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.”

  • Leazes.

    Neither Ferdinand or Ginola will have ‘split loyalties’…. Ferdinand is a Tottenham fan from childhood and Ginola’s preference was Spurs over us!

    Ginola wanted to leave get it into your heads….I don’t know where the vilification of the manager selling him came into it but Ginola pushed for a move! after being tapped-up by the London club.

    • Lord

      I thought Ginola was wanted by clubs after our 95/96 campaign (in particular by Sir Bobby at Barcelona) but stayed on for Keegan and then found himself playing for Dalglish halfway through the season.

      Memory is getting a bit fuzzy now but i thought it was really Dalglish’s style of play that was the main cause for him to move on – can’t say I blame him, looking back!

      • Leazes.

        He had been tapped up the season before according to keegan, who refused to sell

        • Keeganontherebound

          As I recall he was wanted by Barça not Spurs at the time. Are you really criticising Ginola for being interested in joining Barça?

          • Leazes.

            Before he came here…. they had a full squad so Ginola move was off, found himself a well paid home for a season here.

          • Pablo

            Both him and sir Les were bloody brilliant for Newcastle. Never mind the ‘who tapped who’ and why they left, at least we saw the two of them play for our team. Happy days. Little did we know what the future held ( cashley)

        • Dillon Tovak

          In sure a lot of mums out there wouldn’t mind tapping up Ginola and Sir Les.

    • Keeganontherebound

      What’s with the persecution of Ginola? He had talks with Barcelona before signing for us and then wanted to join them the following season but Keegan wouldn’t let him go. Then Dalglish dropped him from the team. Spurs were nowhere near our level at the time so it’s not like it would make sense for a relegation candidate to be ‘tapping up’ anyone getting a game in a team at the other end of the table…

      • Leazes.

        Barcelona fell through because it was dependent on them selling a player first… he wanted a top club, Celtic interviewed and Keegan stepped in…. but he was away after two seasons.

        • Keeganontherebound

          He’s been quite open about wanting to go to Barça and play for Cruyff who was his hero and I don’t think you can hold that against him. He left after Keegan resigned and Dalglish benched him. He wasn’t really wanted at the club anymore and he went to Spurs for a low fee because they wanted him.If you think he was ‘tapped up’ I’d love to know your source for that.

          • Leazes.

            It was before he came here that Barca wanted him, If you remember the London press had been destabilising the player for a year and when it became untenable it was Spuds who were the recipients, there wasn’t a cat in hells chance of him going to Barca, that’s the way they were trying to draw him out, Barca didn’t destabalise the player it was Spurs and the British press.

          • Keeganontherebound

            I was in London at the time and don’t remember anything of the sort- actually people were very positive about the toon in those days. Again, if you have a source for this I’m happy to take a look at it but as far as I can tell there is absolutely no evidence for what you are saying.

        • Cockneytrev

          Ginola was happy here, but his house was burgled in woolsington,, his wife was unhappy,, then daglish didn’t like his style of play,, so when an offer came in it was the combination of both that moved him, Spurs never tapped him up.

  • Coach Clagnut

    Ginola was about to sign for Celtic and a reported 20k a week before Keegan nipped in and offered him 2k a week more.

  • Coach Clagnut

    Dalglish hated Ginola as a player despite the entertainment value. Dalglish wasn’t out to entertain anyone. He wanted a functioning machine with no room for a player using off the cuff improvisation.

    Dalglish bored me, and 1000’s of others I would vouch, to death.