We had the pleasure of sitting down with Newcastle United great Rob Lee between some intense foosball action in the partypoker lounge at the WPT National in Newcastle to do what men do best (no, not that), chat about sports.
Pacquiao or Mayweather
He, like most people, wants Manny Pacquiao to beat Floyd Mayweather senseless tomorrow morning but understands the task may be too great for even the legendary Filipino to overcome.
Newcastle United – dismal state of affairs
Rob, who scored 44 goals in 303 appearances for the Toon, enjoyed his best years as a footballer in Tyneside and said the current state of affairs at St. James’ Park is as gloomy as a rainy Newcastle day.
“We’ve all known it’s been coming for a few years,” Rob said. “The problem has always come from the top.”
The top he is referring to is none other than Mike Ashley. There is no loved lost between The Toon faithful and the business magnate and Rob can see why.
While Ashley is a savvy and switched-on business man, Rob says no one that has that puts their self-interest above the good of the collective should ever run a football club, especially one with such a loyal and passionate following.
“He does it for his own benefit,” Rob remarked. “To have a successful team in this league you need to buy good players – good English players. It’s a great place to play football and the people will love you as long as you put that black and white shirt on and work your nuts off.
“Half the players aren’t good enough and the other half don’t want to be here.”
Couldn’t have put in better ourselves, Rob.
The two most talented players Rob played with are Peter Beardsley and David Ginola, both of whom possessed vision other players could only dream of.
He did say, however, that what set the two players apart was work ethic, and we think you can guess who left it all on the pitch and who didn’t. We’ll give you a hint. It’s not the player with dreamy long hair and wavy locks, the enigmatic character almost as renowned for his shampoo ads as his ingenious footballing presence.
The Newham-born 49-year-old said Patrick Viera and Emmanuel Petit were the toughest midfield duo he ever came up against, even harder and more dogged than Paul Scholes and Roy Keane.
You knew you’d been in a gruelling battle after a full 90 minutes against those two uncompromising stalwarts, Rob said.
Putting an England shirt on was the pinnacle of the midfielder’s career as nothing, he said, could ever hold a candle to donning the colours of your nation. Rob went on to earn 21 England caps, scoring two goals.
Now what about poker, Rob?
Teddy Sheringham and Tony Cascarino are, by a country mile, are the best footballer poker players he’s ever had the pleasure – or displeasure depending on how you look at it – of playing against.
To sharpen his table skills, Rob is off to a celebrity poker tournament in Glasgow during the summer.
Off the top of his head, Rob can’t think of any similarities between poker and football so, like Oasis so poignantly put it, we’re gonna throw it back to you.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on Newcastle United, Rob Lee and whether or not similarities do exist between the two sports.