Never mind Rooney, Newcastle United have their very own Wazza in Toon now

By Lee Ryder on Feb 18, 10 09:44 PM

Wayne Routledge has played just two games as a Newcastle United player at St James' Park and already he seems to have handed his side a different dimension.

We love crowd pleasers at St James' Park, not just iconic number 9s but those who provide us with those moments that get you off your seat and make visiting teams feel uncomfortable.

Sir Bobby Robson summed it up quite well when he used to talk about a fully fit Kieron Dyer during his pomp, when he used to ask him to "sparkle" in around the last third.

We've had wing men such as Keith Gillespie, David Ginola, Laurent Robert and at times Tino Asprilla and a host of players before my time like Jinky Jim Smith, Terry Hibbitt and a host of other players who fit into the bracket of 'crowd pleaser'.

Maybe you can give us your favourites below?

I mean come on, we used to get excited about Franz Carr at one stage.

But while Carr certainly had something to offer out wide, I have to say Routledge's application has been nothing short of magnificent.

His arrival shocked everybody.

Not just the media but Chris Hughton and Routledge himself when a propsed move to Middlesbrough reportedly fell through at the last minute and Newcastle took full advantage of the situation.

All of it has shades of Rob Lee and Kevin Keegan in 1992 when KK talked Lee round by claiming it was easier to get to Newcastle from London than Middlesbrough!!!

Routledge was a man in form last night against Coventry and basically had the Sky Blues on the backfoot every time he went forward.

He also showed he can hit them too with a goal of sheer quality to get United back in the game.

Throw in his involvement in four of the goals in the 5-1 win over Cardiff, and at 25 we may well have a player with his best years in front of him.

If there is more to come from Routledge, the next 15 games could well be interesting for those who love to see a player that can run with the ball and put fear into opponents.


Fergie said:

January 26, 2010 11:01 PM

toongonebad said:

1. new signing is a clutch at straws, CH knows him from his spurs days and has offered him a life line...

2. we need a left winger not right!

Stephen McMenzie said:

Solano was the best winger we've seen, but as for players wowing the crowd with their skill, Beardsley is the one! Really impressed with Routeldge so far and with Jonas coming into form I don't think we'll need to worry about our wingers so much if (WHEN!!!!) we go up.

Fergie said:

January 26, 2010 11:17 PM

Fergie said:


1. You're very pessimistic and sceptical.

2. What team have you been watching this season??? Guthrie has been good, but is not a winger. Wondergoal against Watford aside, Pancrate has been pants. Routledge ripped us apart earlier in the season, playing on the right wing, a position we were badly lacking in. As for on the left wing, Jonas has finally started to deliver this season and this year in particular, so definitely no need to replace him at the moment!

I personally believe that with a good right winger now in place, we don't need another striker as with crosses from both sides, our current strikers will get what suits them best, rather than balls over the top or through the middle.

Fergie said:

For me, Robert was the outstanding player in terms of getting the fans on their feet. The Spurs game where he scored two goal-of-the-season contenders is proof of that. Obviously, he flattered to deceive more often than not, but when he was on form his left foot was magical. Ever since he left, I've never had the same positive feeling when we get free kicks near (or far) from the box. When he stood over the ball it almost felt like a penalty for me. Olympiakos, Southampton, Man U, Sochaux etc. He had some stunning free kicks, not to mention his l'ail de pigeon (pigeon's wing) backheel overhead flick against Fulham. Also, not a main point, but I remember him taking a throw-in in Europe near the corner flag off an opposing defenders back for a corner. Genius.

steve burns said:

Ok, he had a good game against a poor coventry side, but he was woefull against swansea, so is he suddenly a world beater? i think not, he has a long way to go before he can be classed in the same bracket as beardo, Ginola, etc.

Neil Hodgson said:

Best crowd pleaser...Tony Green the best I've ever seen in a Newcastle shirt ( Gazza & Beardo rolled into one).
Jinky Jim on his day had a style and swagger all of his own and used to nutmeg players just for fun sometimes going back around to do it again...just because he could! I can remember Billy Bremner going nuts cos Smithy was taking the P out of him....happy days!!!

Jack said:


I remember the Bremner incident all too well! Jinky was on another planet to the rest of the team. I was lucky enough to sometimes get a seat high in row S of the old stand and you could see his brain at work as he sprayed the ball around on a sixpence to places other players should have anticipated. He often garnered applause from one part of the ground to the bafflement of others, simply because they could see from their angle what he was trying to do....

He was the single best passer of the ball I have ever seen, or am ever likely to, and who can forget his substitute performance against Arsenal? We were 1-0 down, Jinky came on and turned the game (including smashing a screamer past an utterly stranded Bob Wilson).

Tony Green, was magic, but alas (like Smithy) injuries cut short his career. He was the most complete footballer NUFC have EVER had on he books. Two footed (he could shoot form 30 yards with either peg) and so quick on the ball. Where Jinky was slow and languid, using his brain to bamboozle the opposition, Greeny was like quicksilver.

I feel privileged to have witnessed these two Scottish wizards.

kenno said:

wor jackie played a lot on the wing bobby mitchell was a wizard on the left and a great favourite shack wasn't a bad player either great footballers but unfortunately a past era .got to get behind the lads we've got

Ginola said:

I think i was the best winger by miles!!!

LN2MAG said:

I can't believe nobody has mentioned Chris Waddle the original prince of skill. OK his best years were not with NUFC but that was only because he was too skillful for Big Jack and wouldn't lump the ball forward. Definately a player who got better with age as well. I remeber his comment after he scored form just ofver the half way line in a cup game, was if for Sheff Wed? and he said the goal was too far to away to run to so he would just score from where he was!!I I was also lucky tow watch both Jinky Jim Smith and Tony Green as a kid, both fabulous players.

bob harvey said:

Bobby Mitchell was the best winger, but agree with Neil and Jack about Tony Green; pity he didn't play a few seasons!

Geogaddi said:

Although I've heard alot about Tony Green et al, I was never lucky enough to see those guys play.

First memory I have of going to SJP was watching a very young Chris Waddle just before Keegan joined. Even then you could tell he was different class. By the time Keegan and then Beardsley joined - wow. Something else. I remember his power, but also his ability to leave full-backs looking like they'd forgotten which end they were defending. His first half hat-trick away at QPR, the 19 goals he scored as a winger in the 83/84 promotion season, and then of course his wonder goal against Spurs which ironically probably got him signed by Spurs for a song at one of the old Pre-Bosman Transfer Tribunals.

Beardsley's second spell was fantastic, but those who missed him first time should go and scour You Tube for some old gems. Gasp as he chipped the giant that was Jo Corrigan from the edge of the penalty area, watch him dismantle the Mackems on THAT New Years day performance. Another hat-trick against Man City, including a Kanu-esque dribble and shot along the goal line which left defenders trailing in his wake. Just magic.

Then, of course, there was Gazza. What can I say about him? For two seasons - his last at Newcastle and his first at Spurs he WAS the best player on the planet, and no, you can't argue with me. His halfway line free-kick into the top corner against Swindon which made his one against Arsenal for Spurs look like a tap-in. The goal he scored in his first season (don't recall who against) where he was clean through, and feigned to shout, feigned again, and again - keeper left on the ground now - and he just lifts the ball over the poor keepers body from about 4 yards out like he was playing in the park. Anyone who could make Paul Goddard and Mirandinha look decent had to be fantastic.

And the common denominator? All three were raised in the North East and given their chance at Newcastle, and all three were World Class. I wonder when the next one will arrive?

DormAnt said:

Len White - The best uncapped player England never had!

Yarmouthtoon said:

Scott Sellars could land a cross on the end of a pin, and was the answer to Englands left sided problems if only someone had noticed!

Chris Gray said:

The greatest crowd-pleaser of them all? Macdonald. True, he was a tad one dimensional but as Colin Waldron would say, you knew what he was going to do, but you still couldn't stop him. (Colin W, by the way, was the Burnley defender Macdonald carried on his back for about 10 yards before scoring at Hillsborough in 1974). Is there anyone out there who saw his goal against Leicester in 75? The best ever, as far as I'm concerned. My Uncle Bill used to tell me he'd once seen Jackie Milburn break the crossbar at the Gallowgate end from 30 yards with a soaking wet caser. Rubbish, of course. But I can tell you that when Macdonald's thunderbolt hit the back of the net at the Leazed End all those years ago, the whole goal frame was lifted out of its sockets. Honest.

Ozmag said:

Tony Green was absolutely magic, my favourite Newcastle player of all time but very closely followed by Pedro.

Green was incredibly fast over 5 or 10 metres with great control and could use both feet equally.

Those two in our team would be all we need to be OK in the EL next year


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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