Fabricio Coloccini issues honest Newcastle United statement – and reveals takeover 'worry'

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Former Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini has reflected on his time at St James' Park – and spoken about the club's post-takeover success.

Fabricio Coloccini still follows events at Newcastle United closely from his native Argentina.

Coloccini led the club for five years during Mike Ashley’s troubled time as owner.

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The elegant defender was captain when the team, under Alan Pardew, finished fifth in the Premier League in 2012.

However, Coloccini also experienced a relegation after signing for United, and the 41-year-old – who left the club for San Lorenzo in Argentina in 2016 – has reflected on his time on Tyneside.

Warm welcome

“In truth we had a great time, beyond all of the football,” said Coloccini, who joined the club in 2008 at the same time as his Argentinian countryman Jonas Gutierrez.

“Let’s be honest, it wasn’t the club’s finest hour. As soon as I got there, we went down.

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“We went back up with Chris Hughton. We had a great time, not just sporting-wise. The city’s great – the people, the way they received us.

“I always say you never know how the people are going to treat you in light of the famous rivalry between Argentina and England.”

Fabricio Coloccini celebrates scoring for Newcastle United against Aston Villa in December 2015. (Pic: Getty Images)Fabricio Coloccini celebrates scoring for Newcastle United against Aston Villa in December 2015. (Pic: Getty Images)
Fabricio Coloccini celebrates scoring for Newcastle United against Aston Villa in December 2015. (Pic: Getty Images) | Getty

Coloccini, speaking to United fan Callum Berry in Argentina, said it was a “privilege” to play at St James’ Park and captain the team.

“It’s difficult to explain, because they’re such unique feelings, so it’s hard to find the words,” said Coloccini, who was handed the captain’s armband by Alan Pardew in 2011 following the departure of Kevin Nolan.

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“To let an Argentine in, treat them with such care, and let them don the captain’s armband, and let them lead such great players, English players, it was the cherry on top.

“It was such a great privilege. You often questioned yourself, whether I deserved that, all the love that both I myself and Jonas as well received.”

Coloccini added: “There isn’t a more passionate fanbase in England than Newcastle’s.”

Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini applaud fans after a game against Leicester City in May 2015. (Pic: Getty Images)Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini applaud fans after a game against Leicester City in May 2015. (Pic: Getty Images)
Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini applaud fans after a game against Leicester City in May 2015. (Pic: Getty Images) | Getty

Takeover verdict

United's fanbase is looking forward to a return to the Champions League after Eddie Howe guided the team to a fourth-placed finish in the Premier League last season.

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The club, now 80%-owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, has been transformed since a £305million takeover in late 2021.

Newcastle's new owners – who appointed Howe a month after the takeover – have addressed the under-investment of the Ashley years.

And Coloccini's initial takeover "worry" has proved to be unfounded.

“It’s what the people deserve," said Coloccini. "They’re so faithful, so loyal. They never deserved to suffer so much for all those years. It makes me really happy.

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“Sometimes I would get a little worried at first, because when such powerful people arrive, you never really know how they are going to treat the club.

“At other teams, people have come, made big signings, and not been able to properly pat for them, and then they left the teams. They leave them to rot with loads of debt and unpaid contracts.

“But I think it’s great how they’re approaching it. They haven’t gone wild and bought everyone and anyone for the sake of it.

“They have made good choices, signed the right players. They’ve spent money – you have to in order to compete nowadays – but not in crazy amounts, and now we’re in the Champions League.

“It will be a great opportunity to build a new team, and move towards every Geordie’s dream, which is to compete in the Champions League.”

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