A Newcastle United Legend and forever in our hearts!

Football FanCast
columnist
Chris Mackin pays tribute to Newcastle United legend,
Nolberto Solano and feels he will always be remembered fondly at St James Park.

As the Cristiano Ronaldo saga hurtles on with the quiet
disposition and level headed calm of Davina on eviction night, Newcastle United
supporters were left alone with their thoughts last week, forced to mourn the
lack of contract renewal for Nolberto Solano at West Ham unaided by hyper
active media coverage, commemorative middle page spreads or pushy relatives
assuring us that they're there if we ever need to talk.

The lack of hoopla greeting his departure from the country
belies his graceful talents as a player but it was ever thus for Solano. Humble and softly spoken, he always seemed
keen to fly somewhere below the radar, seasons like the one in Manchester
United's treble year when he actually matched Beckham for assists left modestly
on an OPTA spreadsheet and not couriered into the chairmen's office by the same
crack team of voluble and expensively suited agents David Bentley would
presumably employ under similar circumstances.
Solano never bothered with all that self aggrandising posturing, which
is why when Real Madrid came sniffing around him with ten million quid and
their usual overly familiar chat up lines he calmly explained that he was with
somebody already and didn't want a drink, thank you very much.

A few months later he was to leave anyway, a rift with Bobby
Robson over international obligations apparently made him surplus; something
which galled when contrasted with Robson's seeming tolerance of a lot of other
things, perhaps he just never fancied him as a player. Fair enough, but it's worth remembering that
whilst lots of wonderful and wholly justified things have been said about Bobby
recently, and we all wish him nothing less that sunshine, happiness and
lollypops for the rest of his days, few backed his stance on Solano.

Newcastle United fans, after all, know more than most about
the amount of raving egomaniacs, persistent cheats and petty thugs polluting
our game and whilst a lot get scribbled about our supposed hostile and fickle
nature, when we get as adorable and talented a player as Solano presented to us
we hold him close to our hearts, wrap our clammy hands around the laces of his
soul, spoil him rotten, and indulge him in sweets before bed time. This might also help explain why his two
non-Newcastle United spells in England were such humming masses of
anticlimactic indifference for everybody involved. The intensity of our feelings for him meant
the empty seats and all encompassing blandness that accompanies your average
Aston Villa home game was always going to seem like a step down for any player
and for their part Villa fans never appeared to warm to him. They, the poor deluded fools, seemed to
favour another of our boys, James Milner, which is a little like preferring
getting punched repeatedly in the stomach to sleeping with a Hollywood movie
star.

We got him back after being forced to instruct Souness on how
to sign talented players using a series of diagrams and visual aids but he was
never going to last long as soon as The Idiot decamped from Bolton and went
around destroying our football club.

Nobby's spell at West Ham all seemed amiable and pleasant enough but it was
fitting that the last we heard from him in England was his sweet contradiction
of Keegan's comments on our slim chances of making the top four. It was unprompted, it felt like a beautiful
fair well and it summed up everything perfect about the man. Loving, lovable
and understated, the pure embodiment of why Sepp Blatter's nonsensical quota
idea must be banished and never heard of again, the man deserves a country
named in his honour. Preferably this
one.