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Remember the days when choosing QPR over Newcastle was no contest?

By Lee Ryder on Jan 16, 13 03:26 PM


In the aftermath of Loic Remy's decision to snub Newcastle United in favour of Queens Park Rangers it made me wonder just what direction the game is heading when it comes to player ambition and certainly passion.

Once upon the Tyne, a certain fella called Les Ferdinand opted to make the switch from Loftus Road to St James' Park to pull on the famous number 9 jersey.

Yes, he was well paid for it, but the fact that Sir Les was far from happy when Kevin Keegan told him he was taking the shirt away from him spoke volumes for his passion for the black and whites.

Take your mind back to 1996 when Ferdinand was getting ready to head to the Far East for Newcastle's pre-season tour just before United paid Blackburn £15million for Alan Shearer.

Part of the deal was that Shearer got to wear the number 9 shirt and take the penalties for the Magpies.

Talking to Les one day during an interview he said: "I was in the duty free area at the airport and Kevin came over and wanted a word.

"He told me that nobody else knew but we were signing Alan Shearer.

"And he said he had to take the number 9 shirt off me.

"I was gutted obviously.

"Wearing the number 9 shirt meant so much to me."

Later Ferdinand headed the boarding gate and noticed that Peter Beardsley and Lee Clark were looking glum.

As it turned out, Clark had been told he was losing his number 10 shirt and had been handed 20 instead and Beardo has been told Shearer was on penalty duty.

Ferdinand joked: "I said to myself, I thought KK hadn't told anybody else about Shearer!"

Remy wouldn't have been handed the number 9 shirt at Newcastle anyway - and perhaps that's a good thing.

Of course to some observers this may well sound like sour grapes but compare Ferdinand's desire to be a hero on Tyneside to Loic Remy and there is simply no contest.

Money is important in any profession, but seeing a few more players in the game who want to add medals and trophies to their CV rather than boost their bank balance would certainly make a refreshing change.

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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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