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Sven Botman at SJP – Seeing the kids excitedly waiting for him brought back memories…

2 months ago

Seeing the youngsters excitedly waiting outside St James Park for Sven Botman to arrive on Monday, took me back to how I used to feel as a lad and a younger man, whenever Newcastle United brought in a player of quality.

I remember the Toon signing Peter Withe from the new Football League Champions, Nottingham Forest, back in 1978, me somewhat flabbergasted that he had joined us after a miserable NUFC season that had culminated in our relegation to the Second Division.

Four years later and still down in the dumps, the feeling of euphoria when we signed the England captain and current Footballer of the Year, Kevin Keegan, will forever be etched into my memory.

In 1986, Newcastle United were in a very similar position to last season. Heading towards Christmas and apparently relegation certainties, manager Willie McFaul smashed our transfer record to secure the services of Paul Goddard from West Ham for a fee of £440,000.

And similarly to the divine intervention recently experienced on Tyneside, ‘God’ did come to the rescue and did the business that helped keep us up.

Mirandinha quickly followed and I spewed a well paid job in Woking, Surrey, on the morning of his home debut. When I eventually got off the clipper there were sombrero wearing supporters at Gallowgate ready to welcome the first Brazilian to play in English football.

David Kelly was signed by Ossie Ardiles in 1992 with the Toon hurtling towards the Third Division.

He gave me a bit hope though did ‘Ned’, ultimately he went on to score the most important goal in Newcastle United’s history.

One year on and the Geordie juggernaut had well and truly rolled into gear under Kevin Keegan.

Scott Sellars arrived and Andy Cole joined from Bristol City to become our first million pound plus player. They joined up with the likes of Barry Venison, John Beresford and Paul Bracewell, who had already been astutely recruited by KK…1992/93 will go down as one of our most memorable seasons ever.

After taking the Premier League by storm I was delighted when Sir Les Ferdinand joined us in 1995.

One year on and I was working for Blacketts in the old Swans yard when the news broke that Alan Shearer was joining his hometown club from Blackburn Rovers for a world record fee. I have never ever seen so many working men spontaneously clock out early to get to the Toon, or even their local.

So like I say, I was happy for the young-uns yesterday, because they are the new generation that will see Newcastle United go from strength to strength… I went to bed last night with a smile on my face.



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