‘He was a joy’: when Tino Asprilla lit up Newcastle 25 years ago

The ‘octopus’ arrived from Parma in 1996, giving Newcastle fans – and clubbers at Julie’s and Legends – something to remember

By Harry De Cosemo for The Set Pieces

“When I think of him, I can’t help but smile,” says Warren Barton. Tino Asprilla arrived at Newcastle United from Parma in 1996 and his introduction to life on Tyneside is almost as iconic as his time on the pitch. Through a raging, snowy blizzard, the Colombian emerged in a huge fur coat. It was a film star entrance for an 18-month blockbuster Hollywood couldn’t write.

Everything Asprilla did was box office. He is among the most memorable cast members from a story frozen in time for Newcastle supporters. Kevin Keegan and his team of entertainers, who surrendered a 12-point lead at the top of the Premier League to Manchester United, are remembered as one of the best sides never to claim the title. In many ways, their failure only adds to the romanticism.

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