Pavel Srnicek – The Passing of an NUFC Legend

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Back in the early nineties Newcastle United signed a relative unknown from Banik Ostava in the Czech Republic for the now paltry-like sum of £350,000, that footballer was called Pavel Srnicek and he was a goalkeeper.

In the ensuing years he would go on to become a folk hero, a cult hero, a legend at St. James’ Park and, on that day in 1993, after Newcastle had lifted the First Division Championship having thrashed Leicester City 7-1, Pav lifted his ‘keepers jersey to reveal the words the Toon Army had chanted during such a magical season, and long afterwards.

Those words have never been so true than they are now as, nearly quarter of a century after he joined the club, ‘Pavel is a Geordie’ had, so very sadly, passed away. His death is sore to many, whether here in the North East, with fans of his other English clubs (he also played for Portsmouth, West Ham and Sheffield Wednesday), or those back home in the Czech Republic.

Thousands of hearts breaking, thousands of hearts broke.

We’ll miss you Pav, you broke the mould.

Our number one, through thick and thin, it hurts so bad we can’t begin.

We love you Pav, from the day you came, our number one, every game.

It matters not where you were from, you’ll always be our number one.

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He was an hero to many, and as down to earth as they come. He had time for everyone he came across and I met him several times myself, seen him play the odd game as well and, like a fine wine, this Geordie Legend from the old Eastern Bloc certainly got better with age but to pick his best game, now that would be a challenge in itself. Below is just a selection of the highlights of Pav’s time between the sticks of Newcastle United –

April 17 1991 vs. Sheffield Wednesday (Newcastle Debut, won 1-0)

October 7 1992 vs. Middlesbrough (League Cup, won 3-1)

April 25 1993 vs. Sunderland (Tyne-Wear Derby, won 1-0)

May 4 1993 vs. Grimsby Town (Clinched Promotion, won 2-0)

May 9 1993 vs. Leicester City (Won Championship, 7-1)

April 18 1994 vs. Liverpool (At Anfield, Won 2-0)

My 7 1994 vs. Arsenal (Last game of the season, won 2-0)

September 1994 vs. Chelsea (won 4-2), Royal Antwerp (UEFA Cup, won 5-0), Arsenal (won 3-2), Liverpool (drew 1-1), Royal Antwerp (UEFA Cup, won 5-2)

October 26 1994 vs. Manchester United (League Cup, won 2-0)

January 2 1995 vs. Arsenal (won 2-0)

October 20 1996 vs. Manchester United (Howay 5-0)

October29 1996 vs. Ferencvaros (won 4-0)

May 11 1997 vs. Nottingham Forest (Clinched Runners-Up, won 5-0)

December 23 2006 vs. Tottenham Hotspur (The swansong, won 3-1)

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Although Pav would eventually move back to his homeland he never forgot those Geordie roots in which he grew, and the Geordies never forgot him. He returned to Tyneside on numerous occasions, making new friends along the way as well as appearing in the ‘Entertainers Re-United’ game as well as his book, ‘Pavel is a Geordie’ which was published by his agent, Steve Wraith, and Stuart Wheatman’s Mojo Risin Publishing in Newcastle; written by Will Scott you can purchase the book HERE.

I only interviewed him a matter of days before this nightmare began – we laughed, we joked, we talked about his love for Newcastle United and theirs for him, so much so that his lasting quote from that interview was “my time here has always made me feel like a World  Cup winner.”

I know that people close to me are really hurting, as we all are, at this devastating event and my heart goes out to Steve and Natalie, as well as Pav’s own family, at this awful of times, this has been for them and the thousands of Geordies whose hearts are broken right now.

Sleep tight Pav, you’re in Sir Bobby’s hands now….

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Newcastle Legends Interview HERE

Northern Echo Book Part One HERE

Northern Echo Book Part Two HERE

Northern Echo Tribute HERE

Lee Ryder Tribute HERE

Martin Hardy Tribute HERE

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About petermannwriter

Freelance (Sports/Music) Journalist

Posted on 30/12/2015, in Football, Newcastle United and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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