Saturday 10 August 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
In the 1993/94 campaign, the Magpies had finished third behind Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers with a record-setting 82 goals scored and so the purchase of the stylish Belgian was aimed at improving the Newcastle rearguard.
Albert, who had won the Belgian League twice with Anderlecht and helped Belgium reach that summer's World Cup finals, arrived in a £2.6m deal on his 27th birthday, hence his No 27 shirt.
If Albert had been brought in to help shore up the defence, it was his contribution at the other end for which he became better known. He was adept at bringing the ball out of defence and taking the game to the opposition - a style suiting the attack-minded approach of Kevin Keegan's "Entertainers".
Albert became a cult hero on Tyneside and helped the Magpies win their first six matches of a 1994/95 campaign but it tailed off after the Belgian suffered an injury, reducing his contribution to 17 League appearances.
Newcastle had to settle for a sixth but with the help of further investment in players the club challenged for the title over the next two campaigns, finishing runners-up twice.
Albert's crowning moment came when he dispatched a sumptuous lob over Peter Schmeichel in Newcastle's 5-0 victory over Manchester United in 1996. It was one of eight League goals the Belgian scored in 96 top-flight appearances for the Magpies over five seasons, before re-uniting with Keegan at Fulham in 1999.