Newcastle fans were upbeat on Thursday morning after there were just fantastic scenes at Steve Harpers’ testimonial game for 20 years of loyal service to the club, and many former greats turned up for Newcastle, and the AC Milan side were also full of former great Italian players.
A potpourri of photos from Wednesday night – compliments of the Mail
And it took us back to a time when Newcastle were a side challenging for the Premier league when ion 1996 and 1997 we finished second top of the Premier League and then under Bobby Robson’s reign we finished 4th top, 3rd top and 5th top in successive seasons from 2002 through 2004.
And of course on Monday, 30th August of 2004, one day before I retired from IBM – Bobby Robson was fired – which at the time was just unbelievable – and it still is.
When I left IBM on that Tuesday, I was more shocked about what had happened to Bobby, than leaving a company I had worked for over the last 34 years.
And we are not surprised that the current Newcastle players were inspired by the return of some of the club’s former greats on Wednesday night, and the new signings would have seen what a great club they now belong to.
And it wasn’t too surprising that Hatem Ben Arfa was one of the Newcastle players at the game, because he knows what a great club Newcastle still is, and he pushed for his move to Tyneside three years ago when he was still at Marseilles.
Alan Pardew has said the game and the legends on display were all the talk at Darsley Park during training on Thursday, and Alan mentioned at his press conference that if you had seen him play, you would understand why he didn’t take part in the charity game himself as a player.
This is what Alan had to say to the local press today:
“It was nice to see Hatem there.” “The message at the training ground was ‘what great players we’ve had here’.” “They can try to emulate Ginola, Shearer and Ferdinand.
“We’ve got one or two who can threaten that quality – Yohan Cabaye, Ben Arfa or Loic Remy maybe.” “This is what great clubs are about. To have a fan base which is second to none is inspiring. It certainly gave me a lift.”
“It was a humbling experience for me to sit in the stand.” “I just saw 51,000 people, with all the money going to charity. I have to take my hat off to Steve Harper for that.” “It was fantastic.”
“Our Foundation was part of that. They’re going to put the money to good use.” “I’m not saying we can be as good as ‘The Entertainers’.” “That was a hell of a team, and was certainly closer to titles that we’re going to get – because the goalposts have shifted dramatically in terms of the finance.”
“Whereas before Man United only had a small advantage over Newcastle, now it’s huge.” “It’s difficult to bridge, but that’s not to say we can’t bridge the gap and bring a trophy, get a high finish or fight for the Champions League or Europa League.”
“That’s what we’re going to do.”
We wish Alan would stop bringing up the finances of the club, as some sort of excuse for not challenging for the top four – even if it’s true.
That’s because Newcastle may not be a rich club in today’s terms, but we’re not poor either.
And with each Premier League club getting an average of £30M more from the Premier League for the nest three years, starting next May – and with Newcastle’s revenues being the 20th highest of any club in the world – we should have ample money to build up a top side.
We just have to spend it.
Mike Ashley – please take note.
Howay The Lads!!
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