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Adopted Geordie: Sticky end for Spiderman caught up in Newcastle’s web of mistakes

Adopted Geordie: Sticky end for Spiderman caught up in Newcastle’s web of mistakes - Newcastle United

When Jonas Gutierrez joined Newcastle in 2008, most fans knew him just as ‘that bloke with the Spiderman mask’, but he became an instant hit with the “Geordie Nation” and the love was clearly mutual.

His energetic displays up and down the wing in a black and white shirt endeared him to supporters, and never has the phrase ‘he would run through brick walls for his team’ been more apt than when talking about the Argentine.

But his career hit that proverbial brick wall in 2013 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and it was following that lowest-of-low points, that things started to turn sour for him on Tyneside.

The disease was discovered by total accident, after the player collided with Bacary Sagna during a game against Arsenal, and the persistent pain following it, led to the grim findings.

He kept quiet about the illness, and it was only when a further diagnosis that the cancer had spread, that he went public, having been missing from the Newcastle side for over a year, and the club refusing to comment on why.

The outpouring of support from fellow professionals, cancer survivors and fans around the world were plentiful and heartfelt.

Having had his testicle removed in October 2014, the player had a brief spell back, including a loan period at Norwich, before the new set-back.

Still the player refused to be beaten, and sure enough, after his rehabilitation in Argentina, he returned to Newcastle and scored one of the goals of a crucial 2-0 win in the last game of the season to preserve Newcastle’s Premier League status.

Despite being a hero to the many fans who worshipped him during his time at Gallowgate for years, he was told — during his recuperation — that he would not be offered a new contract at the club, and he did not play the number of games that would have triggered an automatic extension.

It seemed a callous way to repay the loyalty shown by a player who chose to stay at the club when they were relegated to the Championship in 2010, and was not lost on the fans who took a swipe at the club over the situation.

But the affinity between Gutierrez and the supporters never waned, and he had the full support of the Toon Army when he took Newcastle to an employment tribunal, who upheld his claim — that the club had dropped him due to his cancer diagnosis.

He took to social media to voice his displeasure at the club’s owner Mike Ashley after the ruling.

“You don’t understand Newcastle,” he Tweeted. He’s right, he doesn’t. But Gutierrez certainly does.

He may not be a fan of those running the club, but he is a massive fan of the Toon Army, and calls himself one of them, and part of the Geordie Nation.

“We deserved more,” he Tweeted. And there isn’t a Newcastle fan in the world who will disagree with him.

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Article title: Adopted Geordie: Sticky end for Spiderman caught up in Newcastle’s web of mistakes

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