Saturday 06 July 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Newcastle United completed the signing of David Ginola as Kevin Keegan stepped up his bid to build a squad strong enough to launch a bid for the Barclays Premier League title.
"I have been looked after like never before in France. I have met nothing but friendly and passionate people"
The 28-year-old France international, who joined from Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain in a £2.5m deal, followed fellow July arrivals Warren Barton, from Wimbledon, and striker Les Ferdinand, from Queens Park Rangers, through the gates at St James’ Park, and the skilful winger wasted no time in striking up an understanding with the England centre-forward, whom he helped score 25 Premier League goals with his dazzling wing play.
“I have been looked after like never before in France,” Ginola said two months after signing. “I have met nothing but friendly and passionate people. There was even a four-week heatwave after I arrived. They hadn’t seen anything like if for 200 years.
“I like the game here. The players are no less technical. Everything is played on the counterattack. I was worried that there would be a long period of acclimatisation like Rai and Valdo had at PSG, but I have adapted straight away and already been voted player of the month.”
Ginola was voted Barclays Player of the Month for August and immediately acquired a reputation as a swashbuckling winger who terrorised full-backs throughout the country. With the Frenchman linking up with the likes of Ferdinand, Peter Beardsley and, after January, Faustino Asprilla, "The Entertainers" made a fantastic start to the campaign and by the turn of the year had soared 12 points clear at the top of the table.
A late-season collapse, however, epitomised by a thrilling 4-3 defeat at Liverpool, enabled Manchester United to rein in Newcastle, and Keegan’s charges had to settle for second place and a tilt at UEFA Champions league football the following season.
With his dashing looks and Gallic flair, Ginola was the undisputed darling of the Gallowgate for his two seasons on Tyneside, helping the Magpies finish runners-up in the Barclays Premier League for two years in succession and scoring six goals in his 58 League appearances.
He subsequently moved on to Tottenham Hotspur and in the 1998/99 season won the Football Writer’s Player of the Year, the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Player of the Year awards and the League Cup. Ginola enjoyed subsequent spells with Aston Villa and Everton.