Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Team Spirit and the Toon Army Can Make St James' a Fortress; Former United Favourite Ginola Insists That Magpies Have: Two Key Ingredients in Bid to Regain Top-Flight Foothold

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Team Spirit and the Toon Army Can Make St James' a Fortress; Former United Favourite Ginola Insists That Magpies Have: Two Key Ingredients in Bid to Regain Top-Flight Foothold

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE RYDER

DAVID GINOLA has underlined the vast importance of Newcastle United's home form ahead of a tussle between two of his former sides at St James' Park.

The flamboyant Frenchman was an integral part of the Toon team which boasts the best-ever record at home in the Premier League - Kevin Keegan's 1995/96 side, which lost just one game.

While that solitary defeat may have came at an almighty cost - against the side which somehow wrestled the title from them and overhauled a 12-point disadvantage - Ginola feels that, providing United continue to maintain Fortress St James', they will not need to worry about another painful relegation.

United last lost a home league game in May 2009 in what was then heir final Premier League on Tyneside. That game catastrophically unfolded amid near biblical scenes.

The black clouds descended above Gallowgate and a hailstorm lashed down into the faces of players who were staring into the abyss as Fulham all but pushed the Magpies into the Championship.

Now, after a season in which Newcastle steered their way through the Championship unbeaten and enjoyed 23 games of home turf supremacy, Ginola - a close pal of Toon boss Chris Hughton - has backed the Toon Army to play a massive part in United's bid for survival again this season.

Ginola - who also played for Aston Villa between 2000 and 2002 - told the Chronicle: "What we used to have was a great set of players who did everything together off the field and battled for each other on it.

"With that and an incredible crowd behind us it made it so difficult for teams coming to us. In fact, the gaffer Kevin Keegan did not really need to say much to us before the games, we could just go out and play.

"Those were special times, but if you have the team spirit correct and everybody is fighting for the club shirt, then it can be recreated again to some extent. …

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