players have stood up and been counted this season. They have secured survival in the Premier League and everyone’s relieved.
“Having said that, I expect Spurs to win because they are still playing to secure Champions League football whereas Newcastle are safe and essentially not playing for anything.
“I can only go by what I’ve watched recently…I’ve watched Newcastle’s last two games and put it this way, I’m not surprised they lost against West Brom and Watford.
“Of course, they have freedom in their play now and there are a couple of players in the squad who will have their eye on the World Cup, players like Jonjo Shelvey will see this as an opportunity to perform on a big stage and perhaps get into the England squad.
“I don’t see Newcastle turning up at Wembley and just lying down. They will have a go.
“If Spurs score an early goal that could make it a difficult night for Newcastle. That’s the key for me.
“Newcastle are on the back of a couple of defeats and when you are on that slippery slope it’s tough to get off it, especially at this stage of the season.
“That’s the ideal scenario for Spurs, an early goal and dictate the game from there.”
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