On the day NUFC remembers ‘one of our own’ in Pavel Srnicek we get the announcement that another ‘adopted’ Geordie has decided to hang his boots up at the age of 39.
Fabricio Coloccini played 248 games for United between 2008 and 2016 scoring six goals. Not that it’s his goals for which he’ll be remembered.
I think he’ll be more fondly remembered for three things. He captained the Club with some classy displays, he didn’t turn his back on the Club when we were relegated and finally, that hair which bred a certain iconic terrace chant.
He was a huge signing for The Toon costing a reported £10.3m from Deportivo La Coruna and part of Kevin Keegan’s summer transfer business which also saw fellow Argentinian Jonas Gutierrez arriving but they arrived in the eye of a storm.
That same summer transfer business saw both James Milner sold and Xisco bought reputedly without the knowledge of Keegan and at the behest of always unpopular Director of Football Denis Wise.
Within a month Keegan was gone, Chris Hughton was put in temporary charge but didn’t win a game and then to the astonishment of all at NUFC, Joe Kinnear was appointed. It led to an infamous season and relegation in Colo’s first season.
Many thought he’d leave in the summer being a current Argentina international but he didn’t and along with Gutierrez helped the Club to return to the Premiership at the first time of asking. The legend of Colo and his hair was born.
He was named in the Championship team of the year and when returning to the Premiership soon showed his defensive and creative ability to earn many plaudits for his performances. No matter who came and went he was always present and very, very dependable.
Eventually his influence became so great, he was appointed Club Captain for the 2011/12 season and led the team superbly, being a key part in our 5th place finish and being named in the Premier League team of the season alongside Vincent Kompany that year.
He then stunned the Geordie faithful in January 2013 be saying he wanted to leave immediately for personal reasons, revealing that he was keen to return to his homeland.
But, after a little controversy, he was persuaded to stay and not just for the rest of that season and beyond earning new contracts and establishing himself as a firm fans favourite until July 2016 when he finally was released and returned ‘home’ to Argentina and San Lorenzo.
Now, he’s hanging them up and we wish him well. I’m probably going to be pilloried for this but dare I say that a Colo in his prime at the centre of our defence now is exactly what we need and we’d be better off with him than without.
One of the finest centre-backs of this generation to play for The Toon we wish him well for the future and thank him for his efforts for NUFC where he’ll always be welcomed back.