Philippe Albert says Newcastle United’s side of the 90s partied as hard as they played: ‘The whole squad went out and stayed out’
Belgian defender Albert suggests the camaraderie at Newcastle in the mid-90s was second-to-none
Football in the 1990s slowly started to become more professional, with a focus on nutrition and recovery creeping into the game amid the influx of new ideas from abroad. At Newcastle United, though, there was always time for a drink.
Former Newcastle defender Philippe Albert explains that the team "worked hard and played hard" during his time at the club, helping him to fit into the squad much quicker than he had anticipated.
Signed by Kevin Keegan from Anderlecht in 1994, the Belgian describes exclusively to FourFourTwo how drinking sessions involved every member of the dressing room, and even goes as far to say the team spirit at the club at that time was unmatched.
"If you join a new club abroad, it’s up to you to adapt and fit in, and that’s what I did," Albert tells FFT. "At Newcastle we had a great time on the pitch and off it. As they say, we worked hard and played hard.
"I played in a testimonial in Belfast a few days after signing, and when we travelled back to Newcastle, we all went to a restaurant and the fun started. In Belgium, I’d go out with one or two close pals; here, the whole squad went out and stayed out – even non-drinkers like Peter Beardsley and the sadly departed Pavel Srnicek.
"We’d start with a few drinks in the Bigg Market, head down to a restaurant on the Quayside, and more often than not end up inside Julie’s nightclub – that was the happening venue back in those days. Every player likes to talk about a good team spirit, but no one did it quite like that Newcastle side."
Albert eventually retired from football in 2000 at the age of 32, a season after he left Newcastle to return to Belgium with Charleroi.
He ran a greengrocers for a number of years, citing his love of fruit and veg as helping him enjoy his career post-football.
"For 11 years, before moving into television, I wanted to experience the real world. I enjoyed life, going about my business each day just like everybody else. And I love eating spinach, to stay strong, and apples."
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Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.