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Popular Pavel Czechs In

Written by Newcastle Utd

Pavel Srnicek was back on Tyneside this week - and hopes to visit again with his current employers in European competition next season

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

To paraphrase the t-shirt he proudly wore following Newcastle's Division One title win in 1992/93, Czech-born Pavel Srnicek will always be an adopted Geordie and he received a typically warm welcome when he returned to St. James' Park on Wednesday.

He was one of the star names who attended the inaugral Newcastle United Foundation Hall of Fame dinner, a night which saw the 'Entertainers' side for whom he kept goal rightly remembered.

Legends like Alan Shearer, Faustino Asprilla, Peter Beardsley and Bob Moncur were also in attendance but it was the popular goalkeeper who guests were clamouring to have their photograph taken at the black tie event, which was held in the stylish Bamburgh Suite.

Indeed, nufc.co.uk had to wait patiently to catch up with the 45-year-old - who now lives in the Czech capital and works as a goalkeeping coach at Sparta Prague - as he was beseiged by suited and booted supporters.

But he admitted his near 2,000-mile round-trip was well worth the effort as he caught up with old friends like John Beresford, Rob Lee, Darren Peacock and Paul Bracewell at an enjoyable evening hosted by Jeff Stelling and supported by the Malhotra Group.

"It brings back the memories and you find out what people are doing these days," he smiled. "We chat and have a few drinks and enjoy the night.

"And when it's an occasion like this and the people come back who were involved like I was, I get a great welcome because obviously I'm not living here and I only come here occasionally. It's always nice to see the fans again because they were so great to me when I was here."

If Srnicek had his way, he would have been visiting Tyneside again in just a couple of weeks with his current employers in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

However, while Alan Pardew's side have progressed to the last eight, where they will face Benfica over two legs, the Czech side were edged out by Chelsea in the round of 32, losing 2-1 on aggregate. 

"I've been watching Newcastle, particularly in Europe, because until the last round we were with Newcastle in the competition," he said.

"Obviously we lost to Chelsea but I was hoping we could beat Chelsea and maybe meet somewhere. It didn't happen this year, but maybe it will happen next year.

"But I've been very impressed with what Newcastle have done in Europe. Whatever people say about the competition, it's a hard competition and there are some good teams in it. And Newcastle are one of them."