Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

A figure from Newcastle United’s distant past may be the man to lead them into a bold new era and, one thing’s for sure, if Matias Almeyda does get the job he’ll surely leave the St James’ Park faithful feeling more optimistic than after his last visit. 

Inter Milan were the visitors in November 2002, travelling to Tyneside for a Champions League group-stage, second-phase fixture. Yes, there were two group stages back then – and players think they’re overworked now. 

Newcastle Just Sacked Steve Bruce For… ROONEY?!

Newcastle Just Sacked Steve Bruce For… ROONEY?!

Newcastle’s prospects rapidly diminished following a fifth-minute red card for the volatile Craig Bellamy. The Magpies found themselves 3-0 down after a nightmare first half – one perhaps best remembered for Almeyda’s 25-yard scorcher. 

Plucking a high ball out of the night sky with a balletic first touch, the Argentina international swapped his paintbrush for a power drill, thumping the ball into Shay Given’s net so hard it bounced back out again. 

It was the pick of the goals in a thumping 4-1 win for the Nerazzurri.

Remarkably, that was the only time Almeyda found the net in Inter’s colours – and one of just 11 goals he managed during a playing career that saw him win 11 trophies in two countries while securing the 1999 Serie A player of the year award. 

See his goal here:

Almeyda the coach, however, is proving just as talented and successful as Almeyda the player.  

Is Matias Almeyda the man for Newcastle United?

There’s a reason why, according to Tuttomercatoweb, the 47-year-old from south of Buenos Aires has emerged as one of the surprise candidates to replace Steve Bruce in the Newcastle dugout – although it looks for all the world as though the job is Paulo Fonseca’s to lose.  

Two promotions from Argentina’s second tier, with River Plate and Banfield, were impressive enough but at Guadalajara in Mexico the now San Jose Earthquakes coach really displayed his tactical chops, winning five trophies in three years including the 2018 Concacaf Champions League. 

Newcastle supporters have already seen what Almeyda was capable of on the pitch. Are they about to witness what he can do in the dugout?

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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