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The only place in the world where "Goal!" could be born

The myth of Newcastle, a city that has indelibly marked the history of English football

The only place in the world where Goal! could be born The myth of Newcastle, a city that has indelibly marked the history of English football

Danny Cannon, director of the ''Goal!'' trilogy - a film that traces the fictitious career of Santiago Munez, a Mexican promise who wants to break through into European football - although he does not know if his 2005 film would have been yet another unsuccessful experiment of the binomial football-film, had one certainty to rely on: Newcastle United.

In the mid-90s the city of Newcastle was one of those in which the English people recognized themselves because of their working class and Newcastle United represented the hipster culture translated into sport, a team that everyone liked because of the consideration of ''underdog''; a consideration that vanished within three years - from 1993 to 1996 - after the Bianconeri of Tyne County moved from the First Division to the Champions League, before quickly returning to the slums of the ranking.

At the turn of the 2000s, Newcastle was a team in total ascent: after a few swinging seasons by Ruud Gullit, with the arrival of Bobby Robson, the objectives returned to be ambitious and, thanks to the purchase of promising youngsters such as Dyer, Bellamy and Robert, the enthusiasm in St. James Park returned to that of the previous decade, so much so as to position the team on the map of the "big" of Europe and lead Cannon to choose the city as the setting for his film.

15 years after the first film in the saga, the situation has changed markedly, with Newcastle having lived several seasons in the Championship and only for three years has returned to the top flight with the hope that, through the transfer of the club to the Prime Minister of Arabia Saudi Mohammed bin Salman, we can go back to talking about the "Magpies" for sporting merits and not only for the nostalgic aftermaths that have left the football nerds.


In June 1996 the hitherto highest paid player in history had arrived in Newcastle (£15m), Alan Shearer, England center forward with Blackburn. In 1996, a Newcastle fan could boast three cult objects from the entire English football movement: Alan Shearer, Gullit and the Newcastle shirt. Alan Shearer was a champion and a football icon beyond all confinement, he won only one championship - in '95 with Blackburn - but he became one of the strongest strikers ever in England and in the world, consecrated by the victory of the top scorer ranking of the Premier League. With that black and white jacket branded by a beer brand and a high-level technical sponsor, Shearer scored in every way and against every opponent.

The blue star on the striped shirt

With him, the Newcastle shirt remained clearly visible, today a memorabilia of twentieth-century sports aesthetics; a central role was that of the local beer, the Newcastle Brown Ale, sponsor from 1985 until 2000, then replaced by the NTL. The panorama of the soccer jerseys of those years affirmed Newcastle in a prominent position compared to other teams, whose deeply colored sponsor actually stood out the black and white zebra stripes of the Magpies jersey. A shirt that over time has become an inevitable style icon among collectors of this category of clothing, splendid both in the black and white home kit version and in the away version with the bordeaux and blue horizontal stripes.

Barrack Road

More generally, in the nineties Newcastle was a cool team: it played in one of the most beautiful and oldest stadiums in the world, with visibility with few other examples (we even talk about vertigo effect, Hitchcock wishes) and that precisely in the years Ninety has been modernized to allow a greater flow of fans to the matches. On a football Wednesday, we entered the belly of this huge vertical structure to see Alan Shearer trained by Ruud Gullit to challenge the Champions League greats. Obviously the English Gullit did not have the same look as the Milan Gullit and the Dutch trio, but the appeal that brought to St. James' Park was painted internationally and only with its successor, Bob Robson, things went slightly better so as to induce the producers of ''Goal!'', in fact, to choose this stadium as the main location of their film.

From the stars to the stables

The glories of the high ranking and of the gala evenings in the Champions League were lost after 2005, in which the team, despite the arrival of Michael Owen, suffered an inflation of the results and a sequence of failures that dragged the clubs out of the international visibility scene. Even in England, although with a good team, the ranking has been increasingly deficient and, in 2009, here is the great crisis: the relegation, the only win in eight games of coach Shearer, the challenge of the controversial President Mike Ashley and finally a profound financial crisis. The last decade has been a bad experience for Newcastle fans, who have also lost a lot in style - the latest jerseys are something that hurts the heart - and for some seasons they have lived in anonymity in the middle of the standings. When it's okay.

In these weeks of quarantine, the writer has not been able to enjoy Travis Scott's experience on Fortnite, nor the sense of community typical of gaming at Fifa Ultimate Team and, therefore, has managed with a Psp with a very limited choice of games. Among them was a 2009 Football Manager, and I allowed myself to save Newcastle from a sad - as announced in reality - relegation to the Championship. 

An unexpected desire to see Newcastle in the Champions League was automatically triggered, followed by the virtual tour of the city of Newcastle and an amletic buy/don't buy in front of the 1995 Newcastle second jersey. And the news that Kuno Becker - the actor who plays Santiago Munez - is writing the plot of Goal! 4 just now that Saudi money is coming, I noticed how nostalgic football stories are destined to repeat themselves over time.