Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Am Proud to Inherit Tino's Hirt Number-And to Be Part of That Same Dressing Room; French Striker Knows All about Famous Side of the 90s - and Reckons He Is Going to Love Playing at St James' Park

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Am Proud to Inherit Tino's Hirt Number-And to Be Part of That Same Dressing Room; French Striker Knows All about Famous Side of the 90s - and Reckons He Is Going to Love Playing at St James' Park

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE RYDER

YOAN GOUFFRAN is certainly no stranger to the visitors' dressing room at St James' Park.

Having sampled the delights of a big European night on Tyneside with Bordeaux, he knows exactly how much of a role the Geordie fans play when it comes to getting behind their team.

This time, though, he is here to stay and while his last experience was an unhappy one - a 3-0 defeat in the Europa League - Gouffran seems a satisfied man knowing he's here for keeps.

Donning a pair of sparkling golden trainers, his eyes also light up when he is told his new changing room used to be home to some of the game's superstars.

It is a dressing room that has seen it all from the near title miss in 1996 under Kevin Keegan, great Champions League nights against Barcelona and the like, and of course the 5-0 destruction of Manchester United.

Back in the 1990s, Keegan wanted his players to be enclosed in the dressing room in order to take brief points on board before being simply told: "Go out and win, lads."

Of course, the Premier League has changed significantly since then in terms of tactics, technology and technique.

But the aim is still the same - to be the best and to make the fans proud.

Sitting to the right of where the legendary No 9 Alan Shearer once sat and absorbed the dressing room atmosphere and to the left of where the great David Ginola once primed himself for some of his best displays during his Toon career, Gouffran - who will wear Tino Asprilla's old No 11 shirt - told the Chronicle: "David Ginola needs no introduction to me or to any French player. Alan Shearer was a fantastic player for England and Newcastle who scored a lot of goals.

"I am well aware of the history of the club and the players who have been here before me."

Asprilla, of course, scored a stunning a hat-trick against Barca, and Gouffran is an admirer of the Colombian legend.

He admitted: "Tino Asprilla is another who I admired who scored great goals. …

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