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02/01/2004

NUFC fans' reaction to Nikos' transfer.

NUFC fans' reaction to Nikos' transfer.

Confirmation was received on Friday that Greek international defender Nicos Dabizas had joined Leicester City on a free transfer, after passing a medical and agreeing a six month deal to the end of the season with the Foxes. Dabs joins up with Les Ferdinand, Steve Howey and Keith Gillespie in something of an ex-Magpies reunion at the Walkers Stadium.And although our Boxing Day game has already been and gone, Dabizas should get a good reception when Leicester are up on Tyneside at the start of February for the return game.It's to be hoped that the pace of Craig Bellamy could be back by then to test out the less-than-sprightly legs of Howey and Dabs with colleague Matt Elliott also not exactly a spring chicken at 35.

Having said that, Dabizas has been a fine servant to United since he signed for Kenny Dalglish for £2m back in March 1998. He played 176 times for us and scored a healthy 14 times.

Some of his most memorable times in a black and white (and blue) shirt are as follows:

1st goal: Chelsea (h) 1997-98. A full-length diving header a couple of games before our FA Cup Final against Arsenal. Dabs played at Wembley and was booked but almost gave us late hope with a header that hit the bar.

Gullit era: Nicos scored the winner in the home leg against Partizan Belgrade and followed that up with the first away goal for new boss Ruud Gullit in the 5-1 demolition of Coventry.

Red cards: The first of four dismissal followed in a 3-0 humiliation at Highbury before a memorable late equaliser at Middlesbrough - coming off the bench to bullet a header that made it 2-2.

Dabs then saw red again at the Valley and was memorably dismissed in the 5-1 mauling at Man United when Steve Clarke was in charge while Bobby Robson was being lined up to replace the departed Gullit.


Bobby dazzler: Nick the Greek then enjoyed something of a purple patch under Robson. He scored the winner in a 2-1 over Spurs after getting the equaliser the previous week at Watford. He was again on target in the 6-1 FA Cup stuffing of Spurs and the 4-1 thumping of Sheffield United in the same competition.

The goals kept coming and when he got our fifth in the 5-0 win over Southampton it was his sixth goal in just 12 games.

Knee bother: Dabizas suffered horrendous knee ligament damage in our second game of the 2000/01 season at home to Derby and only managed nine games - returning in mid-April.

Derby delight: But the best was still to come and in the 2001/02 season Nicos wrote himself into Geordie folklore. He had already scored in a fantastic 4-1 win at the Smoggies and had got our third in the 4-3 home win over Man United. Then in February Dabs got onto the end of a Laurent Robert free-kick at the Stadium of Plight to head home the match-winner and then unforgettably celebrated bare-chested in front of the delirious away fans.

He's off again: It could only be a downward path from then on, and another dismissal in a disastrous 5-2 defeat at Blackburn and a spectacular own goal at home to Spurs are probably the last memories we have of Dabs in the black and white.

A car crash during the summer probably didn't help his cause too much and while he still figured at international level for Greece, even an injury and suspension crisis at the heart of our defence still didn't get him a place on our bench.

Nevertheless he was definitely one of Kenny Dalglish's better buys and a loyal servant to four different managers in almost six years on Tyneside.

Good luck and thanks for the memories....


NUFC.com

 

232 Appearances in England (175 for Newcastle United, 18 for Leicester in the Premier League and 39 for Leicester in the Championship). Total League-Cup-Europe appearances 550. National Team appearances 70. Goals total 40.