Cole recalls emotional return to Tyneside
United legend and former Newcastle player Andy Cole explains why a recent return to St James' Park "choked" him up...
You still get a great reception when you go back up to the North East, don't you? "Yeah, I do. I was fortunate when I went up last season and was inducted into the Hall of Fame up there. The reception I got then, it really choked me. Because sometimes when you leave a football club, there is a lot of nonsense said about why you left and whatever. It was a bit like that when I first left. But, now, I think they understand it and the reasons why I left Newcastle in the end. So now I get a very good reception there." What do you think about Newcastle as a whole these days? “It is tough. I think Benitez did a fantastic job there/ We don't know the ins and outs, regarding whether he was given finances to buy players. With Brucey going in, we can all stand here and honestly say it was going to be a very tough job for him and that is what is happening so far. He has brought in a few players. But, for me, sitting there and looking at Newcastle, I always believed it was going to be a difficult season for them after Benitez left the club. Knowing Steve, the way he is, he will try to get the best out of the team and get Newcastle in a better position.” This is one of Bruce's biggest challenges, isn't it? “Yeah, definitely. It started really hard for him straightaway when the punters were not 100 per cent behind you. That is difficult and if you are not getting the results, that makes it even harder as well. But Brucey, know the way he is, he will get his head down and he can turn it around for them.” The visit of United, though, could lift them? “One hundred per cent. Any team that plays Manchester United, they are always going to raise their game, regardless of the position Manchester United are in. Everyone wants to beat us, as if to say they are going rub your noses in it a little bit more. I think everyone at Manchester United will know that and appreciate that come the weekend.” The place will be jumping, as you know... “It is bouncing. I got asked this question the other day and I always say it is one of the best stadiums to play there. When things are going well for Newcastle and the fans get behind that team, it is a really special place to play football.”