|Robbie Elliott Speaks
First appeared in the "Bolton Evening News" on Tues 2.7.01
"I'm getting a better contract, a longer contract and I'm going back to my home club," the Geordie explained as he started his second spell at Newcastle.
"And it's not just any home club - it's a massive club. I don't think anybody can argue with the decision I've made."
Elliott, the tough-tackling 27-year-old who won England Under 21 honours at Newcastle before his £2.5 million transfer to Bolton in July 1997, has returned to St James' Park on a free transfer, signing a lucrative four-year contract after rejecting a two-year offer to stay at the Reebok.
A substitute in the Play-off Final triumph over Preston in May, Sam Allardyce had hoped to have the talented utility man in his squad as Wanderers attempt to establish a foothold in the top flight at the third attempt.
But the manager was resigned to losing him when he learned he had been offered a four-year deal, although he did not know at the time that it was Newcastle who had lured hime away.
Elliott explained: "The fact that it was Newcastle was not the be all and end all. Other clubs were interested.
"But when they offered me what they did, it brought it home to me what a massive club it is. The attendance at the Play-off Final was around 54,000 - Newcastle get nigh on that for every home game! The whole place is buzzing.
"I feel very privileged. Not many players get a chance to go back to their home clubs and it's a chance I'm going to grab and try to finish my career there.
"And it's an ideal time at my age. I'm going back to be involved and to stake my claim for a place."
Elliott, respected by his team-mates as one of the most talented members of the Reebok squad, made 104 senior appearances in his four-season stint with Wanderers, which began tragically when he broke his leg on his home debut in September 1997.
"It couldn't have been a worse start," he recalls. "I wasn't involved in the relegation fight that season but I got over it and I finished off by winning a final. I played at Wembley twice, which I hadn't done before, and the whole Cardiff experience was fantastic."
Despite his personal excitement at the prospect of returning to Tyneside, Elliott knows one member of the his family will not be happy - his two-year-old son, Ethan.
"Ethan will miss the Reebok, desperately," he revealed. "He comes to the games but not to watch the football, he just loves the fireworks, the flags and he loves Lofty!"
Wanderers' assistant manager, Phil Brown, said Elliott would leave a legacy at the Reebok.
"He's been an intelligent lad to have around and everybody has had the benefit of that, especially some of the young players he's worked with," Brown said.
"He's had an up and down ride in terms of injuries but, whenever he's played, he's given us 100 per cent commitment. I only wish we could have made him more interested in staying but Sam's hands were tied on that."