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Les Ferdinand talks Steve Bruce, Joelinton and whether Newcastle United can match previous ‘success’

2 months ago
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It is over 90 years since Newcastle United finished higher in the top tier than the two years when Les Ferdinand was at St James Park.

One of Kevin Keegan’s many brilliant signings, £6m took Sir Les from QPR t0 Newcastle United and almost, almost, helped deliver the title.

Instead, Newcastle fans had to settle for two runners-up spots, goals galore, European competition and brilliant football.

Give To Local aim to put £10m a year into community sport and they have interviewed Les Ferdinand to help publicise what they do.

‘GiveToLocal’s purpose is to bring communities together. In these most challenging of times we are working harder than ever to ensure our community of clubs and businesses can plan for a better future.

Supporting sport, business and the local community through these difficult times.’

Les Ferdinand chatting about Joelinton and Steve Bruce AND whether Newcastle United can ever get back to the kind of days when he graced the black and white…

Les Ferdinand talking to Give To Local:

‘When you signed for Newcastle United did you immediately feel part of a community passionate about its sport at every level?’

“Definitely…and it doesn’t surprise me that GiveToLocal is based in the North East. Without a shadow of a doubt that part of the world has always had such a passion for sport and a keen sense of community.

“I was very fortunate to play for Newcastle United for two years and during those two years the team was playing a type of football that brought everyone together. There was a sense that everybody loved their football team and everybody loved their sport.

“Lee Clark and Steve Watson used to take me to watch Sunday league games where their brothers or their cousins or their mates were playing. Back then the three of us could just turn up and watch a game and nobody batted an eyelid. That was when the sense of community around sport in the North East really shone through.”

‘Does Newcastle United still have the potential to repeat the success of the mid 90s and early noughties?’

“Definitely. Newcastle United is still strong enough and big enough to match the success of the Entertainers era and the Sir Bobby Robson years.

“The club has had its ups and downs for the last few years and the situation regarding the owner hasn’t helped. But things happen in cycles. I’m sure Newcastle will get back to the point they were – where everyone is singing their praises and appreciating the style of football they play.

Steve Bruce is doing a good job in occasionally difficult circumstances and if you look at his record it stands up. He wasn’t the people’s first choice and I know that. But he’s got himself in there and he’s doing a fantastic job in my opinion.”

‘Can Joelinton come back a stronger and more effective player?’

“I think so. I’ve seen Joelinton play in the past – before he signed for Newcastle – and he’s a modern-day centre forward who can play down the left and the right as well as through the centre.

“He actually prefers playing on the left or right rather than through the middle but I accept that he has the look of a traditional centre forward. He’s got all of the attributes to do well at St James’s Park and I honestly believe he can come back stronger given the chance.

“There are huge pressures associated with wearing the number nine shirt for Newcastle when you consider the people who have worn it before.

“I hope the fans continue to get behind Joelinton and realise that just because he’s not a traditional number nine it doesn’t mean that he can’t be a real asset. He works so hard for the team and deserves support.”

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