Tino Asprilla has today urged the Newcastle faithful to make it a very special welcome back for Kevin Keegan tomorrow, and raise the roof at St. James’ Park.
Faustino Asprilla – scoring one of 3 goals – we hammered Barcelona 3-2
The South American star was one of Keeganâ€™s signings when he came to Newcastle in early 1996, but what followed was the run-in when Manchester United caught us, after being 12 points ahead at the top of the league at Christmas.
And in an exclusive interview with the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, Tino backed his former boss to bring the glory days back to St Jamesâ€™ Park.
Interviewed from his Colombian home, Tino, now 38, said:
â€œKeegan is a great manager. He is the best manager I ever met and worked for during my career in Europe.â€â€œAll my memories of Keegan are very good ones. He told me I was one of the best footballers in the world at that time and I was impressed to hear that because he was highly thought of as a manager.â€
â€œI am not surprised he has come back. This is great news for Newcastle United and for the city that he has come back home. I think he will do a good job. I hope he will be as successful as he was before with Newcastle.â€
â€œHe has been good for the club in the past and I hope the whole city will get behind him like they used to.â€
Tino was signed from Italian side Parma for Â£6.7M and he made 54 appearances for the club, scoring 12 goals, including a hat-trick at home against Barcelona in the Champions League.
The Evening Chronicle today interviewed Tino at his home in Cali, Colombia, home:
â€œI havenâ€™t seen him since I left Newcastle and I canâ€™t remember when I spoke to him last.â€œI wish him very, very good luck and if I had to send a message to him I would say â€˜God blessâ€™. I would like to come back to help him as his No 2.” â€œIf not, I have got my football boots polished.â€
â€œMy best memory of my time on Tyneside was our last game in the league when we knew we had finished second in the table and qualified for the Champions League.”
â€œI have excellent memories of the two years I was in Newcastle. We were fighting for the Premier League championship against Manchester Untied and there was that incredible game against Barcelona that we all remember.”
â€œI loved my time in the city and the people were great and I would love to come back again because I still have close friends over there.
â€œI know the fans love football and the team and if they can create the same atmosphere as they did when Keegan was here last time, hopefully he can be as much of a success.â€
Tino was sold back to Parma for Â£6M by Kenny Dalglish but the Columbian was at Newcastle in the previous Keegan golden days, and will always be remembered for that at Newcastle.