Before the Premier League became the destination of choice outside of a handful of giant European clubs, foreign players had something of a reputational problem in England. Because while often “sublimely gifted” suspicions persisted that they lacked both a fully developed sense of fair play (conveniently glossing over all of the English players who could have given Tom Daley a run for his money) and the constitution required to make it in our rainy windswept isle. That perception has, more-or-less, been consigned to history but it was no thanks to Faustino Asprilla.
Arriving from UEFA Cup holders Parma to support Newcastle United’s title challenge in the classic 95 – 96 season (featuring the Keegan meltdown); he promised much and occasionally delivered. That Newcastle side was one of the best of the 90s and could call on the touch of Peter Beardsley; the vision of David Ginola and the speed of Ruel Fox. But they couldn’t win the league.
Asprilla would last two years at Newcastle and save his best for their European fixtures. It was a source of frustration for many but no small thing for the fans who had only recently seen their side return to the top division. By the time he left, Newcastle had already signed a replacement by the name of Alan Shearer but on his day Asprilla was magical.
This goal is from one of the era-defining clashes with Liverpool. It was part of a fightback that saw Newcastle 0-3 down at the break and 3-3 at the end of normal time. But they couldn’t win the game.
Midfield General (ret.)