When I think of my favourite Toon stars of my lifetime, the same faces always spring to mind.
Most of them come from ‘The Entertainers’ era and moved on to rival Premier League clubs which slightly tarnished the memory. I hated seeing Nolberto Solano, David Ginola and Les Ferdinand strutting their stuff at other clubs in England as they were living and breathing Toon legends to me at the time.
One man who didn’t leave a bitter taste in the mouth of Toon fans was the Irishman – John Anderson.
‘Ando’ – as he was affectionately known by the fans – is the player that I have always tried to model myself on whilst on the field. He was a tenacious right back who took no prisoners and I just wish our squad had even half of his fight within them.
Ando came to us on a free transfer in 1982 and ended up making almost 300 league appearances (including 14 goals) in his 10 year tenure….. Bargain!
When Anderson joined the club, it wasn’t to fanfare and wild celebrations in the street as everyone was just recovering from celebrating the signing of a certain King Kev and Anderson was pretty much an unknown from Preston North End
The reason I mentioned The Entertainers earlier is because a lot of people would argue that Ginola and Co were ‘The Entertainers Mk II’.
Ando was part of one of the most entertaining teams in the clubs history featuring Keegan, Waddle, Pedro and Terry Mac. In his first full season, Ando was ever present (bar one game) as the Toon scored a bucket load of goals and gained promotion back into the top flight.
It wasn’t all plain sailing and roses though, a bit like recent history to be honest, as Ando and Newcastle faced relegation 5 years later in 1989. Unlike modern day footballers, Anderson would turn up and give his all, rain or shine, promotion or relegation, black or white.
He optimised everything that we love about our players on Tyneside. Passionate, honest and bled for the club whilst having a ‘never say die’ attitude.
After hanging up his playing boots and receiving a testimonial for 10 years service to the club, John Anderson then joined the Newcastle United coaching staff briefly and has stayed on Tyneside where he pipes up with his views regarding goings on at the club on a regular basis.
I wish I had seen more of Anderson in his playing days yet I was too young, so would be interested in hearing any memories other fans have of Ando’s playing career.
OOOOOOOOHHH JONNY JONNY, JONNY JONNY JONNY JONNY ANDERSON.