This week marks the curtain call on the career of one of Tyneside’s favourite adopted sons.

Fabricio Coloccini joined KK’s Newcastle from Deportivo La Coruña in August 2008 for a little over £10M, and would go on to make 275 appearances for the Magpies over the next eight years; the majority of those, as club captain.

His time on Barrack Road is recalled fondly by most.  Colo was a thoroughbred ‘ball playing’ centre half. All curly, long locks and a mixture of steel and sophistication.  I also can’t think of any other player who was so regularly invited home to see the Mrs by the SJP faithful!

I’m honoured to write this, as he was one of my favourite ever United players.  Some footballers just click with you.  His time here was not without it’s periods of difficulty, culminating in a loss of form, but I choose to remember a lad from Córdoba who became a fierce advocate of the black & white cause.  I’d love to see a 28 year old version of him slot back in to our current back line.  He’d be most welcome.

My favourite moments of his in black & white were a couple of the half dozen goals he notched for us.  The first, a brilliantly taken late equaliser at the Gallowgate End versus Tottenham Hotspur marked his 100th appearance (and him going absolutely mental), the second, a header in the Championship which gave us a crucial 1-0 win away at Cardiff City in the Championship.  I have a particular affinity with certain United players who remained at St James’ following relegation.  I’m not talking about the rubbish ones with nowhere else to go, but those with much better opportunities available elsewhere.  Fabricio, a full Argentinian international fell squarely into that latter category back in the summer of 2009.

He was also someone I got to know pretty well.  By chance, my eldest son, Jamie happened to be at the same primary school as his two kids.  You could instantly tell he was just a sound, down to earth guy.  As you can imagine, there were many requests for photos etc at the school gates.  He always obliged happily and didn’t mind a chat with the plethora of Mams and Dads.

One thing that sticks in my mind, was his pride in playing for Newcastle.  It was clearly bittersweet for him though. On one hand, he loved the club and supporters, but as an aspiring professional sportsman, he vented his mystified frustration at the owner’s obvious lack of ambition to me on more than one occasion.  He also didn’t mind doling out the odd freebie ticket & I still can’t thank him enough for those Bruges extras.

His first footballing love was San Lorenzo, back home in his native Argentina.  By the mid 2010’s, his wife had already returned home, and although it was clearly a wrench, the pull of South America, his family and team there was finally too much.  He left these shores and returned there in July 2016, playing at their home, El Nuevo Gasómetro until very recently.  His final move was to Buenos Aires outfit, Aldosivi this year but only made a couple of appearances before at the ripe old age of 39, deciding to call it a day.

It’s a game of opinions, and some may disagree, but he’ll always be in my top NUFC XI.  Best of luck for the future, Colo….

Playing career – goals in brackets

1998–1999 Boca Juniors 1 (0)

1999–2004 AC Milan 1 (0)

2000–2001 San Lorenzo (loan) 19 (3)

2001–2002 Alavés (loan) 33 (6)

2002–2003 Atlético Madrid (loan) 27 (0)

2003–2004 Villarreal (loan) 32 (1)

2004–2008 Deportivo La Coruña 105 (5)

2008–2016 Newcastle United 275 (6)

2016–2021 San Lorenzo 54 (0)

2021 Aldovisi 2 (0)

2003-2014 Argentina National team 39 (1) 

Nick Clark – @Clark5Nick