Do We Really Want To Replay Those Memories?
Replaying the 1996 4-3 defeat to Liverpool is like replaying the American War of Independence (1775-1782) we see at summer fairs. We know who won the American War of Independence, and more important ... we know who lost ... so you know which side you would rather be on. SKY TV gloat over that 4-3 defeat, and it was the start of Newcastle throwing away a 12 point lead at the top of the Premiership to 'gift' Man Utd the title. SKY TV loved it ... the Geordies didn't. It wasn't the best game ever shown on TV, it was a memory (any of us who were there) would rather do without. Newcastle have organised a charity exhibition match and Paul Bracewell, Lee Clark and Liam O’Brien are the latest to confirm they will be appearing as part of the ‘entertainers’ side against Liverpool. The trio will join stars from the 1990s title-challenging side, including Pavel Srnicek, defender John Beresford and midfielder Robert Lee for the game. The players will once again fall under the guidance of Kevin Keegan, who has agreed to return to manage the side in aid of charity. But there was a rumour the match would not be played at St James' Park because of the bad feeling between Keegan and Mike Ashley. Funds from the gate receipts and a black-tie reunion dinner, set to be held the night before the game, will go to a series of charities, including the NSPCC, the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF), the Alan Shearer Centre, Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and NE Children’s Charity Pathways. Former midfielder Lee Clark – now manager of League One side Huddersfield Town – said: “I played in the game against Liverpool and it was a rollercoaster of emotions. We were losing, then leading, then all square, then the sucker punch at the end with Collymore grabbing the winner. “It summed up our season... so near yet so far. We still talk about it whenever we get together and I still can’t believe that we didn’t win a trophy. Make no mistake, this game is huge for us all.” Paul Bracewell said: “The lads will be little bit slower, a little bit heavier and a little bit greyer but I’m sure we will give value for money and be able to entertain the crowd. “Kevin is a hero in Newcastle and rightly so. The decision to play for him one last time was never going to be an issue.” The historic rematch will take place at the Darlington Arena on October 9. Other big names signed up to take part include Liverpool greats Ian Rush, winger Jason McAteer and centre-back Mark Wright. Terry McDermott has also confirmed he will return to partner Kevin Keegan in Newcastle’s dug-out. Sir Bobby Robson’s widow, Lady Elsie, yesterday thanked North East footballing greats for their continued efforts for the charity set up by her late husband. Tickets priced £10 for adults and £5 for children are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk from July 21.
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