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Sunday 10 February 2013

On this day: Faustino Asprilla makes his debut for Newcastle United

Newcastle's Faustino Asprillo made an immediate impact at Middlesbrough

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

On this day: Review of February

10 February 1996

After a much-protracted wrangling, Colombia striker Faustino Asprilla joined Newcastle United from Parma to boost the Tyneside team’s title hopes. According to Asprilla, who had been close to a transfer to Leeds United, his Barclays Premier League debut away to Middlesbrough for Kevin Keegan’s team was rushed.

“I was in Parma, waiting for the papers so I could play in England,” he later told Four Four Two. “Keegan called me on Thursday to say he’d send a private jet so I could watch the game. Then on Friday I got the papers, but I was still just going to watch.

“On Saturday, they took me to lunch in the club hotel, and I ordered wine because in Italy that’s what we had. So I drank wine, but I never liked it so I mixed it with water. Then Keegan said, 'Get changed just in case,' then, 'Warm up', then 'You're on!'"

"I wasn’t nervous but I wasn’t even prepared! Luckily it all went very well."

Despite not having played a full match for three months because of a dispute with Parma, in the 22 minutes he was on Asprilla, 26, made an impact for Newcastle at the Riverside, setting up the equaliser for Steve Watson as Keegan’s side went on to win 2-1.

His signing was not enough to help Newcastle to the title and Asprilla’s time on Tyneside proved a mixture of highs – a hat-trick to beat Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League – and lows. After nine Barclays Premier League goals in 48 goals and less than two years after joining he returned to Parma.

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