Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Kuqi Will Grab Chance with Both Hands: Kev

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Kuqi Will Grab Chance with Both Hands: Kev

Article excerpt


KEVIN GALLACHER expects Shefki Kuqi to take the chance to play for Newcastle United with both hands after landing a dream move to St James' Park.

Like The Flying Finn, Gallacher arrived on Tyneside in the twilight of his career to play for Sir Bobby Robson's side back in 1999.

And Gallacher will be in the stands to watch the return of his old pal to Ewood Park as his two former teams lock horns in Lancashire.

The former Scotland international had two seasons in black-and-white, and in that time helped save the club from the drop in 2000 and then, a season later, lay the foundations for Robson's team to push on for a top-four finish in the 2001/02 campaign.

Gallacher - who is a friend of the big Finn - told the Chronicle: "It's a magnificent chance for the big man to come to Newcastle at this stage of his career. "I came to Newcastle at 33 under Sir Bobby and it was unbelievable to be running out in front of huge crowds of 50,000 people.

"If anything it made it harder for me after that when I started dropping down the divisions later in my career because not much matches that.

"Shefki will relish the chance to play in the Premier League at 34 and try to finish there.

"He can score goals. He's come in from the wilderness and what a great chance for a swan-song.

"When you get to that age you just want to enjoy your football and he'll be looking to push on and try to win another contract for six months or so after this.

"It's a challenge for him, and knowing the lad, he would not dream of coming in and letting anybody down - not least the fans."

Kuqi's arrival has caught the attention of football just over a week after Andy Carroll departed Tyneside for Liverpool in a pounds 35m move.

But Gallacher added: "Whatever people say, the facts are, even at 34, he scores goals and he's a nuisance for defenders because of his presence and size. …

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