Goodbye to John

Last updated : 17 May 2003 By Martyn Elliott

The Dutchman arrived at St James’ Park in an £800,000 deal after making 382 Eredivisie appearances for NEC Breda, but managed only three games for us - all during his first season.

The 33-year-old was Ruud Gullit’s final signing, and to be fair by being a regular in the reserves he contributed more than the likes of Silvio Maric, Alain Goma, Didier Domi and Marcelino.

But thrown straight into the first team on his arrival in England Karelse had two shockers in his first two games, conceding four at Southampton and three against Wimbeldon and promptly found himself dropped.

However in his final game for the club he produced a fine performance in a Frank Dumas inspired rearguard action, as we grabbed a 0-0 draw at Highbury.

Fated to spend the rest of his time on Tyneside as understudy to Shay Given and Steve Harper Karelse has no regrets about his time at Newcastle.

"I've really enjoyed my time here although I've only played a couple of games," he told the Evening Chronicle.

"It's a very big club and to have been part of it for four years makes me very proud. When I came here I'd played 500 games in Holland and expected to play more games but Shay Given and Steve Harper are both excellent goalkeepers.

"It's a massive club and I have no regrets about anything here. I don't regret anything, though from a sporting point of view it didn't go the way I wanted.

"The squad of players here is very close and there has not been one day when I've not wanted to go to training. I always love going to training."

Karelse has no intention of retiring despite a recent run of injuries and hopes to find a Nationwide League club next season.