Our very own adopted Peruvian! He wasn’t just our first Peruvian to play for NUFC, he was the first Peruvian to EVER play in England.
Nobby Solano was one of my all time favourite Toon players and a man I will be telling my kids about when they grow up. Everything about him epitomised what we look for and respect at this club. He was technically gifted, attack minded and gave his all in everything he did.
He was a high profile player in South America – a continent which takes it’s football so seriously that a bad game can result in a death threat to you or your loved ones – and was part of a great Boca Juniors team alongside Diego Maradona, who nicknamed him ‘the Little Master’
Nobby signed for us back in 1998 for a reported fee of around £2.5 million. He was very close to signing for Arsenal but we managed to pip them to the post, largely due to Tino Asprilla having raised our profile in South America considerably.
Nobby loved the Toon and the Toon certainly loved him. Nolberto was able to walk around the city freely and would be greeted by smiles and a drink everywhere he went. He would walk his dog down Whitley Bay promenade and really is a true adopted Geordie.
When you look back at videos of Shearer (which no doubt we all tend to do from time to time) you wonder how much Big Al must have loved Nobby being on the right pumping it into the mixer! I remember Rob Lee saying that Shearer used to have Laurent Robert up by the throat for not getting the crosses over and I bet Nobby never had that problem!
Not only were his assists invaluable for keeping us in the hunt for Champions League football, he didn’t half chip in with the goals too!
Nobby describes his best goal ever as the one he scored against 1860 Munich which I remember well although the one that sticks out for me was the winning penalty against Liverpool in 2007 (probably as it was so recent)
Unfortunately, Nobby spent his time with us over 2 spells and spent a couple of seasons at Villa in between, where he was voted player of the season by pretty much everybody and anyone at the club. I never understood this at the time and I still don’t to be honest. He finished top scorer for them when he was there…
All in all, Nobby made over 300 appearances for the Toon and scored almost 50 goals which would make him one of my first names on an all time Newcastle XI teamsheet.
I would love to say that Nobby didn’t like to blow his own trumpet as well but that would be blowing smoke up your backside! Nobby and his band ‘The Latino Geordies’ played at a charity gig at The Cooperage just this April gone!
Nolberto Solano – thanks for the memories.