Olivier Bernard is an attacking left back who joined United from Lyon in 2000 after a contract dispute with the French club. He quickly forced his way into the Reserves in 2000/01 and looked to be a good player.
Bernard spent a short time on loan at Darlington in March 2001, however an ankle injury cut his appearances for the Quakers. He made a very favourable impression in the early season Reserve team friendlies in 2001, which earned him a first team place in July when he came on as a second half substitute in the Intertoto Cup victory over Sporting Lokeren.
Bernard made his Premiership debut for the Magpies against Blackburn in December and scored in that game to cap off a great year for the Frenchman. He carried on that good form in 2002 and scored another two goals in that campaign, playing 23 games in total in Toon's sucessful season.
However, Bernard was in trouble when West Ham tried to sign him on a free transfer but he was still under contract in the summer of 2002, and he agreed. This was over-ruled by the FA, and he later signed a new three-year contract at St James' Park in July 2002.
Bernard matured as a player in 2002-03 and made the left-back spot his own, playing 42 times for the Magpies, scoring two goals including a calmly-taken winner against Chelsea in March. The Toon Army have taken to Bernard, and if he keeps up his good form, he could be getting a call-up from the French side to make his mark on the international stage.