Marc Overmars explains why Newcastle have a special place in his heart

St James Park

The former Arsenal and Netherlands winger has hailed the support of Magpies fans.

Former Arsenal and Netherlands winger Marc Overmars has told the Gunners' official website that he will always have a high opinion of Newcastle United because of the unwavering support of the club's fans.

Overmars scored the opening goal against the Magpies at Wembley in the 1998 FA Cup final as Arsene Wenger's side beat Kenny Dalglish's men to break Geordie hearts and secure a league and cup double.

However, despite playing a role as pantomime villain to Newcastle fans, the 43-year-old remembers the reception he and his teammates received from the opposing supporters as they walked off the pitch at half-time and full-time despite the North East side's defeat.

He explained that the respect the Magpies fans showed him and Arsenal has resonated with him ever since that day, and that Newcastle hold a special place in his heart as a result.

Overmars told Arsenal's official website: "I remember that goal and I had a nice moment as well. When the first half ended and we had to go to the tunnel, all the Newcastle fans were beside our dressing room so I thought they would throw things at me but it didn’t happen.

“It was unbelievable for me to see how much respect they had for our team and they also stood up and applauded us after the match as well.

"That made Newcastle also a special club for me because the support of their team, how they did that even though they couldn’t beat us that day, made me have so much respect for them."

Overmars' goal in the 1998 final was one of the crowning moments of his successful three-year stint with the Gunners before leaving to join Barcelona for a Dutch record fee of £25 million in 2000.

The Dutchman, who played 86 times in an 11-year international career for the Netherlands, scored 40 goals in 141 matches for Arsenal after arriving from Ajax in 1997.

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