Random 1990s Footballer Tuesday: #32 Temuri Ketsbaia
Name: Temuri Ketsbaia
In his 90s prime for: Newcastle United
Lowdown: After starting his career with Dinamo Sukhumi, Ketsbaia soon moved to the most famous Georgian team Dinamo Tblisi. After two years at Tblisi, where he won the league title, AEK Athens cam offering to take the midfielder to Greece, and he duly obliged. After scoring an impressive 24 goals in 84 league games in Greece (and in addition winning the Greek Cup), Newcaslte made an offer to the Georgian on a free transfer. He arrived at Newcastle in 1997.
One of his first acts on Tyneside was to score the extra time goal against Croatia Zagreb to ensure that Newcastle qualified for the group stages of the Champions League. Although he played in both the 1998 and 1999 FA Cup finals (playing just behind Alan Shearer as a support striker in defeats to Arsenal and Manchester United) Ketsbaia played in something of periphery role at St James’ Park. He became increasingly frustrated as being labelled as a ‘super sub’, unable to get a satisfactory number of starting appearances.
He was eventually allowed to leave for Wolves, where he promptly scored a free kick on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday. However, again through not always being first choice, Temuri was allowed to leave after just one season.
Finally, the two best things about the Georgian:
1. His name fits perfectly to the tune of Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon. He played in England ten years to early.
2. THAT crazy celebration (video above). After scoring against Bolton, the midfielder removed his shirt, sort of tried to take his shorts off before pushing away team mate Phillipe Albert and kicking the sh*t out of the advertising hoardings. A strange one.
Now: After leaving Wolves, Ketsbaia made the strange move to Dundee, where he made 22 league appearances, scoring an impressive six goals from central midfield.
He then moved back to Anorthosis Famagusta, and became player manager in January 2004. His speall as manager, ending in 2009 over a disagreement about the club owner, was one of the most successful in the club’s history. In 2008/9 they became the first Cypriot team to qualify for the Champions League group stages, beating Panathinaikos 3-1 and drawing home and away against Werder Bremen.
After leaving Anorthosis, Ketsbaia took over as coach of his national team Georgia, where he has lost just five of his 17 games in charge.