Andy Goode says he will take nothing but fond memories from his time in the North East as he prepares for one final outing against Wasps on Sunday.
The 3pm ‘Goode Sunday’ kick-off will be his last as a Falcon as his three-month contract reaches an end, the former England fly-half saying: “You want to have a positive impact wherever you go.
“Obviously I’m never going to have appositive impact with the strength and conditioning coaches, but among the lads and just playing and understanding the game, sitting and talking with players, I can have an input.
“I can help young guys with a bit of game management, and a lot of it is just giving them confidence. Sometimes you sit in a team meeting and it’s all a bit quiet, and you need a voice talking to the boys. It is not all drip-fed from the coaches, it has to come from the players as well and there are good leaders within this group. Mike Delany’s injury left a bit of a void in that regard, and that is the gap I have tried to fill.”
Having starred in victories over Harlequins, Northampton and Leicester during his time on Tyneside, Goode said: “When I first arrived we were rooted to the bottom of the table but nobody was talking about relegation. I know it’s a cliché but that is hand on heart. It has never been talked about despite everyone else throwing that word around, and for me it has been evident that we are getting good players back from injury and the coaches are getting their point across.
“We are giving the players the confidence to back themselves, and a guy like Simon Hammersley has been outstanding at full-back. He kept getting in at fly-half at times and I was like ‘mate, get yourself out on the wing and have a crack’. Sometimes it just needs something like that to bring a bit of confidence, and Hammers has attacked really well. Some players can think about the game too much rather than just relying on their own talents.
“They perhaps needed someone to point them in the right direction, but what I say to them is that not every decision I make is the right one. If you go through it with conviction you can make a bad decision into an OK or a good decision, just by being convincing in what you are doing. Teams can sometimes get lost a bit if there is nobody telling them what they want, and one thing I will always do is shout at people to tell them what to do. It means I don’t have to do too much myself!”
He added: “I have felt at home here since day one. They have not trained me too hard, I have enjoyed that, and had I been getting flogged day in day out it might have been a little bit different. Everyone has understood the nature of the deal, the nature of me and where I was four months into retirement, and I will look back with fond memories.
“The fans here have been amazing, the match-day experience here is great and I look back on it with a smile on my face. It would be nice to come up and have a fair few beers with the supporters in the South Stand on the final day of the season, cheering on the lads. Fingers crossed by then that we are in control of our own destiny.”
Tickets for Sunday’s game (3pm) are available by CLICKING HERE , calling 0871 226 60 60 or from the stadium ticket office in person. Supporters are advised the ticket hotline and stadium box office are open on Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and on Sunday from 9am..