How can you describe to somebody who wasn’t around then, what it felt like to be a Newcastle United fan on 30 July 1996?
The stark contrast to what we feel now after 11 years of Mike Ashley, is a world away…
The excitement when you found out that Alan Shearer was signing for Newcastle United!
Exactly 22 years ago today, Newcastle spent £15m and broke the World record transfer.
We signed the best striker in the Premier League, the best forward in the World, the man who had just won the Golden Boot at Euro ’96. When Alan Shearer almost led England to their first trophy in 30 years.
The record fee these days is the £200m that PSG paid for Neymar, whilst Mike Ashley hasn’t even allowed Newcastle to match that £15m which was paid 22 years ago, in his 11 years in control.
Since promotion last summer, Newcastle United haven’t even paid more than £10m for any player, this at a time when Fulham are paying £25m for a midfielder (and £22m/£27m on a striker…), Bournemouth £20m on a centre-back, and Huddersfield £18m on a defender of their own.
The John Hall/Freddy Shepherd regime wasn’t without its faults, and not that long after the Shearer signing they went into reverse as they attempted to make the balance sheet look a lot better as they tried to sell the club (selling Ferdinand because £6m for a 30 year old was ‘good business’), but nothing could have prepared us for this hellish decade and more under Mike Ashley.
A time when there has never been more money flowing into Newcastle United and yet Rafa Benitez is given zero transfer budget, only (some?) money raised from sales is what is allowed to be spent.
Just for a moment though, we’ll take you back to 30 July 1996, when Newcastle United fans were able to dream…
“This signing is for the people of Newcastle!
“It just shows you the ambition of Newcastle United.
“We are the biggest thinking team in Europe now.
“We are not the biggest and most successful team…but we are the biggest thinking club.
“It’s a great privilege for me to be able to introduce Alan.
“….a lot of money has fetched him back, but it is your money: the money you have spent on replica shirts, home and away, the money you spend on your season tickets and your bonds, on your Platinum clubs and your programmes.
“I see it as my job, and it is a privilege to have that job, to invest that money.
“You (the fans) put it in and I put it in the team, so that when you come to watch that product on the park, it is the very, very best we feel we can provide, because that’s what you deserve.
“I feel we have done that with this man…I don’t want to say any more, it is his day, it is your day.”
“It is a great day, a great day for the club.
“We have come a tremendous (long) way…we are going to have to build a new stadium of 60,000.
“We are going to invest great sums of money in our soccer Academy, so that the future Alan Shearers don’t have to leave the region.
“We have got an excellent squad of players, and basically, it is very difficult at times to improve that squad.
“But I think we can all agree that we have found the right player in Alan…
“This club is going places.
“Alan Shearer, together with the rest of the players, are an investment in this club.”