‘Greatest feeling’: Former Newcastle striker reflects on surprise Magpies move

Matthew Chivers November 10, 2020
‘Greatest feeling’: Former Newcastle striker reflects on surprise Magpies move
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Finnish striker Shefki Kuqi has described being signed by Newcastle United as “one of the greatest feelings” in his life, speaking to Chronicle Live.

In the twilight of his career at 34 years old, the Finland international signed for Newcastle from Swansea City in 2011. The move followed the departure of Andy Carroll from the Magpies to Liverpool.

Despite only being at St James’ Park for three months, Kuqi grew fond of the city and Newcastle fans.

Surprise move

Kuqi joined as a free agent from Swansea as his contract expired with the Welsh club at the end of the January 2011 transfer window.

Kuqi went on to make only six appearances for the Magpies, all of them from the bench.

Kuqi said: “It was quite strange. I had a phone call to say Newcastle might be interested but sometimes, until it is done, you can’t really believe it’s happening.

“I always remember I was with my missus and Alan Pardew phoned me and said ‘listen, I want you to be here tomorrow’.

“It was a really great feeling. I got in the car the next morning. I had to be there for 11am, leaving from Swansea to go to Newcastle is some feeling.”

Kuqi – man of many clubs

The Finn also played for Blackburn Rovers and Fulham in the Premier League. In total, he made 50 appearances in England’s top division, scoring seven goals.

After leaving Newcastle in summer 2011, Kuqi moved to Oldham Athletic where he made 49 appearances, scoring 16 goals.

Kuqi’s most prolific spell in England came when playing for Ipswich Town from 2003 to 2005. He scored 31 goals in 80 appearances.

At the beginning of his career Kuqi played for Finnish sides Mikkelin Palloilijat and HJK Helsinki.

During his time at HJK, Kuqi played in the Champions League, UEFA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup.

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Graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2019, and has since become a qualified NCTJ journalist, studying at News Associates in Manchester.