I never met Glenn Roeder and judging by the magnificent and heartfelt tributes paid since his tragic untimely death yesterday, I really wish I had.
I did however see him play, as well as manage a Club he just got – despite not being a Geordie.
The famous Roeder shuffle was a joy to watch. You knew it was coming as he started to stride forward with the ball from the back, the opponents knew it was coming and yet still fell for it.
The roar from the St. James faithful every time he pulled it off was almost as loud as a goal going in.
When people talk about cultured defenders, Glenn Roeder was the blueprint.
He could defend, he could head he could tackle but boy could he also play. He played more games for NUFC than any other team and looked like a future captain from the first day he arrived in Toon.
My favourite memory of him as a player was the Christmas present he gave all NUFC fans with the winner in a 1 – 0 home win over Manchester United on Boxing Day 1987. I still remember that to this day. A great way to round off Christmas!
I also remember him very much as a mentor for Gazza. Without Roeder’s guidance and leadership, I’m not so sure Gascoigne would have turned out to be the player he was. It showed Roeder’s ability to spot and nurture a player.
As a Manager he won something. Yes, it was only the Intertoto Cup but it was a trophy and we went into that competition as the lowest ranked English side. He also gave debuts to 18-year-old Tim Krul and 17-year-old Andy Carroll. Further evidence of his ability to spot talent.
His win % as a manager at NUFC was 45.83. His highest anywhere as a manager. Goodness what we’d give to have that percentage right now. There’d be none of the worries and concerns we’re currently going through.
The tributes as I have said have been wonderful and expressed in such a great way. It’s easy to see how revered he was throughout football and there’s no doubting the footballing world has lost a diamond and sparkles a little less today.
As a player he’d be worth tens of millions today. As a manager he’d have us safe. As a person we’d all enjoy what he had to say and listen intently.
R.I.P. Glenn Roeder. Thanks for all you did for NUFC. We’ll miss you.