Football Commentator & Columnist
Newcastle United: Martin Tyler shares his memories of St James' Park
Commentary problems, Philippe Albert's legendary goal, and Martin's stint as a movie star
Last Updated: 07/04/20 7:26am
At a time when football grounds have closed their doors, we've asked Martin Tyler to share some of his favourite facts and memories of the homes of the 20 Premier League clubs.
In part 13 of the series, Sky Sports' Voice of Football takes us on a virtual visit to Newcastle United's St James' Park with memories of starring in a movie and Philippe Albert's legendary goal.
Keep an eye out for some Tyler's Teasers on the @SkySportsPL Twitter account. Today's question is all about Newcastle manager Steve Bruce.
St James' Park: How I get there
By train. I used to fly from Heathrow to Newcastle, but the flight times rarely matched or the planes were fully booked. Newcastle station is only a 15-minute walk from the ground so rail has become the better bet.
What's it like to commentate there
This is another ground which has undergone changes for broadcasters. When the Milburn Stand was redeveloped in 2000, the gantry was moved further from the pitch, but I think I speak for all my colleagues when I say that the only real problem when you work there is the design of the numbers on the back of the Newcastle shirts.
Printing them over black and white stripes makes them very hard to distinguish, whatever the colour. However eagle-eyed the commentator, those numbers are vital for identification when a split-second call is needed.
In the past, there has been a white patch on the back of the shirt which made the numbers much clearer but for leisure wear - and it seems every Newcastle fan has a replica shirt - it is not so cool, and I respect that.
- Emirates Stadium | Villa Park | Vitality Stadium | Amex Stadium | Turf Moor | Stamford Bridge | Selhurst Park | Goodison Park | King Power Stadium | Anfield | Etihad Stadium | Old Trafford
Did you know?
This stoppage during the season must remind older Newcastle fans of the loss of football in the winter known as "The Big Freeze". There was no football at St James' Park between December 15, 1962, and March 9, 1963, because of the frozen pitch.
My most notable memory of St James' Park
Newcastle were not in the first Premier League season, but under Kevin Keegan they won promotion that year and took the second Premier League campaign by storm, finishing third. With their brand of attacking football, they became known as The Entertainers. The following season, they finished sixth and then, after a tremendous battle, runners-up to Manchester United.
That rivalry was put to the test in the 1996 Charity Shield, which Alex Ferguson's team won 4-0. The pain of that Wembley defeat was motivation in itself for the Newcastle team as the two Uniteds met in the Premier League at St James' Park the following October.
On Sky Sports, our Super Sunday tag rang true but only for one United, as Newcastle won 5-0. They were like men possessed, even though the first goal from defender Darren Peacock and the third - a powerful header from Les Ferdinand which twice hit the underside of the bar - only just went over the line.
David Ginola had us reaching for superlatives with a shot that whipped past Peter Schmeichel. Alan Shearer, who carried the fire of the fans in his own heart, also got in on the act.
It took something extra special to top it all off and Belgian defender Philippe Albert provided it by seeing Peter Schmeichel off his line and chipping the ball over him from 25 yards. A delicious goal! I often see Philippe, who works for Belgian TV, and you can imagine what quickly becomes the topic of conversation.
Apparently Sir John Hall, who ran Newcastle at the time, proudly said at the final whistle: "You've seen the champions today."
He was right. Manchester United finished seven points clear! Newcastle ended up second again.
Kevin Keegan described the 5-0 success as his greatest day in management, but by the following January, he was gone. If you got trophies for crowd-pleasing alone, his Newcastle would have had a stack.
What I like about St James' Park
In 2005, I was asked to appear as myself in the film 'Goal' and all my scenes were shot at the ground, even the ones where I was supposed to be in a different stadium.
It is the only place where I have ever appeared in a movie so you can understand why I DO LIKE THIS GROUND!
On Wednesday: Martin brings us his guide to Norwich City's Carrow Road...