When Damien Duff moved from Chelsea to Newcastle United for a cut-price £5 million deal, it was considered to be a coup. Duff had won two league titles under Jose Mourinho and there were a host of other clubs wanting his signature. But within a matter of months, familiar injury problems resurfaced and Duff’s time on Tyneside quickly became a nightmare. It was a miserable three-year spell capped off with the infamous own goal at Aston Villa on the final day which condemned the Magpies to relegation. Duff recently spoke about his time in Newcastle and the torrid time he had there.
Damien Duff said “When it’s going well, Newcastle is an amazing place. They live for their football, I love passion and all. I didn’t play particularly well up there, I had a lot of injury problems and I just hid in my house for three years because I got slaughtered everywhere I went. I couldn’t leave the house, I was getting abused. I wouldn’t change it for the world, it was character building, but I couldn’t walk down the street. It happened with two different geezers walking down to Wagamama. Once on my own, once with my cousin. This geezer just started following me, screaming his head off going ‘Duff you’re f*****g s**t man’ just the whole way. I walk into Wagamama thinking he’s gone and sat down. Next thing he’s at the top of the restaurant screaming ‘Duff you’re f*****g s**t man’. The restaurant was full, it was the most mortifying thing ever. When it happened the second time in Wagamama with a different guy following me down the street, following me into the restaurant, and doing the same thing, I was like you have to get out of here. This club ain’t for you. If I passed the ball backwards, I started getting booed. Newcastle fans saw me a sign and probably thought this man may be electric, every time he gets the ball he’s going to take on two, three or four. Maybe my game was evolving – getting worse, call it what you want – but I’d lost that yard and was kind of figuring out how to change my game. That’s probably where Fulham benefited. I was never really on top form when I was up there. After a couple of months I was thinking, they ain’t having me here. Then I got a bad injury and that was it. “