Andy Griffin reacts to Newcastle’s Premier League start – and recalls a ‘magical’ time at club

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Andy Griffin feels Newcastle United have “hit the ground running” in the Premier League ahead of tomorrow’s meeting between his former clubs.

Rafa Benitez’s side will take on Stoke City at St James’s Park looking to record a third successive league victory.

Griffin – who spent six-and-a-half years at Newcastle after joining from Stoke in 1998 – knows a positive start is all-important in the division from his time at Derby County.

The club was relegated with a record-low haul of 11 points.

“For any team that gets promoted, it’s essential you hit the ground running and get points on the board ASAP,” said the retired defender.

“If you don’t, as I found out with Derby (in the 2007-08 season), confidence can go quite early and you start to doubt yourself and your team-mates.

“To get the kind of start they’ve had is great for the club, the team and the individuals concerned.”

Griffin played Champions League football with United during Sir Bobby Robson’s “magical” tenure at St James’s Park.

“When I was there, I played mainly under Sir Bobby Robson and it was a magical, magical moment to be there and a wonderful club to play for,” said Griffin, who hung up his boots in 2014.

“The atmosphere was electric and fans lived through the week to go and watch their football at the weekend.

“I don’t think it’s what it once was in terms of atmosphere up there, and it’s a shame.

“But if you’re getting results, as Newcastle are right now, it all helps towards the atmosphere, and doesn’t make it any easier for Stoke this weekend.”