Notable kits of yesteryear
16 January ~ Here's a shirt that'll be remembered more for when it was worn than for what it was: a rather ugly effort whose clunky NTL logo, all purples and greens, took away from the simplicity of the classic black and white stripes. Gone were the days of the Brown Ale sponsor and the granddad collar, and not yet here the mustard/banana vintage of 2009-10.
Fortunately, the players who played in it were not so underwhelming. Alan Shearer was still banging them in. Gary Speed was his dynamic best in the centre, complemented by bright young things Kieron Dyer and Hugo Viana. Nolberto Solano and Laurent Robert on the wings terrified opposition defences and, given their free-kick pedigree, goalkeepers. And a back five including Shay Given and, erm, Titus Bramble meant that, for once, Newcastle were doing all right at the other end.
So too the manager, local hero Bobby Robson, guiding the club to fourth and third place respectively in 2001-02 and 2002-03 as they fought in vain for the Premier League title. But it was the Champions League campaign coinciding with the last year of NTL's sponsorship that was most special. (Much like NTL, Graeme Souness ensured that Newcastle also suffered a near terminal decline from the mid-2000s.) After losing their first three games in Group E to Dynamo Kiev, Feyenoord and Juventus, Newcastle miraculously won the next three, a last-minute Craig Bellamy goal in Rotterdam ensuring their passage through to the second group stage. They'd managed to make a boring kit resplendent.
The next phase was not so successful, heavy defeats coming at the hands of Inter and Barcelona as Newcastle failed to qualify. But the shirt will remain notable, if only because it was the one worn by Shola Ameobi as he scored a lovely side-footed goal at the Nou Camp. Kieran Dodds