"I made many, many friends back then. Rob Lee, Alan Shearer, Duncan Ferguson, Nobby Solano and Shay Given. There were so many greats in that team. It was a good time for the players to choose to come to Newcastle. Now I don't see too many stars coming to the club. Which players can make the difference? There doesn't seem to be money to spend and the people who run the club are not able or don't want pay the money.
"They never tell us. Things are not so well at the club. They have been relegated twice under the current owner. Yes, they came back and were promoted but they aren't in a good position now. Two teams have gone down and there's only one team left but hopefully they will get the points to avoid going down. I don't think they'll go down. But this situation is not what the fans want, they want to see their side fighting for something, and to play for something. Unfortunately, for many years now they are not able to win anything or at least play to win.
"What happened then and what is happening now is hugely different. At that time we used to challenge for titles and reached to two FA Cup finals. If you compare that to now and possibly winning a trophy you can see they aren't there. Unfortunately, at the moment, the club aren't doing well. The two eras are not comparable. It disappoints me, actually saddens me. I watched the game on TV against Arsenal and it is difficult to watch for me. They create nothing in some games over 90 minutes, Arsenal being a good example of that with just one goal attempt. Defensively they are not so bad. Going forward, they struggle to create many chances.
"They spent a lot of money to try to win a trophy at that time. If you compare it now in modern terms and what they spend it's very different. They wanted to spend money on players then and some very good players came in. The team were trying to win a trophy. Now they don't spend much and are happy to just stay in the Premier League. I signed for the club March after playing for the Georgian national team against England. During this time I came up to St James' Park and signed some months before the season. They went on to finish second and reached the Champions League. When I came the team had a good time and we qualified for the group stages.
"Now if you look at them they are nowhere near qualifying. Remember then there were only two places in the Champions League and now there's four places and they are still too far. When I signed for Newcastle I had a chance to play in the Bundesliga. Kaiserslautern wanted me and were talking to me. I had no regrets though because I wanted to come to England and that for me was very important. I was fortunate to get that opportunity. I was happy to be at Newcastle and it was like a dream come true. I believed it was the best league in the world. Most players wanted to play here then."
"When I return to the city people come up to me and want to share good times. Even when I go to London I still get a Geordie coming up to me and they remember me. It's over 20 years but it's nice to see people who still remember you. They always want to talk about me kicking the life out of the advertising boards! I still remember everything at Newcastle. I lived in a beautiful house and had a great time. Now my daughter will come to Newcastle to study and she will live in the city. For me everything is still clear in my mind. We had a great time in our lives at Newcastle and you don't forget that easily. In life I forget many other things but not Newcastle United and those fans."