Despite what you may hear emanating from Tees-side, the first Brazilian to play in English football strutted his stuff at St James’ Park. Mirandinha arrived from Palmeiras in August 1987, summoned by Toon Manager Willie McFaul to push the side that bit closer to glory.
United splashed a then-record £575,000 for his services, persuaded by a 52 goal haul in the season before his migration to North East. Something of a wanderer, he has previously played for several clubs, including Botafogo and Santos.
His record of 300 goals in South American football had won the diminutive dribbler an International honours. Mirandinha won his first cap for Brazil International side at Wembley and scored in a 1-1 draw against England.
But as autumn turned to winter, he failed to reproduce that form with any regularity in the mid-season mud. He also appeared to have difficulty settling, yet the first season he graced the side, they hit heights of eight in the top flight. He also numbered penalty taking among his skills, and was potentially lethal with any kind of dead ball situation, a typically Brazilian player.
After another, less successful season during which McFaul pack his bags, new manager Jim Smith, who understandably gave the Brazilian less leeway than the man who’d first brought him in, decided to dispense with his services.
Yet, the magic touches he displayed in his brighter moments remained long in the mind of appreciative supporters.
Whether Mira the Magpies could have integrated better – he clashed with Paul Gascoigne on the pitch when Newcastle played Monaco in a friendly match – could have been down to his team-mates as much as himself.
In flashes, Mirandinha gave glimpses of his undoubted skill, and unknowingly, he gave Faustino Asprilla, Nolberto Solano and Claudio Caçapa – the next generations of South American stars to come to St James’ Park – a benchmark to surpass.
Mirandinha Fact Files
|Full name||Francisco Ernami Lima de Silva|
|Date of birth||July 2, 1959|
|Place of birth||Sao Paolo, Brazil|
|Height||5 ft 8 in|
|Newcastle United Appearances|
|1987-1988||Newcastle Utd.||54 (20)|