Friday July 1st, 2016

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Saturday 16th July
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The Never-Ending Tour

  Number of Newcastle
  games attended by in 2016/17:



Martin Hardy's excellent "Touching Distance" book is now in paperback.

Order from the publisher for just £8.99 including UK postage here




Ticket news: ST holder renewal deadline now extended from Fri 01.07.2016 to Fri 08.07.2016

Cherry picking
Matt's my boy


With Andros Townsend now a Crystal Palace player, United have moved quickly to replace him by signing Bournemouth's 26 year-old winger Matt Ritchie - a third signing in as many days following the arrival of goalkeeper Matz Sels and striker Dwight Gayle.

Sky Sports reported on Wednesday that negotiations with the Cherries over a £12m switch for the Scottish international were ongoing and the player arriving on Tyneside 24 hours later for his medical before a five year contract was signed and announced on Friday.

Ritchie - who was born in Hampshire but chose to represent the nation of his father's birth - began his career with Portsmouth but made a competitive debut while on loan to Dagenham & Redbridge in 2008.

Later loans took the left-footer on to Notts County and Swindon Town and after a brief taste of top flight football at Fratton Park, Matt completed a permanent move to Swindon during January 2011.

Helping them win League Two in 2012, a £400K move to Bournemouth was concluded in early 2013 in time to help them gain promotion to the Championship.

Following a tenth place finish in 2014, Ritchie then participated in another promotion, scoring 15 goals when the Cherries won the Championship in 2015.

Making the first of ten appearances for Scotland (scoring three goals to date) against Northern Ireland in March 2015, he made 33 Premier League starts last season and scored four goals - getting off the mark with an absolute rasper against the mackems.

Hit the North:
Do the Dwight thing


Newcastle United have confirmed the signing of Crystal Palace striker Dwight Gayle on a five year deal for an unspecified fee claimed to be £10m.


The 25 year-old Londoner travelled to Tyneside on Wednesday and completed the formalities of his transfer yesterday - posing for photos clad in United's new 2016/17 home kit (launched on Friday July 8th).

Gayle came to prominence after scoring 13 goals in 28 Championship starts for Peterborough United during the 2012/13 season, form which persuaded Palace to pay £6m for him that summer.

Since then he's been in and out of the Eagles side but managed to net 26 times during 74 appearances in all competitions - a tally that looks more impressive when considering he started just 34 of those games.

Two of those 26 goals came against United: in the opening seconds of a 3-3 draw at Gallowgate during August 2014 and from the penalty spot in our 3-2 League Cup away victory a month later.

Previously turning down moves to Norwich City and Bristol City, Gayle inked a new contract earlier this year but was surplus to requirements at Selhurst.

Released by Arsenal's Academy as a youngster, Dwight's playing career began with Essex Senior League side Stansted in 2009 - during which he featured against Dunston in an FA Vase tie.

Signing for Dagenham & Redbridge in 2011, Gayle was loaned to Bishop's Stortford before being blooded in League Two at the start of the 2012/13 season.

Journey South:
Andros away


As the capture of Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace was announced, the Eagles themselves confirmed Andros Townsend had completed a move there. 

The winger signs a five year deal at a cost of £13m after Palace triggered a release clause that was inserted into his contract when he made a claimed £12m switch from Spurs to Tyneside in January.

Following confirmation of his move, this statement was posted on Townsend's instagram account:

Iíd like to put on record my sincerest thanks to the manager, board and fans of Newcastle United for the warmth and support they have shown me since I joined in January. Please believe me when I say that this has been an incredibly difficult decision and one I have not taken lightly.

I signed for Newcastle fully aware of the task at hand and it was my absolute desire to keep the club in the Premier League. I hope the fans could see that from day one I gave everything I possibly could during the season and never once gave up on the fight for survival. Thatís why it was so hard when despite those efforts we fell short.

The future for Newcastle is very bright, with some great young players and an outstanding Manager who I have the utmost respect for. However, after talking at length with the Manager and Managing Director I have made the decision to leave the club based purely on footbaling reasons, with my wish to remain in the Premier League.

I remain humbled by the support of the fans during my time at Newcastle and wish everyone associated with the club success for the future. The fans deserve a winning team and I fully expect to see the club promoted back to the Premier League at the first attempt. Thank You.


Season tickets: deadline extended 
NUFC confirm that existing season ticket holders yet to renew have a new extended deadline to do so of Friday July 8th - a week later than advertised

That's pertinent to fans looking to become ST holders or relocate to areas where availability is currently restricted, with that process now delayed a week.

PS: If you're staying in the same seats for 2016/17 then your existing season ticket cards will be used. New cards will only be issued to supporters moving seats / price categories (i.e. junior becoming adult).

Unlikely lad:
After spectacularly re-igniting his career during a season playing for Nice in the French League, ex- Magpie Hatem Ben Arfa has agreed a two year contract with champions Paris Saint Germain - 18 months after his release by Newcastle.

The 29 year-old formally became a free agent on Friday and had received offers from clubs in Italy, Spain, France and England but opted to join his "hometown" club (he was born in the suburbs).

PSG becomes the fourth French side Hatem has appeared for, after Lyon, Marseille and Nice.

Go West:
Going home

Reports from Argentina on Thursday state that a deal taking Fabricio Coloccini to his former club San Lorenzo has now been finalised.

The 34 year-old defender was pictured in Buenos Aires alongside the San Lorenzo President, South American media outlets reporting that the player joins as a free agent after negotiating his release from United.

Coloccini had twelve months of his deal remaining, but made his most recent appearance back in February before claiming fitness problems while missing our last dozen games.   

A £10m signing from Deportivo La Coruna in the summer of 2008, Colo made 274 appearances in all competitions, scoring seven times.

However he's barely hidden his enthusiasm for a return to South America in recent seasons and it seems like a lifetime ago that his performances prompted "I want curly hair too" chants. 

Kit confirmation

Available to buy from Friday July 8th, here's the 2016/17 NUFC home kit, including hoopy socks


Quakers and Colliers
added to schedule

Flashback to 2011



Non-league side Darlington confirm a pre-season fixture against a Newcastle United XI next month, staged at their former Northern Echo Arena home.

The former Reynolds Arena is now used by Darlington Mowden Park rugby club, but the Quakers will return from their temporary home at Bishop Auckland FC to face the Magpies on Saturday 16th July (3pm)

Prices are £10 Adults and £6 Concessions (U16, Over 65, Armed Forces and Students) and available from next Friday (8th) - further sale details to follow.

United have previously visited that venue for two first-team pre-season games against Darlo: a 7-2 win in July 2009 and a 2-0 victory two years later that was overshadowed by a ridiculous pitch invasion.

Northern League side Ashington meanwhile report that their pre-season programme now includes a friendly match against a Newcastle United XI. 

The two sides meet at the Colliers' Woodhorn Lane ground on Monday August 1st, kickoff 7.30pm.

U21 pre-season:

Sun 10.07.2016 Bradford Park Avenue (a) (3pm)

Sat 16.07.2016 Darlington (n*) 3pm 
(at Northern Echo Arena)

Sat 23.07.2016 Corby Town (a) (3.30pm)

Sun 24.07.2016 PSV Eindhoven (n*) (Noon) 
(*at Corby)

Sat 30.07.2016 York City (a) 3pm

Mon 01.08.2016 Ashington (a) 7.30pm 

Proud sponsors of


Euro 2016 latest

And now let's meet the eight who are going to generate.....

Thu 30.06.2016:
Poland 1-1 Portugal (3-5 pens)

Fri 01.07.2016:
Wales v Belgium (8pm, Lille)

New customers can take advantage of Coral's 8/1 on the Belgians advancing at the expense of Chris Coleman's side (£5 maximum stake) plus a £5 free bet if Wales advance online here

Alternatively, Paddy Power price a Welsh win at 16/1 for new sign-ups (£10 max stake) online here

Sat 02.07.2016 
Germany v Italy (8pm, Bordeaux)

Sun 03.07.2016 
France v Iceland (8pm, Paris)

Watch the remainder of Euro 2016 live on TV while supping some cracking brews at The Bodega on Westgate Road, next to the Tyne Theatre. 

If you're tweetish find them at: @TheBodega_SJF

Find further details of this and the other locations that make up the Sir John Fitzgerald estate online here


Current to July 1st:

Goalkeepers (5):

Darlow, Elliot, Krul, Woodman, Sels

Defenders (11):
Coloccini, Dummett, Gillesphey, Good, Haidara, Janmaat, Lascelles, Mbabu, Mbemba, Satka, Sterry

Midfielders (15):

Aarons, Ameobi, Anita, Barlaser, Bigirimana, Cabella, Colback, Gouffran, Saivet, Shelvey, Sissoko, Smith, Thauvin, Tiote, Wijnaldum

Strikers (12):
Armstrong, Cisse, De Jong, Gayle, Gilliead, Heardman, Perez, Mitrovic, Riviere, Roberts, Toney, Vuckic

Goalkeeper signs 

Me Matz Sels and I!

Official confirmation has now arrived that goalkeeper Matz Sels is a Newcastle player - although one of his entourage looks to have jumped the gun and uploaded photos of his visit to Gallowgate on Tuesday. 

The 24 year-old Belgian international was on Tyneside to undergo his medical and sign a five year contract for a transfer fee estimated at up to £5m, which makes him the costliest custodian in our history.   


"I am really pleased to welcome Matz to the club. He's a fantastic goalkeeper and many top clubs have been interested in signing him.

"Obviously we have injuries to Tim Krul and Rob Elliot which could be difficult for us in the first part of the season, so it was important to strengthen in this area to be sure we can make a strong start in the Championship."


"I'm very pleased - I'm very happy to be here. In Belgium, Newcastle is a really big club, and that's why I chose Newcastle.

"As soon as Newcastle showed their interest in me, and I spoke to the coach, Rafa Benitez, it was an easy decision to make.

"I hear the supporters are a little bit crazy, so I'm looking forward to playing for them.

"I've played in the Champions League, so I've already played a few times in front of a lot of people, but it's incredible to play every week in front of 50,000 people. I'm looking forward to playing for them."

Sels joins from Belgians KAA Gent and had been the subject of interest from a number of Premier League clubs including both Middlesbrough and Southampton. 

Joining Gent from Lierse in 2014, he helped them to Belgian title success a year later. That resulted in a Champions League campaign last season that took them to the last sixteen and saw him make eight appearances in that competition.

Matz leaves Gent having made 116 senior starts and kept 38 clean sheets. He becomes the second Belgian-born player to join United following Philippe Albert (Belgian 'keeper Erwin Lemmens did feature for us at friendly level in 1999 but wasn't signed on).

Earning a callup to the full Belgian squad, former U21 international Sels played twice in the run up to Euro 2016 but missed out on the squad for the Finals.   

The acquisition of another goalkeeper isn't an obvious choice and will trigger speculation as to which of our current quartet of custodians is set to depart - with Tim Krul and Freddie Woodman seemingly more likely to exit than either Rob Elliot or Karl Darlow. 

Twenty year itch 

As an antidote to the Euros, local TV channel Made in Tyne and wear address United's epic failure in 95/96 on their latest "Football Still Matters" show. 

Contributors include old boys John Beresford, Steve Watson and journalist Martin Hardy - author of some obscure tome about the season in question....

The programme airs again at 9.30pm on Friday and 10am on Saturday. It's also available online here

Made in Tyne and wear broadcasts on Sky Channel 117, Virgin channel 159 and freeview. For further details, check their twitter @footymatterstv

Terriers unchanged 

As promised, live TV selections for the second weekend of the Championship season have been confirmed and Newcastle's home game against Huddersfield Town has not been selected.

Therefore the Terriers will visit Gallowgate as scheduled for a 3pm KO on Saturday August 13th. 

Live Championship games that weekend are on Friday 7.45pm and Saturday 5.30pm, with the latter slot expected to be used more often this season than Saturday lunchtime was in 2015/16.

That's due to BT gaining Saturday night for Premier League live games and Sky taking the Saturday lunchtime slot for PL action (along with a number of PL games on Friday nights rather than Monday nights).

Sky will show 92 Championship games live this season (the same total as 2015/16 and confirmation of live TV games up until September 24th are promised before the end of July.

2016/17 fixtures

First team pre-season

Sat 09.07.2016- Fri 15.07.2016 
Irish training camp

Sat 16.07.2016 Bohemian FC (a) 2pm

Wed 20.07.2016 Doncaster Rovers (a) 7.45pm

Sat 23.07.2016
Lokeren (a) 4.30pm (local)

Date tbc opposition (a) unconfirmed (Burnley was mentioned but they already have a game on 26.07)

Sat 30.07.2016 Vitesse Arnhem (h) 3pm

TF126 online now

The bumper bundle that is True Faith's summer special is now available free of charge online here - a right riveting read on matters Toon and beyond.

Worthy cause:
Ando Q & A

Ex-Magpie defender and BBC Radio Newcastle match summariser John Anderson is the special guest at a talk-in event in Gateshead next week.

Ando will be appearing at Teams & District Social Club on Friday July 8th and tickets are on sale now priced at £15 including comedian and a pie & pea supper. 

The evening is a fundraiser for Special Olympics Gateshead, a sporting club and registered charity for people with learning disabilities

Tickets can be booked via Danielle Appleby on 0191 433 2712 or

Venue: Teams & District Social Club, Derwentwater Road, Gateshead NE8 2SJ

On the road again   

Our rundown of what lies ahead next season for those embarking on our 23 away treks has now concluded - but every entry is here in case you missed any: 

Teams A-H

Teams I-W

Old boys:
Unlikely lads 
Old boys with new clubs:

Joey Barton (Glasgow Rangers)
Craig Baxter (South Shields)
Hatem Ben Arfa
(Paris SG)
Jamie Cobain
Adam Collin
(Notts County)
Mark Cook
(Dunston UTS)
Frank Wiafe Danquah
(Fortuna Sittard)
Nicky Deverdics
(Hartlepool United)
Ryan Donaldson (Plymouth Argyle)
Seydou Doumbia (Basel)
Alex Francis (Bishop Auckland)
Matthew Grieve (Morpeth Town)
Brad Inman (Peterborough United)
Callum Morris (Aberdeen)
Oguchi Onyewu (Rangers - trial) 
Matty Pattison (Blyth Spartans)
Ben Pollock (Hartlepool United)
Louis Storey (South Shields)

Coaches etc:

John Carver
(AC Omonoia M - Cyprus)
Steve Clarke (Aston Villa AM)
Nigel Pearson (Derby County M)
Carl Serrant (Charlton Athletic C)

Jennings Ford Direct
Jennings Ford Direct | 0845 020 5918


Fixtures, Tickets etc.
Season 2016/17

The ticket office is on the first floor of the SJP club shop, under the Gallowgate End towards the Strawberry.

Paid-for matchday ticket collections take place from the windows at the back of the Gallowgate End Stand, above NINE Bar.

Matchday ticket sales are from the Box Office in the Milburn Stand, just up the slope from the Sir Bobby Robson Statue.

SJP Box Office phone: 0844 372 1892* 
(7p per minute plus network charge)

* 0044 870 444 1892 from overseas


Online Box Office is here

SJP seating plan is here

2015/16 season ticket cards will be used again for 2016/17. New cards will only be issued for ST holders moving seats or changing price categories.

On the opening day of ticket sales, they officially commence at 10am - with any points reduction for away tickets becoming effective at the same time.

Away tickets are sold only to season ticket holders and members. All ST holders are also automatically members (a non-negotiable fee is added annually by NUFC to each ST).

A £1 administration fee per ticket applies to away sales in all competitions, with no upper limit. In addition, non-NUFC members pay the same fee on home ticket sales.

NUFC's members only away ticket policy is still in force, with only NUFC ST holders and members able to purchase tickets. 

altoonative travel is the public face of the Newcastle United Travel Plan, designed to help fans attend matches using the most efficient and sustainable methods available.


Heading to the Toon?

City guide

Geordie Map here  

NE guide here


Fri 08.07.2016 Last day for renewals of any 2015/16 season tickets.

Sun 10.07.2016: U21s v Bradford Park Avenue (a) @ Horsfall Stadium, 3pm. Friendly.

Sat 16.07.2016 Bohemian (Ireland) (a) Dalymount Park, Dublin, 2pm. Friendly. Ticket details tbc.

Sun 16.07.2016: U21s v Darlington (n) @ Northern Echo Arena, 3pm. Friendly.

Wed 20.07.2016 Doncaster Rovers (a) Keepmoat Stadium, 7.45pm. Friendly. Ticket details tbc.

Sat 23.07.2016 Sporting Lokeren (Belgium) (a) Daknam Stadium, 4.30pm local time. Friendly. Ticket details tbc.

Sat 23.07.2016 U21s v Corby Town (a)
@ Steel Park, Corby, 3.30pm. Friendly.

Sun 24.07.2016 U21s v PSV Eindhoven (n)
@ Steel Park, Corby. Noon. Friendly.

Mon 25.07.2016 U18s v Fermanagh (n) @ Ballymena, 7.30pm. NI Super Cup.

Tue 26.07.2016 U18s v Right to Dream (n) @ Seahaven, Portstewart, 7pm. NI Super Cup.

Wed 27.07.2016 U18s v Tyrone (n) @ The Warren, Portstewart, 3.30pm. NI Super Cup.

Thu 28.07.2016 U18s v opponent tbc, location and kickoff tbc. NI Super Cup.

Fri 29.07.2016 U18s v opponent tbc, location and kickoff tbc. NI Super Cup.

Sat 30.07.2016 Vitesse Arnhem (h) SJP, 3pm. Friendly. Ticket details tbc.

Sat 30.07.2016 U21s v York City (a) @ Bootham Crescent 3pm. Friendly.

Mon 01.08.2016 U21s v Ashington (a)
@ Woodhorn Lane, 7.30pm. Friendly.

Mon 01.08.2016 - Fri 05.08.2016
U16s v Charlton Athletic, Seattle Sounders (USA), Friendly Academy (Zimabwe). Youdan Trophy, Sheffield (games 30 mins x 2).

Fri 05.08.2016 Fulham (a) @ Craven Cottage, 7,45pm. Championship. Live on Sky Sports. 

Sat 13.08.2016 Huddersfield Town (h)
@ SJP, 3pm. Championship.

Sun 09.10.2016 Alan Shearer's Newcastle Legends team v Keith Gillespie's Manchester Select, Kingston Park, 1.30pm.

Tickets from £10 adults & £5 juniors via 0871 226 6060 or online here (Hospitality packages via 0191 214 2892). Proceeds donated to the Alan Shearer Foundation. 

Sat 06.05.2017
Championship season ends (all games kickoff at Noon).

(Championship playoff final takes place at Wembley Stadium on Mon 29.05.2017)

Confirmed NUFC UK live TV coverage:

NUFC Live on Sky Sports:
Fri 05.08.2016 Fulham (a) 7.45pm

League Cup (aka The EFL Cup):
United have a bye to Round 2.

R1 w/c 08.08.2016
R2 w/c 22.08.2016
R3 w/c 19.09.2016
R4 w/c 24.10.2016
R5 w/c 28.11.2016
SF1 w/c 09.01.2017
SF2 w/c 23.01.2017
F Sun 26.02.2017

FA Cup:
United enter in Round 3 - draw date tbc

R3 07.01.2017
R4 28.01.2017
R5 18.02.2017
R6 11.03.2017
SF 22.04.2017
Sat 27.05.2017.

Metro line closures 2016:

Sat 23.07.2016 to Sat 06.08.2016 From Benton to Whitley Bay both ways. 

Geordie in Europe!

Having conquered Portugal, Spain and France Mark Allison aka Run Geordie Run is en route to Turkey on the 2016 part of his planned global charity trek.

A 3,400 mile route via Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece will take him to Istanbul on Monday August 8th.

Mark is raising funds for The Children's Foundation and The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and his efforts to date have seen good causes benefit by £250K.

Finishing the fourth part of his challenge will take him past the halfway point in a 20,000 mile route that encompasses 24 countries across four continents.

Donations can be made online here and Mark's progress monitored online here


International Magpies
National Service
2016/17 future match dates:
Mon-Tue 29.08.2016-06.09.2016
Mon-Tue 03-11.10.2016
Mon-Fri 07-18.11.2016
Mon-Tue 20-28.03.2017
Coxy's Cockup Corner
Whoops, He did it Again...

What's this all about then?
Click here  
for a rambling explanation of sorts....

On This Day in History
1st July

Born Or Died:

1916 Death of Tommy Goodwill, 20.

Another victim of the First World War, Tommy served with the Northumberland Fusiliers and was killed during the battle for the Somme.

His name appears on the war memorial at Thiepval in France.

1916 Death of Dan Dunglinson, 26.

Reserve player Dan was a Corporal with the Northumberland Fusiliers and died on the opening day of the Somme. 

He's commemorated at Thiepval in France.

1940 George Heslop born, Wallsend.

Centre half signed from local side Dudley Welfare who made his senior Magpies debut in an 8-2 home win over Everton in 1959. 

In and out of the Magpies side, relegation in 1961 saw him a regular choice in the early part of the season back in Division Two, unfortunately putting through his own goal in a 2-1 home defeat by Liverpool.  

Losing his place, Heslop returned to the top flight when agreeing to sign for Everton, failed to break into the first XI at Goodison and played just ten games in four years.

Moving on to Manchester City in 1965, George won a Second Division Championship medal in his first season at Maine Road.

A key member of the side that captured the First Division title thanks to an epic 4-3 win at SJP in 1968, Heslop also collected League Cup and European Cup Winners Cup medals in a City career that ended in late 1971.

Moving to South African side Capetown City on loan, he returned to England within months, playing for Bury and Macclesfield.

Managing Northwich Victoria for a spell, George then entered the licensed trade with bars in the Manchester area. He later became a social worker and passed away shortly after his retirement, in 2006.


1976 Patrick Stephan Kluivert born, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Playing for his hometown club Ajax from the age of seven, Kluivert scored on his senior team debut in 1994, capping a first season with the winner in the Champions League final against AC Milan.

By 1997 he was a Milan player, but within a year had joined Barcelona and shown good form for the Netherlands in both the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 tournaments - sandwiched by a Spanish league title win.

By 2004 though he was a free agent following his release from Barcelona making his 79th and final international appearance against Shay Given's Republic of Ireland side in a friendly.

Within two months he was a club colleague of Given at United, having sat unused on the bench for the Dutch at Euro 2004. 

Kluivert had been feted when playing and scoring for Barcelona at SJP in a pre-season game back in 2002, also finding the net both home and away against Newcastle in the Champions League that season. 

Chairman Freddy Shepherd later revealed that he'd tried to sign Kluivert at that time and saw him as Shearer's Toon successor.

Lacking fitness, a first competitive outing for Kluivert saw him manage the last three minutes of a 2-2 draw at the smoggies, with his first goal coming in the 4-2 defeat at Villa that ended Sir Bobby Robson's reign.

Scoring both goals in a home win over Israeli side Hapoel Bnei Sakhnin then got him off to a good start with new boss Graeme Souness and he then netted against West Brom in the next game, playing alongside Shearer.

After scoring twice in the return game against Sakhnin (after earlier losing a £4K diamond earring on the pitch in training), Souness tellingly commented:  

"The only doubt about Patrick is his desire. He's a world-class player in anybody's book. If Patrick wants it, Patrick will get it because he's got that much class, athleticism and ability that it can only be his state of mind which will prevent him from becoming the best striker in the world in the next four years."

Those doubts were justified as within six months the striker left SJP, having started just 14 league games. Groin problems saw him miss games and training, but didn't seem to affect his off- field "activities".

Highpoints were goals that beat Chelsea and Spurs in the FA Cup, but those were isolated highs for the mostly non-flying Dutchman, who didn't need to tell Toon fans they "never saw the best of him".  

United passed on their option for a further two seasons of flabby Paddy - a decision greeted with a sigh of relief by most locals, save for those with a commercial interest in the fleshpots of Jesmond.....

After equally underwhelming stints with Valencia and PSV Eindhoven, Paddy then had a mostly non-playing part at Lille before opting to retire in 2008 having failed to find a new club (save for his own Carpe Diem establishment in Barcelona).

Coaching roles then followed at both AZ Alkmaar and FC Twente, sandwiched by a short-term posting at Brisbane Roar.

Appointed by Dutch national team manager Luis van Gaal as a coach, he could be spotted filling the screen during Holland's 2014 World Cup campaign but failed to follow him to Old Trafford as predicted.

Kluivert also took on an UEFA Ambassadorial role for a time, before unexpectedly being named as the Curacao national team coach in March 2015 - attempting to guide the tiny Caribbean island where his mother was born to World Cup qualification.

Paddy was certainly a good club man....if you're talking about the nocturnal variety with bars, rather than the sporting type. As a Newcastle player though, he was one of the biggest let-downs of the modern era.

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What Else?

1975 United midfielder Tommy Gibb departed on a free transfer to Joker Park, where he spent two unhappy years before defecting to Hartlepool United.

1997 In a controversial move, defender Robbie Elliott was sold to Bolton Wanderers for £2.5m by Kenny Dalglish - who had lined up Alessandro Pistone from Inter Milan.

Elliott had been instrumental in United's qualification for the Champions League and was reportedly in tears when told of the club's decision to offload him. 

Four years later, almost to the day, he was to return to SJP from the Reebok Stadium on a free transfer.

2002 A Premier League tribunal found in favour of Newcastle United and ruled out a move to West Ham for Olivier Bernard. 

Credit was due to Magpies Chairman Freddy Shepherd for sticking to his guns and not allowing West Ham or Bernard's agent to engineer an unscrupulous bit of business.

OB had uttered these untimely words before the deal was done and was subsequently forced into a climbdown:

"I was disappointed at my lack of first-team opportunities at Newcastle and that is why I turned down their offer of a new contract.

"Whatever happens, I do not want to play for Newcastle United and would find it very difficult to go back.

"I am really looking forward to playing for the Hammers and I am confident of doing a good job for them."

And the West Ham boss at the time who was forced to deny accusations of
an illegal approach? Glenn Roeder.

2003 Free agent Lee Bowyer put pen to paper on a four-year deal at SJ
P, having passed a medical the previous evening.

2004 Transfer whispers for once proved correct, as midfield duo Nicky Butt and James Milner were linked with moves to Tyneside from Manchester United and Leeds United respectively. 

2005 Having only managed to add Scott Parker to his squad in the close season, Toon boss Graeme Souness confirmed that an approach to sign Manchester United's Alan Smith had been unsuccessful.

2006 Norwegians Lillestrom seemed certain to be Newcastle's Third Round opponents in the Intertoto Cup after they took a 4-1 first leg lead over Icelandics IBK Keflavik.

2007 Cameroon international Geremi was on Tyneside once more as speculation increased over a transfer from Chelsea to United.

2008 Day two of Joey Barton's trial for the assault on former Manchester City team mate Ousmane Dabo ended with the Newcastle  midfielder handed a four month custodial sentence, suspended for two years.

Barton was also ordered to carry out 200 hours community service and pay Dabo £3,000 compensation.

2011 Following the expiration of his contract with RC Lens, United officially confirmed the signing of French midfielder Mehdi Abeid, who penned a five-year deal.

2013 Utility player James Perch left United to join Championship side Wigan Athletic in a deal reportedly worth £700K.

The 27 year-old was moving into the final 12 months of his three year contract and failed to cement a permanent place in the starting XI despite some committed displays that led to fans dubbing him "Perchinio."

2014 United confirmed
a third close season arrival, signing Ajax captain Siem De Jong on a six year deal after previously capturing both Jack Colback and Ayoze Perez.

The 25 year-old Dutch international midfielder arrived for an undisclosed fee with 12 months of his deal at the Amsterdam club remaining - just weeks after his younger brother Luuk had exited after his dreadful loan period at the Magpies ended with no goals in 12 games.