It is not every day that Scunthorpe fans get the opportunity to taunt a two-time Champions League winner and former Ballon d'Or nominee, but jeers greeted Geremi's final act as a Newcastle United player.

Geremi, somehow, cleared the stand with a close-range effort as the visitors went in search of an equaliser against the Iron at Glanford Park in 2009. Just a few minutes later, the veteran was taken off.

Geremi never played for Newcastle again and the midfielder completed a move to Turkish side Ankaragucu midway through the Magpies' Championship-winning campaign.

Geremi's best days were behind him by the time he rocked up on Tyneside and, all these years later, the 42-year-old admits it is a source of 'regret' that he was not able to deliver during his spell at St James' Park.

"If a player leaves without any titles or success, you cannot be happy because the day that you sign for the club, it is to help the team to get better," he told ChronicleLive.

"At the end of the day, if you don't have that, you just get frustrated. This is me now. I don't know how some people feel but these are my principles

"My principles are when I sign for a team, it's with all my heart to help the team become big. If you leave and you don't achieve that, no, you cannot be happy."

This was not how Geremi imagined things panning out when he joined Newcastle on a free transfer from Chelsea two-and-a-half years previously after winning two Premier League titles under Jose Mourinho.

The newly-appointed Sam Allardyce had told Geremi about his plans to build a new team and take Newcastle into Europe again.

Most importantly, the Newcastle boss could offer Geremi the regular game time that Mourinho could not provide at Chelsea.

"When I decided to leave Chelsea, I spoke to Mourinho," he said. "We had a very good, honest relationship. I said to him, 'Jose, I have an opportunity to go and play in Newcastle. I don't want to stay here because I'm not feeling so happy now. Let me go'.

"The conversations I had with him were always honest. You could see that we respected each other. He was not talking to me like I was just another player. No, the respect was there.

"I said to him, 'I was going' and he said, 'Geremi, I respect you a lot. If you say you want to leave, I will not force you to stay here. Go there but you know you are in my heart.'"

Allardyce liked Geremi's versatility and set-piece delivery and the experienced Cameroonian was also a multilingual leader.

The Newcastle manager handed Geremi the captain's armband and the new arrival was soon nicknamed Mandela by his team-mates because of the statesman-like role he assumed in the dressing room.

Geremi helped convince fellow French speaker Charles N'Zogbia to sign a new long-term deal at the club and, clearly, the utility man relished the responsibility of being Allardyce's skipper.

"That was a big honour because I think Sam saw in me a person who could lead a group of people," he said.

Sam Allardyce appointed Geremi as Newcastle United captain
Sam Allardyce appointed Geremi as Newcastle United captain

"Luckily, I spoke many languages. Maybe a foreign player could come to me when they had a problem and I helped them. It didn't change anything for me - I was just doing what I liked to do.

"I was one of the older players so when the younger players were coming in, I gave them some advice and told them how to become big players because when I came to Newcastle, I had already played for Real Madrid and Chelsea so I was a kind of role model for some of the young players."

Newcastle made a decent start under Allardyce - claiming 17 points from their opening nine games - but Geremi was stripped of the captaincy as the Magpies slid down the table.

However, by the time Geremi returned from the Africa Cup of Nations, in February, Allardyce had been replaced by Kevin Keegan.

Keegan brought Geremi back into the fold but the club legend was on his way just eight months later after Xisco and Nacho Gonzalez were signed without his say-so.

Geremi is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring for Newcastle United against West Ham at Upton Park on April 26, 2008
Geremi is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring for Newcastle United against West Ham at Upton Park on April 26, 2008

Joe Kinnear, Chris Hughton and Alan Shearer all went on to have spells in the hot seat during a chaotic campaign that ended in relegation in 2009.

Geremi is the first to point out that 'a team like Newcastle doesn't deserve that' and 'should not be relegated'.

"But Newcastle fans stick to their club," he said. "This is amazing. It was different to Chelsea. When you go to Newcastle and you see the fans, you realise these are proper fans.

"They love their team and, as a player, you just want to fight for them and make them happy because when you win, they are happy.

"They deserve to have a team who plays at the top and plays in the Champions League. I hope some people can come there and try to bring Newcastle to that level. This is my wish because they have the fans who love their team."

Geremi keeps an eye on his former club's fortunes but currently has his hands full as president of the national union of Cameroonian footballers (SYNAFOC).

Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley

Recent fallout over the long-running takeover saga at Newcastle United hasn't just been the talk of Tyneside - it was the talk of the footballing world.

Now, Steve Bruce must recollect his team and push forward without the change of ownership and new backing.

However, the twists and turns aren't over, with current owner Mike Ashley 'considering all options' after the Premier League rejected the £300m takeover.

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Geremi also sits on the executive board of FIFPRO, the global professional players' union, and the man dubbed 'the minister' by Mourinho is keen to use his experience to help his compatriots.

"One day does not pass when a player does not come to me and say, 'Geremi, I do not have anything to eat' or 'Geremi, there's nothing in my house' because they have not been paid," he added.

"They are still young and they play football because they want to become professional players but, also, to survive, to make some money. But there has been no championship here in Cameroon for a year now.

"Where I came from, I saw a lot of battles and I have been in battles and have worked very hard to reach the level that I reached.

"I always think, 'What can I do to help those that don't have this chance?' That is what I've wanted to do all my life, to fight for them."