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I'm delighted to welcome Gavin Peacock - 13/02/2003

I'm delighted to welcome Gavin Peacock
A great bloke, a great trainer!

I was in the Press Box at the Stadium of Light recently and bumped into Gavin Peacock. After leaving Newcastle to go to Chelsea, he returned to QPR and played a few games for Charlton. Now he’s also working in the media for the BBC, Capital Radio and, like me, ESPN in Singapore. We had a chat and I’m glad to say that’s he’s going to be joining us at Official Player Sites.

Having been signed by Jim Smith in 1990, Gav was one of the established first-teamer’s when I joined Newcastle two years later. He was one of those midfielders who was always looking to get forward – and he scored some big goals for us. Who knows, if it hadn’t been for him, I may never have joined Newcastle. Prior to me joining, and with the help of Gavin, the club had just managed to avoid relegation. If we’d dropped down to what is now the second division, it’s unlikely whether Keegan would have stayed, and indeed, whether the club would have survived!

One of the things I remember about him was his great enthusiasm for fitness and training – a great pro, but sometimes not a popular one! During pre-season the intensity of the fitness work is great. Obviuosly the older and bigger lads would struggle to keep up with the youngsters and the natural runners. The system was for groups of five or six lads to work together, if Gav was close to Steve Howey or Brian kilcline, then he’d be told ‘move away’ (well, words to that effect). It was a similar case for me, but I wasn’t quite at the level that Gav was! Usually, if the older pro’s were put alongside some quick youngsters, then the young lads would be told in no uncertain terms not to go rushing off. The problem with Gav was that he was so dedicated to his training there was no stopping him! Subsequently he made a few of the lads look like they were going backwards!!

Anyway, it’s great to have him onboard, and to have his knowledge and expertise of the London clubs. His old man, Keith, is the Assistant Manager at Charlton, so he’s from a proper footballing family. It’ll be interesting to hear what he has to say about Newcastle and the capital teams. A supporter of Charlton as a lad, I know he’s got more than a soft spot for Newcastle so it remains to be seen who he’ll be backing when Charlton take on Newcastle next month?

As for the recent Arsenal game, well first things first, I thought the atmosphere was great. As I mentioned, the fans make such a difference and it was an impressive game played infront of a great crowd. We started very well, but as time ticked on, I couldn’t help but feel that we needed to turn possession and chances into a goal. With the first half ending we began to huff and puff, and when they scored I genuinely thought Arsenal would take all the points.

How wrong I was!!! Robert’s goal was outstanding and as expected, the crowd exploded. Talk about a ‘U’ turn? But I was then convinced we’d get the winner, but the defining point of the game was the Bergkamp incident and Robert’s sending off. To tell the truth…and I know there’s been a big debate about this, I’d have done exactly what Bergkamp did. If you have a free kick and you’re obstructed, then you’re within your rights to take it quickly. Professionally, if an opposition player is carded, then that’s to your teams’ advantage. I saw the disgust on Bobby’s face as Bergkamp was substituted, but for me, that was because he knew we’d lost a chance to win the game – and possibly the Premiership!

The earlier draw at the Manchester derby also had an impact on the game. It lifted the pressure for Arsenal to win the game, and in my opinion, they ran out on the pitch with the intention of not losing the game. To some degree they were frightened of Newcastle, and having seen Man Utd drop two points at home to a team they’d have expected to beat, a draw at St. James was a great result for Arsenal. Whether they should have placed more emphasis on attack, well, I’d probably say they should have. But all told, it was a wonderful game, ruined by a sending off, but a draw was probably a fair result. Only time will tell what impact the sending off may have had on the destiny of the Premiership trophy?

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