Stevenage's fans revelled in riling their celebrated opponents
By Mike Henson
It had all the ingredients of an English football fairytale, but the last FA Cup meeting between Stevenage and Newcastle was a stranger and more bitter encounter than cup romantics could have foreseen.
In the fourth round of the 1998 competition, the two sides transformed the stock winter storyline of grateful part-timers taking on Premier League aristocracy into a mix of insults, publicity stunts and mutual indifference set across two nip-and-tuck matches.
Newcastle, with the likes of Alan Shearer, Faustino Asprilla and David Ginola on the payroll, had finished second in the Premier League in the previous season.
By contrast Stevenage had finished third in the Conference with a side assembled at a cost of about £16,000.
Current Barnet boss Paul Fairclough was Stevenage manager at the time while two of defender Steve Howey's 191 Newcastle appearances came in the tie.
Ahead of the teams' third-round meeting on Saturday, they spoke to BBC Sport about their recollections of their encounter 13 years ago.
Fairclough: "I don't think Kenny rebuffed me after the match but, put it this way, he went inside very quickly and I never saw him again until the replay.
"He also mentioned the balls were not quite right, when in fact his autograph was on all the balls because he was endorsing that particular brand.
"I don't know how it leaked out, it certainly wasn't from our camp, but the media guys jumped on that straight away."
Green added that his team's centre-back Mark Smith, had the £15m Shearer "in his back pocket" - a piece of post-match analysis that went down particularly badly on Tyneside.
Fairclough: "I know we sold quite a lot of Stevenage shirts to Middlesbrough fans who were walking around Newcastle taunting the Newcastle fans."
After Newcastle's culture shock at Broadhall Way, Stevenage arrived at St James' Park to find a copy of fax sent by Graham Roberts, manager of fellow Conference side Yeovil, to the Magpies. The message wished Newcastle luck for the match and criticised Stevenage's attitude throughout the tie.
Fairclough: "It was just a bit surprising to find that. I was disappointed particularly as Graham Roberts had played for me in the past.
"I'll never know if it was left deliberately, but we weren't particularly interested in that, we were just so pleased we were there."
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.