Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pride and Passion Was Easy for Nikos

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pride and Passion Was Easy for Nikos

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Waugh Sports Writer @CHRISDHWAUGH

IT is more than 14 years since Nikos Dabizas whipped off his shirt and ran off in wild celebration after scoring for Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light - yet for the former Greek international, it remains an "incredible feeling" to this day.

In fact, so special was it for the ex-Magpies centre-back to score against United's bitter rivals in a Tyne-Wear derby, that he has described it as "probably the highlight of my career".

Newcastle's current six-match losing run to Sunderland has led to some supporters questioning whether or not some of the present-day Magpies - and most particularly those from abroad - understand the importance of the derby.

Dabizas certainly did. In a typically tense affair between Newcastle and Sunderland back on February 24, 2002, the Wear-Tyne derby was evenly poised at 0-0 midway through the second half, with neither of the North East rivals really able to make a breakthrough.

Then, from a free-kick, Dabizas lost his marker Patrick Mboma before sneaking into the box and powering a header home.

The 6ft 2in Greek defender tore off his blue Newcastle away shirt to reveal his bare chest, before celebrating passionately.

It was clear that goal was special to him, but does it remain so to this day? When asked about THAT goal 14 years on, Dabizas told Chroniclelive: "It's an incredible feeling - it was (then) and it still it is (now).

"It was probably the highlight of my career. Every time, on every single occasion (I come back), people keep reminding me of that.

"So it's a big thing for me and I think it's a big thing for the club.

"It was a great, great time for the club - not just scoring a goal, but the team was performing and competing for the Champions League.

"So beating our big rivals away from home, scoring the winning goal, it's not a very simple occasion and it's a big thing for me. …

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