Book Review – Black and Whites Stripes: The Greatest Collection of Newcastle United Matchworn shirts by Gavin Haigh

About the Author:

Gavin Haigh’s life as a passionate Newcastle United FC (NUFC) shirt collector began as a seven-year-old in June 1976 with a trip with his mother to Stan Seymour’s sports shop in the centre of Newcastle. He attended his first match in October 1976, standing on the Gallowgate, became a Milburn Stand season-ticket holder in 1992 and continues to attend every home match, his love and commitment to the club never wavering. Gavin’s knowledge of the history of the club and their shirts is second to none, his NUFC shirt collection currently standing at close to 1,000, of which 275 are matchworn shirts.


Back in October 2021 Conker Editions released 101 Manchester City Matchworn Shirts: The Players – The Matches – The Stories Behind the Shirts by Mark McCarthy. Now ten months on another book in the same vein has been released featuring this time the collection of Newcastle United shirts owned by Gavin Haigh.

As with most Conker Editions offerings this is A5 in size and like the Manchester City shirt book, with double-page colour spreads afforded to each of the matchworn jerseys. This allows a page dedicated to the image of the shirt, with the other offering a brief description and other images. This detail varies and can include information about the season, match or the individual who wore the shirt as well as some facts about the shirt manufacturer and in some cases, the technical claims made about the garment – an example being, ‘this is the ultimate ergonomic fit to maximise and individual’s performance in competition and ensure sportswear doesn’t hinder their output.’ Well, what can you say to that!

For this reader there were a couple of details that stuck in the mind whilst reading this book. Firstly, it was a surprise to see that Admiral provided shirts for Newcastle in the early 1970s prior to their legendary logo being present on many kits. Secondly, about ASICS the company who first made the Magpies shirts in 1993/94. The Japanese company was founded in 1949 and started out manufacturing basketball shoes. What this reader didn’t know was that the company name is an acronym coming from the Latin proverb, ‘anima sana in corpore sano’ translated as ‘pray for a sound mind in a sound body’.

Within the 208 pages, Haigh whittles down his 275 matchworn shirts to 101 for the book and the jerseys range from a silky materialled top which was used for floodlit matches between 1957 to 1959 to that from the 2021/22 Premier League season worn by Ryan Fraser. As you would expect there are shirts worn by many of the legends that have played in the famous black and white stripes, such as Bob Moncur, Gazza, Andy Cole, Peter Beardsley, Pavel Srnicek, Les Ferdinand, Shay Given, Gary Speed and of course Alan Shearer.

As with the Manchester City book, the selection is dominated by shirts from the 1980s onwards, reflecting both the modern trend for new shirts being released year on year and the revolving door of sponsors that now adorn the front of shirts.

No doubt fans from St. James’ Park will pore over each and every shirt, each providing memories of their own, for neutrals (and perhaps indeed for collectors themselves) the interest lies in those rare and quirky shirts which have a story to tell. As a result amongst the pages of the book there is an unused and unnumbered spare long-sleeved shirts from the 1976 League Cup Final, an unused Aertex shirt from the Club’s 1983 Asian tour, various special shirts from testimonial games and a reminder of the recent global pandemic with a 2019/20 shirt which has the NHS logo on the sleeve and also the players name replaced with ‘Black Lives Matter.’

Not to be forgotten, goalkeepers are represented within the book, with shirts that range from a classic plain green jersey from 1980-1982 worn by the likes of Steve Hardwick and Kevin Carr, a 1989/90 blue striped affair worn by the much-travelled custodian, John Burridge, a technicolour ‘broken glass’ ASICS classic worn by Pavel ‘is a Geordie’ Srnicek, all the way through to the luminous colours favoured by modern day No:1’s such as Martin Dubravka.

This is a another great addition to the growing list of titles about football kits and shirts in particular, which is undoubtedly aimed at Magpies supporters, but will appeal to anyone interested in shirts and their continually evolving history.

(Publisher: Conker Editions Ltd. August 2022. Paperback: 208 pages)


Buy the book here: Black and White Stripes

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BLACK AND WHITE STRIPES is a stunning showcase of the world’s greatest collection of matchworn Newcastle United shirts. It tells the story of one man’s lifelong labour of love as a Magpies supporter and collector – and also works brilliantly, both visually and emotionally, as an informal fans’ history of the club spanning the late 1950s to date.

Every Newcastle United fan will be transported back in time by the historic matchworn shirts featured, each of which recalls a season, a past hero, big-match thrills and heartaches. Through the power of the shirts they wore, BLACK AND WHITE STRIPES puts you in touch with memories of Peter Beardsley and Alan Shearer, Gary Speed and Jonjo Shelvey.

Here is the shirt worn by hat-trick hero David Kelly in the 7-1 thrashing of Leicester in 1993, when the lads were presented with the First Division trophy. The Aertex number nine jersey prepared for the Japan Cup in 1983, but never used. Paul Gascoigne’s well-worn away shirt from the 1987/88 season. And many more…

Foreword by Newcastle United legend David Kelly.

 (Publisher: Conker Editions Ltd. August 2022. Paperback: 208 pages)


Read our review here: Black and White Stripes

Book Review: The Uncomfortable Truth About Racism by John Barnes

Growing up in the nineties and coming to football in the new millennium, I had the impression – naively – that racism in the beautiful game was a thing of the past, that it was consigned to an era of hooligans and hostility and would nary tarnish the sport again. How wrong, how ignorant, I was. Two decades into that new millennium and football – and society – is still marred by disgusting instances of racism. Who can forget the way three of England’s heroes of summer 2021 were racially vilified after defeat to Italy on penalties in the Euros? When the vitriol spewed out, for many it was shocking; but, sadly, for many others, there was also a degree of inevitability. The real questions over age, experience and game time which should have been central to the analysis of that penalty defeat, as well as a celebration of England’s best tournament since 1966 which should have rounded off the Euros, were lost to racist abuse and discrimination that proved just how endemic racism is in society and, consequently, football. It has never gone away, as John Barnes points out in his book The Uncomfortable Truth About Racism as he spotlights these uncomfortable truths and debunks myths about progress and equality.

Books by footballers tend to be in a certain vein: autobiographies discussing their life in and around the game. Whilst some books in recent times have begun to tackle more difficult subjects and footballers have also begun to speak out more on social and welfare issues, Barnes’ book represents a significant departure. He may be a former footballer – and one of the best of all time for England and Liverpool – and this book may touch on football, but this is a book of social and political commentary by a man who has experienced and understands racism first-hand. It is hard-hitting, frank and, as the title suggests, uncomfortable, as Barnes really gets to grips with and tackles one of the biggest social problems in history. Anyone expecting a football-focused commentary or reflection specifically on racism in football will find something rather different as Barnes offers a much more nuanced perspective, looking at football not as the problem but rather probing instead the environment and society that shapes those that go on to racially abuse others, be it in football stadiums, in the supermarket or any other place or space. Indeed, Barnes scrutinises the social and political roots that have fixed discrimination firmly into society, making racism both endemic and ingrained and superficial efforts to challenge it largely fruitless.

Barnes offers a thoroughly thought-provoking and engaging perspective and readers will certainly be made to question, challenge and confront their own beliefs and opinions. Even when there may be stances the reader takes issue with, Barnes, to borrow his own phrase, does not shy away from ‘putting his head above the parapet’. Nor does he avoid taking the counterargument in some existing debates. He confronts the issue of racism head on and in doing so seeks to ‘open up the discussion’. And there are without doubt some really interesting, thoughtful and challenging points throughout that force the reader to engage. Indeed, I found myself thinking a lot about the idea of social conditioning and unconscious bias and querying the role of the individual, in as much as whilst society may shape and condition a person, there comes a point when each person knows right from and wrong and has the power to shape themselves. There are no quick and simple answers to the questions posed in this book or, indeed, the challenge of racism, but what the book does is continue the discussion and engage others.

Interestingly, at one point in the book, Barnes writes, ‘there are three types of people: people who are racists and know it, people who are racist but don’t know or think they are… and people who aren’t racist at all… The people who belong to the first group don’t care and won’t suddenly have an epiphany to stop being racist… the people in the second group don’t actually think they’re racist so they feel it doesn’t apply to them… Finally the people in the third group don’t need to change as they have no racial bias to start with… so overall nothing changes.’ It’s a somewhat depressing thought that those people who would most benefit from this book are those who are the least likely to be changed by it; but there is no question that people who do read it will benefit from doing so. Will this book end racism? No. That goes beyond the capability of any single book, any single person or any single reform. But can it play a part in changing the perceptions of society? Absolutely. Racism has no place in society and no place in our beautiful game and hopefully one day the colour of a player’s shirt will be the only colour that matters.

(Publisher: Headline. October 2021. Hardcover: 320 pages)


Jade Craddock


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2021/22 Premier League books (Part 2) – Reds to Canaries by Jade Craddock

With the new Premier League season just around the corner and a host of familiar and new players gracing the league, there’s plenty of stories to be written, metaphorically and literally. Here, we take a look at each club and pick an already published autobiography from a player of the Premier League era that’s worth a read and one from the current crop that would appeal.


Past: As one of the most successful teams in English football, the Premier League eluded Liverpool for almost three decades, but after near-misses in 2002, 2009, 2014 and 2019, they finally put their PL duck behind them, scooping the top trophy in 2020. For a club that has had FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League success in that time, the Premier League was a long time coming, but the 2019/20 team guaranteed their place in the Reds’ long history. When it comes to past players, the Premier League roster reads like a who’s who of the best footballers in the world, so it comes as no surprise that a fair few autobiographies have followed. In fact, Liverpool are amongst the best represented when it comes to former players. Indeed, you can make a veritable XI of Liverpool Premier League autobiographies: Dudek – A Big Pole in Our Goal (which just edges out Pepe Reina’s Pepe purely on its title); Jamie Carragher – My Autobiography/The Greatest Games; Neil Ruddock – Hell Razor/The World According to Razor; Sami Hyppia – From Voikkaa to the Premiership; John Arne Riise – Running Man; Jamie Redknapp – Me, Family and the Making of A Footballer; Steven Gerrard – My Story; Gary MacAllister – Captain’s Log; Fernando Torres – El Nino; Robbie Fowler – My Life in Football; and Luis Suarez – Crossing The Line. That list excludes books by Xabi Alonso and Dirk Kuyt which are yet to be translated into English, as well as books by Bruce Grobebelaar, Jason McAteer and Michael Owen. Whilst John Barnes published his autobiography in 1999, my pick is his forthcoming book The Uncomfortable Truth About Racism.

Present: Liverpool can already count two published authors amongst their ranks in James Milner, who published Ask A Footballer in 2019, and Andy Robertson, who published Now You’re Gonna Believe Us in 2020. And with some of the league’s biggest hitters in their squad, it’s likely that the writing bug will catch on. But where to start? In goal, with Alisson, who has already won the Copa America and Best FIFA Goalkeeper Awards on top of the Premier League, Champions League and Club World Cup at Liverpool? Or at the back with 2019 PFA Players’ Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk? Or maybe in midfield with the captain who guided Liverpool to their first Premier League title, Jordan Henderson? What about up front with twice Premier League Golden Boot winner Mo Salah? Or how about Mane? Or Firmino? Or Trent Alexander-Arnold? It’s something of a publisher’s dream surely. But if I had to pick one, I’d go with Mo Salah, for his journey from Egypt, via Switzerland to relative disappointment at Chelsea before a move to Roma and a return to England that saw him become one of the world’s greatest players. And the title? Well, it has to be The Egyptian King, doesn’t it? Or maybe The Pharaoh, either will do.

Manchester City

Past: If we’d been compiling this list at the start of the Premier League era, pre-Millennium, Manchester City’s story, and its players, would have looked very different indeed. Those first years of the top flight actually saw City slide all the way down to Division Two before yo-yoing back between Division One and the Premier League. It was only in 2002 that Manchester City returned to the big time, but with modest returns for a decade, until the breakthrough came in 2012 with the first Premier League title. Since then, it’s been a very different story, with Manchester City winning four of the next nine campaigns, with a lowest finish of fourth in 2016, and central to that rejuvenation has been a host of big-name incomings. Not least Sergio Aguero, who spent a decade at City and struck that famous title-winning goal, before departing in the summer and whose autobiography was published in 2014. Who could forget David Silva either – another player to give the Manchester side a decade of incredible service – for whom a tribute book was published last year. But the beating heart of the team for over a decade? None other than their captain, Vincent Kompany, a relative unknown when he arrived from Anderlecht in 2008, but who left the north-west a true City legend. So he’s the pick for City, with his 2019 book, Treble Triumph.

Present: A case can be made for virtually every Man City player when it comes to an autobiography. Phil Foden may only be 21, but he has already won the U17 World Cup, been a European Championship and Champions League runner-up, won an FA Cup, two Community Shields, three Premier Leagues and four League Cups! Most players would love to win half of that by the end of their careers! At the other end of the spectrum is Kyle Walker, who, ten years Foden’s senior, has played in League One, won the Championship, finished fourth at a World Cup and has experienced both the lows and highs of football. Last year’s Premier League Player of the Season Ruben Dias has had only that one season in England but has already made his mark, whilst the winner of Premier League Player of the Season for 2019/20 was another man from the blue half of Manchester – Kevin de Bruyne, whose story surely will be penned in the not-too-distant future. Another City icon, Fernandinho’s journey takes him from Brazil via Ukraine to England and now 36 he’ll surely be relishing his ninth season in the Premier League and seeking that elusive Champions League. But one player who has rewritten the script in more ways than one and whose story he has taken ownership of is Raheem Sterling. Named Golden Boy in 2014, Sterling’s journey has not been without difficulty, but his 2021 MBE attests to the challenges he’s not only overcome but faced head on. Still only 26, he has plenty of time to accomplish even more, but he’s already got a notable story to tell.

Manchester United

Past: Manchester United are the runaway leaders when it comes to the most Premier League titles, with thirteen. Yet despite their early domination in the nineties, their most recent trophy came nine seasons ago in 2013 – in, not at all coincidentally, Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season at Old Trafford. In recent times, the Red Devils have struggled to really put up a notable challenge for the title, though signs of recovery have been shown in the last couple of seasons under former United marksman Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. Given the size and stature of United, it’s no surprise that there are a host of autobiographies to choose from, so, as with fierce rivals Liverpool, here’s an eleven-a-side of reads. Peter Schmeichel – One (forthcoming in September); Gary Neville – Red; Jaap Stam – Head to Head; Rio Ferdinand – Thinking Out Loud (two previous autobiographies have also been published but this one reflects on the important subjects of grief and loss in Ferdinand’s life); Patrice Evra – I Love This Game (forthcoming in September); Michael Carrick – Between the Lines; Roy Keane – The Autobiography/The Second Half (surely an Extra Time is due shortly); Eric Cantona – My Notebook; Paul Scholes – My Story; Andy Cole – Fast Forward; and Dwight Yorke – The Autobiography. Notable absences are of course David Beckham, who has some five books to his name and Wayne Rooney who has his own trilogy. However, when it comes to picking one icon of Manchester United’s past it surely has to be the club’s most successful manager, Sir Alex, whose books include A Year in the Life, Managing my Life, My Autobiography and Leading.

Present: With the arrivals of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, Manchester United have added two huge talents to their roster and two who would arguably be perfect subjects for autobiographies – Sancho, still only 21, has made his mark in the Bundesliga and was named Golder Player at the U17 European Championships, whilst Varane has won nearly all there is to win in Europe as well as a World Cup for France. In terms of more familiar United faces, they don’t come much more familiar than David de Gea who has been at the club ten years and was part of the Red Devils’ last successful Premier League triumph in 2013. Marcus Rashford has been at the club boy and man and whilst he has already published a hugely inspiring book aimed at younger readers (You Are A Champion), his is surely a story that needs to be told. Harry Maguire’s impressive Euro 2020 showing was a reminder of how he became the most expensive Premier League defender, whilst Jesse Lingard’s performances on loan at West Ham last season recalled the flair and skill of the Academy product – both of whom would make for great reads. Edinson Cavani’s journey from Uruguay to Italy, France and finally to England, racking up the Coppa Italia, Ligue 1 and Copa America along the way would be worth a tome, but in keeping with the theme of Manchester United’s mercurial French mavericks, Paul Pogba gets the vote.

Newcastle United

Past: Starting the Premier League era in Division 1, Newcastle were the first side to get promoted, finishing first in 1992/1993, and joining the top flight, where they stayed for some sixteen seasons. Relegation in 2009 was followed by immediate promotion in 2010 and a similar pattern ensued in 2016 when the Magpies found themselves once more in the Championship before bouncing back at the first time of asking. In their four seasons back, Newcastle have enjoyed some degree of stability but nothing quite as high-flying as their back-to-back second-placed finishes in 1996 and 1997. When it comes to former players, one name sticks out, certainly in the Premier League era – Alan Shearer, and, unsurprisingly, there’s a couple of books, with Dave Harrison, that cover the number 9’s prolific career as the League’s all-time top goalscorer, as well as the more recent My Illustrated Career. Newcastle’s other famous son, Paul Gascoigne, also has a number of books to choose from, charting successes and struggles on and off the pitch. Cult figures David Ginola and Nolberto Solano also published autobiographies, the former titled Le Magnifique and the latter Blowing My Own Trumpet, while Shay Given, who spent 12 years on Tyneside, brought out his autobiography, Any Given Sunday, in 2017. But whilst Shearer may be the player that defines Newcastle United’s Premier League history, and his statue stands in pride of place outside St James’ Park, it is joined by the manager who defined this period in the club’s recent past – Sir Bobby Robson. A couple of recent biographies by Bob Harris (Bobby Robson: The Ultimate Patriot) and Harry De Cosemo (Black & White Knight) offer new reflections on the man, but for the definitive autobiography, look no further than Farewell but Not Goodbye.

Present: The icons of Newcastle’s past make for a very hard act to follow and a number of exciting players, like Allan St Maximin and Callum Wilson, are still only in the infancy of their Tyneside journeys, whilst both Ryan Fraser and Matt Richie have had expansive careers. While Joelinton made the move to Newcastle via Germany and Austria from Brazil, Miguel Almiron came via Argentina and the MLS from his native Paraguay and remains only one of eight Paraguayan players to feature in the Premier League across its history. Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey both stand out, though, when it comes to the final pick. Captain Lascelles started out at Nottingham Forest before making the move to Newcastle in 2014 and has been instrumental in the last six seasons, including the Magpies’ most recent promotion from the Championship. Jonjo Shelvey, however, has a bit more of a varied journey, spending time in his youth at Arsenal, West Ham and Charlton, before breaking through at the latter. A move to Liverpool followed, but three years after his arrival he departed for Swansea City before finally settling on Tyneside in 2016. Shelvey has made over 170 appearances for the Magpies.

Norwich City

Past: No one could accuse Norwich City of not having had an eventful past, not least in the last two decades of the Premier League era, in which they’ve been relegated from the top-flight four times, relegated from the Championship once and experienced no less than six promotions. Canaries fans will surely be hoping for a smoother ride this time out back in the Premier League, following their immediate promotion last season. Fans looking for a Norwich autobiography are not overwhelmed with choice, it has to be said, but there are a few knocking around out there, including top striker in 2003/04 Darren Huckerby and former goalkeeper Bryan Gunn, whilst Iwan Roberts’ All I Want For Christmas offers an insider look at Norwich’s promotion-winning 2003/04 season, taking the campaign month by month. However, pick of the bunch goes to Grant Holt, with his autobiography A Real Football Life. Club top scorer in League One in 2009/10, the Championship in 2010/2011 and three consecutive seasons in the Premier League from 2011 to 2014, although, surely, he’s remembered just as fondly in wider circles for his foray into wrestling in 2018.

Present: As Daniel Farke prepares his team for another go at the Premier League, he’s assembled a squad with a mixture of youth and experience. Exciting youngsters like Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons and loanee Billy Gilmour are all ones for the future but are surrounded by some incredible support in older heads. Grant Hanley started his youth career with Queen of the South before joining The Railwaymen of Crewe Alexandra, returning north of the border to Rangers and finally breaking through at Blackburn Rovers. His travels have since taken him to Newcastle before a move to the Canaries in 2017. In addition, he’s earned over 30 caps for Scotland and was part of their historic return to the Euros this summer. Teemu Pukki’s journey is even more distinct, starting out in his native Finland, before moving to Sevilla in Spain, HJK in Finland, Schalke in Germany, Celtic, Brondby in Denmark and finally Norwich, where he didn’t take long to make his mark, being named player of the season in the Championship in his first year in England and winning the EFL Championship Golden Boot. He has twice been Finnish Footballer of the year and once Finnish Sports Personality of the Year and in his first campaign in the Premier League won Player of the Month in August 2019. Two years Pukki’s senior, Tim Krul has had a similarly eclectic career, starting out at ADO Den Haag in the Netherlands before making his way to Newcastle, where loans at clubs from Falkirk to Ajax, Carlisle to AZ Alkmaar followed. On the world stage too, despite fairly limited caps, Krul was part of the team that finished third at the 2014 World Cup, where his contribution was notable in his being the first keeper sent on as substitute specifically for a penalty shootout at the World Cup – and what’s more, he delivered, saving two of Costa Rica’s five penalties to see his side advance.

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Book Review – Fast Forward: The Autobiography: The Hard Road to Football Success by Andrew Cole

When it comes to football, there are some players who remain, either through sporting posterity or perhaps through wilful self-promotion, front and centre in fans’ consciousness and other who fade, rightly or wrongly, into the background. For many Manchester United fans, I imagine Andrew Cole is forever etched in their memories, part of the historic 1999 treble-winning squad, but for all of that success, for neutral fans he is probably not as well-remembered as other players of that generation, team-mates like Scholes, Giggs and Keane, and even his strike partner Dwight Yorke. Yet, he remains the third-highest goalscorer, behind only Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney, in Premier League history, with 187 goals, as well as being joint-top goalscorer with 34 goals in a 42-game Premier League season, and the first player to top both the Premier League goalscoring and assists charts in the same season. Add to this, a clean sweep of trophies, including five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, two Charity Shields, a League Cup and, of course, that iconic Champions League, as well as PFA Young Player of the year.

Whilst Andrew Cole’s records therefore clearly place him amongst the Premier League’s elites and deserve acclaim, he is not one for the fame and spotlight. A more introspective and private footballer, not one of the game’s flamboyant characters or over-the-top personalities, he explains in his autobiography how this was often interpreted as aloofness and arrogance, and this perhaps has contributed to him not always being centre-stage in discussions of the Premier League and footballing past. He is simply just not your flashy showman, hogging the limelight, not the open book of some of his peers, so it is fascinating to literally now open that book and get to know more about this often misunderstood and more private of men in his autobiography, Fast Forward.

In true autobiography fashion, the book takes the reader on a chronological journey of Cole’s life, giving an eye-opening portrait of a self-proclaimed naughty, difficult child. There is a real sense of the development of his character and personality in his younger years, flaws and all. And it is clear that while Cole was rebellious, stubborn, defiant, he was also determined, ambitious and steadfast – characteristics that would go on to shape his career, both for better and worse. For me, his reflections back on his life as an adolescent teenager at Lilleshall were unsettling and hopefully a far cry from experiences of young footballers today, but they were simply part of the culture and sport in that period.

Though he covers, too, his experiences at Arsenal and Newcastle, it is really with Man United that Cole is synonymous, and it is obvious in his reflections on this period and club in particular that this was the defining point not only in Cole’s career but in the shaping of his footballing education and beliefs. Everything that precedes and follows it is viewed in comparison; for this was the Manchester United under Alex Ferguson at the turn of the millennium that led the way in football on many fronts. His experiences that followed at Blackburn are only made all the more unfavourable given his United schooling, and the seven years that succeeded his six-year spell at the Theatre of Dreams are largely limited to brief summations, often of the difficult experiences and relationships that blighted his later years in football. Several big names – and some of those media-savvy personalities – don’t come out particularly favourably, but perhaps one of the more divisive figures in football, Roy Keane, emerges wholly agreeably – which may not go down well with the man himself, but serves to remind readers that we only see one side of these footballers. With Cole’s frankness about his professional relationships, and his headstrong approach, there is a sense of wondering whether this affected his career, both domestically and internationally, as accounts of his limited England days are also included.

When Cole hung up his boots in 2008, the fact that he is not one of those players who courted the media would have seemed to allow him to retire in relative peace, but his biggest challenge of his life then faced him off the pitch as he suffered kidney failure, leading to a transplant in 2017. Oftentimes, footballers can come to be seen as invincible, but Cole’s horrific health struggles, which he details frankly, are a reminder that footballers are human and vulnerable too.

As someone happy to step away from the spotlight after football, Andrew Cole in many ways has become something of the forgotten man of English football when his record should arguably guarantee his legacy, but his autobiography throws up a really interesting question about how personality and attitude are judged alongside ability. For me, what I remember of Cole is his goalscoring instinct, and his uncanny partnership with Dwight Yorke – in many ways, they were the archetypal strike partnership – but what this book makes clear is that football, and particularly legacy, is not only about what happens on the pitch, it is also, perhaps now more so than ever, shaped by the narratives and personalities that are constructed beyond it. Cole may not be the most gregarious or colourful of characters, he is more nuanced and complex, more human perhaps. He suffers and struggles like all of us, and his health battles make that all the more emphatic. But whatever his character, his personality, judged on the pitch, on his records, his trophies, Andrew Cole deserves his place alongside Shearer, Rooney et al, and that’s something that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Jade Craddock


(Hodder & Stoughton. November 2020. Hardback 336 pages)


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1992/93 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final

Wednesday 12 May 1993

Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, England.

Attendance: 37,393


[Parma scorers: Minotti  9′, Melli  30′, Cuoghi  84′]

[Royal Antwerp: Severeyns  11′]

Parma: Marco Ballotta, Georges Grün, Lorenzo Minotti (c), Luigi Apolloni, Antonio Benarrivo, Alberto Di Chiara, Marco Osio (Fausto Pizzi 75’), Daniele Zoratto (Gabriele Pin 26’), Stefano Cuoghi, Tomas Brolin, Alessandro Melli.

Unused Substitutes: Marco Ferrari (GK), Salvatore Matrecano, Faustino Asprilla.

Royal Antwerp: Stevan Stojanovic, Rudi Taeymans, Nico Broeckaert, Rudi Smidts (c), Wim Kiekens, Didier Segers (Noureddine Moukrim 82’), Ronny Van Rethy, Dragan Jakovljevic (Patrick Van Veirdeghem 51’), Hans-Peter Lehnhoff, Francis Severeyns, Alexandre Czerniatynski. 

Unused Substitutes: Wim De Coninck (GK), Geert Emmerechts, Garry De Graef.

Referee: Karl-Josef Assenmacher (Germany)


This was the 33rd Final of the Cup Winners Cup and the first at Wembley since West Ham United played in the 1964/65 Final against 1860 Munich.

Parma started brightly and went ahead within the opening ten minutes. Alessandro Melli had a diving header brilliantly saved by Antwerp ‘keeper Stevan Stojanovic, however from the resulting corner, Stojanovic flapped at the ball allowing Parma skipper Lorenzo Minotti to acrobatically hook home into the net. The lead only lasted two minutes, as the Parma defence was put under pressure with Alexandre Czerniatynski putting through a clever ball to Francis Severeyns who ran onto it and clinically finished past Marco Ballotta. On the half-hour mark, Parma went back in front and again the Antwerp ‘keeper didn’t cover himself in glory. Marco Osio crossed into the box and Stojanovic came out only to be well beaten to the ball by Alessandro Melli, who headed home into an unguarded goal. Melli had the ball in the net once more before the break but was aggrieved to see the flag up for off-side, leaving the Italian side 2-1 up at the break. Parma dominated proceedings in the second-half, but only sealed victory six minutes from time, when a ball over the top found Stefano Cuoghi clear of the Antwerp defence, he took a single touch in the box before curling over the advancing Stojanovic for I Gialloblu (The Yellow and Blues) first European trophy.

The low attendance on the night is said to have contributed to the thinking that the competition had a limited future. Indeed just six years on from that Wembley game, in 1999, the last ever Final in the tournament was played out at Villa Park.

The programme from the last Final in 1999 summarised the game under the following headline:

Parma outgun brave Antwerp

The Wembley final was a glittering occasion but both clubs took a tortuous route to London. Parma AC squeezed past Ujpesti TC 2-1, then drew 0-0 at home to Boavista FC before winning 2-0 in Portugal. After beating Sparta Praha (conquerers of defending champions SV Werder Bremen), they won the away leg of their semi-final against Club Atletico de Madrid 2-1, only to lose 1-0 at home.

Royal Antwerp FC needed a penalty shoot-out to beat the Irisj part-timers of Glenavon FC in the first round. Then, having beaten FC Admira Wacker 4-2 in Austria, they contrived to lose 4-3 at home. IN the quarter-final against Steaua Bucuresti an 82nd minute goal by Alex Czerniatynski let them through on the away-goals rule and, in the semi-finals a controversial penalty allowed them to beat Spartak Moscow 3-2 on aggregate.

Walter Meeuws’ side showed similar resilience in the Wembley final. Parma AC opened the scoring in the 10th minute when goalkeeper Steven Stojanovic misjudges a corner and allowed Parma’s captain, Lorenzo Minotti to hook home the ball. But the Belgians replied within two minutes, Czerniatynski playing a lovely through ball to Francis Severeyns. The Italians began to dominate an end-to-end game and Alessandro Melli headed them 2-1 ahead after half an hour. Antwerp offered sterling resistance in the second half, but the game was put beyond their reach six minutes from time when Stefan Cuoghi curled in the third. Parma had become the eighth Italian team to win a Europen trophy.

Two players from Parma that night will be familiar to fans in England from the 1990s, are Tomas Brolin and Faustino Asprilla. Their pen-pics in the programme for the Final were as follows:

Tomas Brolin: Striker. Age 23 (born November 29, 1969) with 22 caps for Sweden (12 goals). Brolin was the hero of Sweden when he led the European Championship hosts to the semi-finals last summer – scoring a brilliant goal against England along the way. Sweden’s current top player, Brolin began with Leksands IF, then GIF Sundsvall and played for Sweden at youth, under-21, and Olympic level before exploding into the senior national team as a 20-year-old in the spring of 1990. His debut was a World Cup warm-up friendly against Wales and Brolin scored twice in a 4-2 win. The next time out he scored two in the 6-0 thrashing of Finland. Those goals took him from nowhere to the 1990 World Cup in four months. Brolin was outstanding at Italia ’90 and Parma surprised bigger rivals by snapping him up. The £900, 000 deal has proved excellent value; Brolin led Parma to a UEFA place in his first season, to the Italian Cup in his second and now – despite knee injury problems last summer – to the club’s first European club final.

Faustino Asprilla: Attack. Aged 23 (born November 6, 1969) with 12 caps for Columbia. One of the most exciting players to have been seen in any of the three European club competitions this season. Parma took a major gamble when they signed Asprilla from the former South American champions Atletico Nacional of Medellin, last summer. But they have been rewarded with some spectacular performances and equally spectacular goals – including the goal which helped end Milan’s 58-game unbeaten run. Asprilla scored both Parma’s goals in the first-leg victory over Atletico Madrid in the semi-final in Spain. But he missed the return after gashing a leg in a bizarre domestic accident whilst visiting his family back in Columbia on between the ties.

Brolin stayed at Parma until November 1995 and moved to England to play in the Premier League for Leeds United. His stay in Yorkshire was unsuccessful to say the least, with his cause nor helped by an ankle injury which meant he never hit the heights of his time in Italy. Brolin’s two-years at Elland Road saw his go out on short loan spells to FC Zurich in 1996 and his old club Parma in 1997. His last hurrah came with a move to Crystal Palace at the back end of the 1997/98 campaign, but with The Eagles relegated from the Premier League at the end of that season he was released, and Brolin returned to Sweden where he retired from playing.

The Columbian stayed at Parma until February 1996 when he moved into the Premier league with Newcastle United. Asprilla was at times brilliant for The Toon but in equal measures inconsistent on the pitch and never far away from incidents off of it. He returned to Parma in January 1988 collecting another European medal in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup Final win over Marseille in Moscow. Asprilla left in 1999 to then see out his career (effectively retiring in 2004), with a number of clubs in South America, including Palmeiras, Fluminense (both Brazil), Atlante (Mexico), Atletico Nacional (Columbia), Universidad de Chile (Chile), Estudiantes La Plata (Argentina) and Cortuluá (Columbia).

2012/13 Newcastle United (Away Shirt)

Manufacturer: Puma

Sponsor: Virgin Money

Shirt front

This was the four season that Puma had produced The Magpies kit and carried the Virgin Money logo. This logo appeared in January 2012, replacing Northern Rock on the shirts, and lasted only until the end of the 2012/13 season, before the controversial shirt deal with Wonga in 2013/14 began.

In terms of design, the away shirt was burgundy with a shoulder flash in navy, with burgundy shorts and burgundy socks with a single navy band. There was also a third strip which mirrored the away kit with the burgundy replaced with fluorescent lime green.

Shirt back

Pulling on the shirt that season for The Magpies were:

Adam Campbell, Cheick Tioté, Dan Gosling, Danny Simpson, Davide Santon, Demba Ba, Fabricio Coloccini, Gabriel Obertan, Gaël Bigirimana, Haris Vuckic, Hatem Ben Arfa, James Perch, James Tavernier, Jonás Gutiérrez, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haïdara, Mathieu Debuchy, Mehdi Abeid, Mike Williamson, Moussa Sissoko, Nile Ranger, Papiss Cissé, Paul Dummett, Rob Elliot, Romain Amalfitano, Ryan Taylor, Sammy Ameobi, Shane Ferguson, Shola Ameobi, Steve Harper, Steven Taylor, Sylvain Marveaux, Tim Krul, Vurnon Anita, Yoan Gouffran and Yohan Cabaye.

Having finished a very creditable fifth place in 2011/12, which earned Newcastle a spot in the Europa League, 2012/13 proved to be very nearly catastrophic with relegation only avoided by five points, as they ended the season sixteenth.

Alan Pardew’s team opened their league campaign with a 2-1 home win over Spurs, followed by a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Draws followed at St James’ Park, 1-1 with Aston Villa and 2-2 at Everton, with a 1-0 home win over Norwich City and a 2-2 draw at Reading. A second defeat of the season came at home 3-0 to Manchester United, but bounced back with a draw at local rivals Sunderland 1-1, a 2-1 victory over WBA ay home and a creditable 1-1 draw at Anfield, against Liverpool. Ten games played, only two defeats and a comfortable mid-table position.

However, the club then went on an awful run of thirteen games, in which only seven points were picked up out of a possible thirty nine. This barren spell included ten losses including a 7-3 hammering at Arsenal. This left The Magpies in amongst the relegation candidates and battling for survival. Their cause was helped as in their next two games, Newcastle pulled off two straight wins, including a win on the road at Aston 2-1 and at home over Chelsea 3-2. However, they couldn’t put forward a run and as the games ran down, they would win one and follow it with a loss. They were very much still in danger with three games remaining after a 6-0 home defeat to Liverpool, but managed a 0-0 at West Ham, before a 2-1 win with 10-men at QPR guaranteed their Premier League status with a game to go. Their last game of a disappointing campaign saw them slip to a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

There was no great run in the FA Cup (sponsored in this campaign by Budweiser), this season, as Newcastle exited the competition in the Third Round, losing at then Championship side Brighton. The Magpies had a number of injuries going into the tie, and their cause was also not helped in the game when Shola Amoebi was sent off for a second bookable offence. Brighton’s goals came courtesy of Andrea Orlandi after thirty three minutes and three minutes from time through Will Hoskins.

Given that Newcastle were in Europe for this season, they were exempt from entering the League Cup (sponsored by Capital) until the Third Round. They were handed a tough trip away to Manchester United, going down 2-1. United went two-up through Anderson (44’) and Tom Cleverley (58’), but The Magpies got back in the tie after sixty two minutes through Papiss Cissé. However, United held on and progressed to the Fourth Round.

Newcastle save their best cup performances for the Europa League. In the Play-Off Round, they emerged 2-1 aggregate winners over Greek side, Atromitos, with Haris Vuckic getting the solitary goal at St James’ Park in the Second Leg which sent The Magpies through into the Group Stages.

Programme v Bordeaux

Newcastle were placed in Group D, along with French side Bordeaux, Marítimo from Portugal, and the Belgian team Club Brugge. The Magpies opened their European adventure with a 0-0 draw at Marítimo and followed it with a 3-0 home win over Bordeaux (programme right). In matchday three and four, Newcastle played Club Brugge home and away. At St James’ Park, a Gabriel Obertan goal on forty eight minutes secured a 1-0 victory and all three points. In the return in at the Jan Breydel Stadium in Belgium, The Magpies came back from 2-0 to snatch a draw through goals from Vurnon Anita and Shola Ameobi. Newcastle secured progress to the knock-out phase with a 1-1 draw at home to Marítimo. The Magpies travelled to Bordeaux knowing that in order to top the group, they had to beat the French side. However, Les Girondins won 2-0 to take top spot, whilst Newcastle had to settle for finishing second.

Into the Round of 32, The Magpies faced Metalist Kharkiv from the Ukraine, with the First-Leg ending 0-0 at St James’ Park. In the Second Leg at the Metalist Stadium, a Shola Ameobi penalty on sixty four minutes was enough to sent Newcastle through 1-0 on aggregate, with Tim Krul outstanding in goal for The Magpies. Newcastle’s reward was another trip to Eastern Europe in the Round of 16 this time to Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala. The First Leg at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow saw Newcastle emerge with a creditable 0-0 draw. Back at St James’ Park Newcastle left it late, scoring three minutes into time added-on to go through once again 1-0 on aggregate with Papiss Cissé the hero.

The Magpies were one of three English teams in the last eight, with Chelsea and Spurs making up the Premier League trio. Newcastle travelled to the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon to face Benfica, and despite going ahead after twelve minutes through Papiss Cissé, succumbed to a 3-1 defeat. Papiss Cissé put The Magpies ahead with nineteen minutes remaining in the Second-Leg, but as Newcastle went in search of a second that would have taken them through, Benfica scored in stoppage time to end The Magpies European adventure 4-2 on aggregate.

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2013/14 Newcastle United (Home Shirt)

Shirt front

Manufacturer: Puma

Sponsor: Wonga

This was the fifth season that Puma had produced the United kit, and the first that it controversially carried the Wonga logo, with the deal with the loans company continuing until the 2016/17 campaign. Indeed, certain players initially refused to wear the shirt, but were persuaded otherwise before the league campaign got underway.

In terms of design, the famous black and white Newcastle stripes were added to by light blue and gold trim, worn with black shorts and black socks.

Shirt back

Pulling on the shirt that season for The Magpies were:

Adam Armstrong, Adam Campbell, Cheick Tioté, Conor Newton, Curtis Good, Dan Gosling, Davide Santon, Fabricio Coloccini, Gabriel Obertan, Gaël Bigirimana, Haris Vuckic, Hatem Ben Arfa, Jak Alnwick, James Tavernier, Jonás Gutiérrez, Loïc Rémy, Luuk de Jong, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haïdara, Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Williamson, Moussa Sissoko, Papiss Cissé, Paul Dummett, Remie Streete, Rob Elliot, Romain Amalfitano, Ryan Taylor, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi, Steven Taylor, Sylvain Marveaux, Tim Krul, Vurnon Anita, Yoan Gouffran, Yohan Cabaye.

Behind the scenes, the reign of owner Mike Ashley was again subject to protests during the season, as was the appointment of Joe Kinnear as director of football. Kinnear though didn’t last the season as he resigned from the post in February 2014.

This was to be United’s fourth season back in the Premier League since winning promotion and one which saw them finish in tenth position, with 49 points from their 38 league games. Their best run in the league saw them collect four successive wins in November, beating Chelsea 2-0 at home, 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur, and two 2-1 victories over Norwich City and West Bromwich Albion. This pushed Newcastle up to fifth in the table, their highest position during the campaign and saw manager Alan Pardew win Manager of the Month. Any chance of making it into the top-six faltered badly in the New Year as from their last nineteen games they only won five games.

In the League Cup (sponsored that season by Capital One), Newcastle were drawn away to League Two Morecambe, with the Premier League side leaving it very late to secure the win. Shola Ameobi put The Magpies in front with just six minutes remaining, with his brother Sammy getting United’s second, four minutes into added-time. The Third Round brought Leeds United, then in the Championship to St James’ Park, with The Magpies again securing a similar 2-0 score-line as in the previous round. Papiss Cissé gave the home side a 1-0 lead after thirty-one minutes, with Yoan Gouffran sealing the win with a goal on sixty-seven minutes. Into the last 16, United were once again given a home draw, with fellow Premier League opponents, Manchester City the visitors to the north-east. It was a tie that ended 0-0 after ninety minutes, with City progressing to the Fifth Round after two goals in extra-time through, Álvaro Negredo (98’) and Edin Džeko (105’). City went on to win the League Cup against Newcastle’s rivals Sunderland at Wembley with a  3-1 victory.

There was no great run in the FA Cup (sponsored by Budweiser), this season, as Newcastle exited the competition in the Third Round, losing at home to Cardiff City (programme left), who were then in the Premier League. The Magpies looked to have been going into the draw for the Fourth Round draw after Papiss Cissé had put a much changed Newcastle team 1-0 up after sixty-two minutes. However, the visiting Bluebirds had other ideas as Craig Noone levelled on seventy-three minutes, and then struck a winner ten minutes from time through Fraizer Campbell, giving Cardiff passage with a 2-1 come from behind victory.

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Book Review: Jarrod Black – Guilty Party: Another Unashamed Football Novel by Texi Smith

This is the third book from Texi Smith featuring his character, Jarrod Black, following on from Introducing Jarrod Black (book one) and Jarrod Black – Hospital Pass (book two). Guilty Party picks up after the finish of the season which had been concluded at the end of the second book and immediately explodes into life in a fast-paced opening which sets the scene for the third instalment of the Australian international player, continuing to ply his domestic trade in the north-east of England.

Stylistically it is a return to the short sharp chapters of Introducing Jarrod Black, which keeps the reader engaged as the scenes move on in quick-fire fashion, which has overtones of a televisual style. Smith continues to display once again his knowledge of the game and mixes fact and fiction to create an authenticity around how clubs function and the characters within it.

There is a change though in the plotline, as Guilty Party is something of a whodunnit, which Smith skilfully and believably handles, and as in the previous books, there is a Roy of the Rovers feel about this latest adventure, with the feel-good factor retained around the central character. Indeed, as a reader, the authors pride and love of his home city Newcastle and its team, is evident through his portrayal of Black.

As with Hospital Pass, there is a double-meaning in the title of Guilty Party, which will become evident to readers. To say anything more about it, would be to spoil the plot!

Have Texi Smith and Jarrod Black got another winner here? Absolutely. It’s a read that will hook you in and be difficult to put down.


(Popcorn Press. May 2020. Paperback 306pp)



Five-a-side. Quick fire questions with Texi Smith – October 2019

Football Book Reviews (FBR) caught up with the writer of two football novels, Introducing Jarrod Black and Jarrod Black – Hospital Pass to get a bit of background on the author, Texi Smith.

1. FBR: Where does your love of football come from?

Texi Smith (TS): Despite coming from a town where there was no organised sport until under 9s, I was always surrounded by football. We played every night after school with the kids in the street, down the park or with a tennis ball in the street.

2. FBR: What team do you support?

TS: I’m a Newcastle United supporter first and foremost. After twenty years in Australia, I’m also a Sydney FC fan – it is common knowledge that Sydney is Sky Blue. That’s where I get my live football fix.

3. FBR: How did you get into writing?

TS: I was match reporter for the football team at University, then for teams I played in and coached. Additionally, I did a stint as newsletter editor for the local club here in Australia, which gave me an audience, and then made the progression to novels.

4. FBR: In your first novel, ‘Introducing Jarrod Black’, its setting is the North East of England, do you have connections to the area?

TS: Yes, I was born in Ashington (like Newcastle United legend, Jackie Milburn and the Charlton brothers, Bobby and Jack), and lived in Morpeth.

As a result, I followed the Toon around the country. All my immediate family all still live in the area, I left England when I was 18 – a reverse journey to Jarrod Black in the first book.

I get back once every couple of years, craftily timed to be when there’s a game on!

5. FBR: Both of your novels have “An Unashamed Football Novel” in the title. What’s behind that?

I guess it’s a tip of the hat to fellow novel writers who choose to write about what they love.

Also, if someone chooses to read one of these books, I don’t want them to say “…it’s just all about football.” – let’s call it a warning message before the reader makes that choice! Like the warning message on a packet of cigarettes.

For further information on Texi Smith, visit