December 29, 2015 was a sad day for everyone associated with Newcastle United, as news emerged that iconic goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek had passed away, aged just 47.
The Newcastle legend suffered a heart attack while out for a jog nine days earlier in Ostrava, which saw him placed in an induced coma, from which he never recovered.
Pav made 111 appearances for his beloved Newcastle, keeping 43 clean sheets, and conceding just 110 goals in total, across all competitions, which is less than a goal a game (0.99).
He is loved by everyone who watched him play, and had an infectious smile that endeared him to football fans around the world.
He had a great rivalry with teammate Shaka Hislop, which saw them share the goalkeeping duties during the 1995/1996 season, Srnicek having played 38 games the previous season, before Hislop’s arrival at the club.
Srnicek left Newcastle to return to his previous club, Banik Ostrava, on a free transfer in July 1998, before eventually returning to England just four months later with Sheffield Wednesday.
After brief spells at other clubs, in England, Italy and Portugal, Pavel made an emotional return to his second home, Newcastle, in 2006, as cover for Shay Given.
It seemed appropriate that Pav should retire as a Newcastle player
The amiable Czech managed just two Premier League appearances during that time, coming on as a third minute substitute for the injured Shay Given, and keeping a clean sheet in a 3-0 Newcastle win.
He subsequently played the full 90 minutes in the following game, which Newcastle lost 2-1 to Bolton.
He may have been brought in as cover and back-up, but it seemed apt that the fan-favourite had the opportunity to retire from football as a Newcastle United player.
As most fans know, he was given his own Pavel Is A Geordie song, and it was exactly as he saw himself – an adopted Geordie.
He will always be remembered as such, and will have a special place in the hearts of Newcastle fans who were fortunate enough to watch him play.
Every day until Christmas, Geordie Boot Boys will bring you another incredible Newcastle moment as we countdown the 25 most iconic Toon moments of the decade.