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Rob Lee
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Texasmag Offline

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Rob Lee

He is definitely on of us. Canny article.


'Sir John Hall was singing in the stand, Kevin Keegan was dancing around and the fans were euphoric' - Rob Lee remembers Newcastle's last promotion

Rob Lee remembers Newcastle last promotion celebrations as one of the most inspiring few weeks of his career.

Clinched in the unglamorous surroundings of Grimsby Town, Kevin Keegan in charge, and a final game against Leicester that had Geordies in heaven - they were 6-0 up at half time.

Then there was the famous giant flag that seemed to cover half a stand at St James' Park, a bus parade through the city, signing at the civic centre and a club with momentum, optimism and joy all around.

That was back in May 1993, and fast forward 17 years and Lee, one of the heroes of the Keegan era was back in Newcastle yesterday digesting the latest upwards turn in this chaotic club's history.

Is the current team good enough to survive? How much cash is needed to bolster Chris Hughton's side next season? Will owner Mike Ashley sell up or commit to a top flight challenge?

All questions Lee reckons need addressing in the coming months if promotion is clinched, as seems likely, this Easter weekend after games at Peterborough and at home on Monday to Sheffield United.

Lee's conclusions? That Newcastle are "back where they belong" a fortune is needed to get them back in the top half. And there SHOULDN'T be a repeat bus parade through the city - because the job is only half done.

He said: "The Newcastle players of today will find promotion is a great feeling. To win for those fans and to be playing well for them... there is no better place to be when you are winning. The noise, the fire of the fans takes you along.

"The last game when we beat Leicester 7-1 was unbelievable. The new stand was going up the club was flying forward. Sir John Hall was singing in the stand, Kevin Keegan was dancing around and the fans were euphoric.

"Hopefully we can get back to where we were a few years ago and make the most of the momentum and get back up to the upper part of the Premier League.

"These are largely the players that went down. Whether it was bad form at the time or that they are not good enough only time will tell."

Lee shares the club's joy at their recovery this season. He puts it down to a "collective spirit" keeping some of their best players despite relegation, and a fine job "moulding it together" by boss Chris Hughton.

"To be getting promoted with four or five games to go is a brilliant achievement. A great season for us." Despite being a Cockney, such is his love for the club, Lee still calls Newcastle "us" and "we."

He added: "I am very pleased that Newcastle are back where they belong. We kept most of our players and the ones we kept got their heads down and got on with the job.

"The objective at the start of the season was to get promoted. With the players they had last season it was disastrous and they should never have gone down with the players they had. But they have knuckled down, no one has sulked, they have all played in a division they don't want to play in and have looked much stronger for it.

"They have been miles better than anyone else. Miles better, and it is a good league.

"I don't think any individual has been outstanding it it a case of the team playing very well. I think Andy Carroll has really come through and played well, but there is no one like Rooney who has individually pulled the players along. It has been a collective effort. Newcastle have got Premier League players still.

"But I certainly think we need new talent. Players you need even to keep you in the division cost a lot of money and a lot of wages. It is whether Mike Ashley and the club are prepared to do that.

" It will go one of two ways. He will think I've got the club back to where they belong and he will get a better offer than he got last summer and sell up. Or he will say hang on, I've got them up, now I want to push the club forward. It depends on how much money he wants to spend.

"To get to where the club was ten years ago will cost an awful lot of money.

"It would help if Mike Ashley made a statement outlining his intentions. I don't think it will happen. There will be speculation all summer. Will he sell it, won't he. Will Chris Hughton stay as manager, won't he? How much will Hughton get? A £5million war chest or £50million?

"I would try and really freshen it up. We need pace. You can't get away without it in the Premier League. You need goal scorers too.

"They will struggle against certain teams. To stay up you need to score. The wingers and midfield have to help out. Nolan has been the main threat this year."

And how should the city celebrate? Lee added: "I personally don't think they should do a parade when they go up. It was different when we went up under Keegan. We had almost got relegated to the third division. We hadn't expected to get promotion. We had walked the league. We were on the crest of a wave with Keegan and Hall.

"What Roy Keane did at Sunderland a couple of years ago is say no, I don't want a parade, we are now back where we want to be, should be, and we build from here. It is the first step.

"Yes, celebrate, it has been a great achievement to get back in. But they should never have been relegated. Just say, it is time to get on with the job of staying in the Premier League."
2nd April 2010 12:25 PM
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Tinosghost Offline

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Post: #2
Rob Lee

great article,
definately one of us.

Always will be.
2nd April 2010 03:51 PM
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The_Flaming_Lip Offline

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Post: #3
Rob Lee

Can't disagree with anything Lee says there. I want to cos I love showing off and being contrary, but on this occasion Rob shows a degree of understanding about the club sadly lacking in certain quarters.
2nd April 2010 08:15 PM
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