Friends turn search for Newcastle legend Philippe Albert into film

NEWCASTLE UNITED HERO ... Philippe Albert.
NEWCASTLE UNITED HERO ... Philippe Albert.

TWO Newcastle United-supporting friends are set to make a documentary about their quest to meet the man who provided one of their standout childhood memories.

Taylor Payne and Stephen Best, from South Tyneside, were just 14 when Philippe Albert added the gloss on a 5-0 win for Newcastle over Manchester United with a glorious chip.

former Newcastle player Robert Lee, Taylor Payne, Stephen Best and former Newcastle player John Beresford.

former Newcastle player Robert Lee, Taylor Payne, Stephen Best and former Newcastle player John Beresford.

Eighteen years on, they are preparing to travel to Albert’s native Belgium after an idea which started in the pub captured the imagination of football fans.

Taylor, of Bright Street, South Shields, and Stephen, of Birch Street, Jarrow, are presenters of the popular True Faith podcast, and the lifelong friends initially hoped to persuade the former defender to appear on it.

However, they came up with the idea of the trip to Belgium and set up a project, called ‘Looking for Number 5’, on crowd-funding website Kickstarter to see if there was an appetite for the film to be made, and were staggered by the response.

Mr Payne said: “We had a couple of drinks after the QPR game in November and we were talking about who would be our ideal guest for the podcast.

“We had Rob Lee on last year and that was a really good experience, and when we began talking, Philippe Albert came up.

“I said that even if I had to go to Belgium myself to get him for the podcast, I’d do it.

“I then thought it could be more than just a podcast and that it would be interesting to film it.”

He added: “We started up a project on Kickstarter to see if people would be on board, and we set our target at £2,500 so we’d have enough for the camera equipment and to get us over to Belgium.

“We reached the £2,500 within 24 hours, which was ridiculous. We’ve just hit £7,000, and I’m still struggling to put into words how and why it has happened.

“Every extra penny that we get will just help us make the film as good as it possibly can be.”

Former players from that famous team, as well as staff, supporters, journalists and celebrities, will be interviewed for the 90-minute film, while the focus will also be on Taylor and Stephen on their journey to track down Albert.

A number of former players, including Robert Lee, Peter Beardsley and Keith Gillespie, have already agreed to take part, while the pair are hopeful the likes of Kevin Keegan and David Ginola will also be willing to participate.

The film will give Newcastle supporters a chance to have a trip down memory lane and relive one of the most famous days in the club’s modern history.

Taylor added: “Everyone who has spoken to me about it has talked about just what a joyful time it was to be a Newcastle fan, and how it reminds them of the good times.

“Without wanting to sound too morbid, it’s not really a great time to be a Newcastle fan at the moment. This reminds everyone of when we had a great team, and it’s that thing of feeling 14 again.

“Even now, you watch that goal and the hairs go up on the back of your neck.

“For a centre-back to chip the best goalkeeper in the world, Peter Schmeichel, from that distance, and to make the score 5-0, was just incredible.

“He was a one-off. We don’t know if he’s aware of the project yet, but we’ve received a couple of bits of information about where he is and what he’s doing.

“We don’t know yet whether he’d be up for being involved or not, but from everything I’ve heard about him so far, I’d imagine he would be.”

The Kickstarter page is open for donations until midnight tomorrow.

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Twitter: @shields