Newcastle United excitement builds ahead of Adidas 'roller-coaster' summer at St James' Park

With beaming smiles Kevin Keegan and Les Ferdinand took their seats in the newly built Gallowgate End with a proud manager unveiling the epitome of a marquee signing.

Ferdinand, kitted out in the impressive new grandad collar Adidas kit, has would lead the line for Keegan's Entertainers. Newcastle were looking like and operating like a team that meant business, on and off the field.

Incredibly, just three years earlier, during a dark chapter in the club's history you would have struggled to even buy a Newcastle shirt at one stage. A botched kit operation saw Newcastle change sponsor from Greenalls to Newcastle Breweries and rather than issue new jerseys, fans were handed an iron on blue star and a black strip to cover up the old North-West beer manufacturers.

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When Newcastle eventually got their act together and had a mid season photo call, there were just a few players on it that would end up playing a part in Keegan's team that would go on to woo the nation. Liam O'Brien, Kevin Scott and goalie Tommy Wright were on that picture, but only a young Lee Clark in the back row would be a significant part in what was to come.

Even the early 1990s, you'd struggle to buy a kit for a while until Keegan's roller-coaster really got under way. By the start of the 1992 season and with former commercial guru Freddie Fletcher on board, a huge order of Newcastle kits was made and the old Umbro shirts flew of the shelves like hot cakes. But it was too little, too late for Umbro.

A walk around Newcastle city centre, ironically, offers the chance to buy a retro version of the Umbro kit that still displays the old Greenalls sponsor. Only those on a nostalgia trip could surely want to own that particular edition of the shirt!

Asics came and went between 1993 and 1995 and did a roaring trade but many a Remington Fuzz Away would also be snapped up as fans had the strange process of shaving "bobbly bits" off their shirts. By the time Adidas arrived in 1995, proudly unveiled by Ant and Dec at St James' Park, Newcastle really looked ready for lift off.

And that's where you hope the club are now as they prepare for the return of the famous German sportswear giants. Not only is the deal worth £40million a year to the coffers as Adidas inject cash into the project, but fans will undoubtedly hoover up this season's new replica kits.

One of the many mistakes Mike Ashley made was replacing Adidas with Puma then Castore. Because the flame never really went out for Newcastle fans and Adidas.

Getting them back is a statement deal. Eddie Howe has already made it clear that a marquee arrival might not be possible in terms of mega millions.

But a statement signing does not necessarily have to cost the earth. Anthony Gordon, Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimaraes have shown that.

And what about the arrival of Kieran Trippier? The arrival of somebody with presence, know-how and experience would equally be worthy of being this summer's headline signing, just like Ferdinand was in 1995.