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Jonas Gutierrez – The Forgotten Man

Jonas Gutierrez has always had fans in high places.

During his time as Argentina manager, Diego Maradona said Gutierrez’s name was the first on his teamsheet, along with Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano.

That was high praise indeed from the man many hail as the world’s best-ever player, despite Maradona’s obvious faults.

Another whose opinion carries great weight is Messi, who in 2010 said: “The Premier League have not seen it yet but Jonas is one of the best players in the league.

I know you guys have Rooney, Fabregas, Torres and many more stars – but Jonas is as good as any of them. 

He can fire Newcastle to a top-six finish and win the player of the season award above names like Rooney.”

Even Gutierrez’s biggest fans would have to concede Messi – and Maradona, for that matter – was talking nonsense.

However, he has been an excellent servant for Newcastle United.

Brought in from Real Mallorca in 2008, he immediately became a fans’ favourite, with a tireless debut performance at Manchester United ensuring he started on the front foot.

He still had much adapting to do, though, and a chaotic campaign – which included the managerial reigns of Kevin Keegan, Joe Kinnear, Chris Hughton and Alan Shearer – eventually led to relegation.

Gutierrez had still done enough to win a place in the hearts of many fans, but he started the following campaign in distinctly average form.

Newcastle adapted to life in the Championship well, with the likes of Kevin Nolan, Shola Ameobi and Fabricio Coloccini helping them through the early months, but Gutierrez too often went missing in games.

This was an Argentina international, still at the forefront of their plans for the forthcoming World Cup. The Championship should have been child’s play for him.

Eventually, he started to come good after forming a formidable left-side partnership with fellow Spanish speaker Jose Enrique.

He scored a spectacular first goal for the club against Peterborough United after a mazy run during which he beat five players, although he refused to celebrate with his trademark Spiderman mask in protest at rumours which had circulated about his future.

Gutierrez wanted to be at Newcastle – unlike many of the others who had jumped ship the previous summer – and began to show his true worth.

He was a key member of the side which swept its way to the Championship title and back into the Premier League, and for that, he should always be fondly remembered on Tyneside.

Back in the Premier League, his partnership with Enrique continued to flourish, and although he was by no means the star man, Gutierrez had established himself as a firm favourite.

He had his limitations, such as his lack of end product at times, but was an invaluable member of the team due to his ability to link up with Enrique, dribble the team out of danger, win fouls and drift inside onto his right foot when needed.

He never did live up to those heights Messi predicted – in fact, he never got near.

However, Gutierrez provided some lasting memories in black and white, even if his standards slipped alarmingly as the 2012-13 season spiralled out of control.

It became clear he no longer merited a regular starting place, and at the start of the 2013-14 campaign, he lost his spot in the side.

However, he has deserved better than the treatment he has been given in the last 12 months.

Whispers about a clause in his contract entitling him to a year’s extension if he plays a small number of games refuse to go away, and Gutierrez got nowhere near the first-team last season before being loaned out to Norwich City.

He made no impact whatsoever at Carrow Road in an injury-hit spell which eventually led to Norwich’s relegation, and now he has returned to Tyneside, it’s easy to forget he is still a Newcastle player.

Gutierrez is clearly not in Alan Pardew’s plans, but he still has a value. Surely he could be a decent squad member?

If there is a clause in his deal entitling him to another year at St James’s Park if he plays x number of games, surely it can be renegotiated?

Gutierrez is not on Newcastle’s pre-season tour of New Zealand, not working at the training ground and not even taking part in the behind-closed-doors friendlies the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Gabriel Obertan and Gael Bigirimana have been reduced to.

The winger is free to find a new club, and is simply a forgotten man at Newcastle.

It is a real shame, even if his best days are well behind him, and many would say he flattered to deceive even when he was at his peak.

Gutierrez ‘gets’ Newcastle, and always has.

As Messi said in 2010, “Gutierrez told me during the World Cup that, as long as Newcastle stay in the top-flight, he would like to finish his career there.”

He is one of the rare brand of overseas players who made Newcastle their home, and grew to love the place, the club and the people.

Whatever his limitations, he could never be accused of not giving his all, and should be remembered fondly.

He deserved a more fitting ending than this, reduced to a non-playing, non-training member of staff.

Gutierrez is free to find a new club, but he should still have one at Newcastle, at least until the right side comes along.

If possible, United should get rid of the clause he is close to triggering. Gutierrez may be yesterday’s man, but he does not deserve to be an outcast.

Andy C

Andy Carroll – Forever Linked

January 31st 2011. The day Newcastle United sold Andy Carroll for staggering £35m. I was devastated when I heard the news that we were selling a player who had helped us to promotion and had scored such vital goals on our return to the top flight. And in true Newcastle style we didn’t replace him that transfer window which made Carroll’s move to Merseyside even worse.

It’s now July 2014 and Newcastle United are once again linked with a move for Carroll, like we have nearly every transfer window since he left. At least we know early on this time that a move back to his boyhood club will not materialise after Carroll’s latest injury.
Would I have Carroll back?

I probably would if he could ever sort his fitness problems out and the fee was below £10m as let’s face it he has hardly pulled up any trees since his move to Liverpool and the subsequent move to West Ham. When you look back it’s quite astonishing how we even got £35m for the player.

The problem with Carroll is he cannot stay fit and he only signed for West Ham for £15m last year so they’d most likely not be willing to take a loss if a club (not just Newcastle) made an offer.

I have always said that I don’t believe that the once NUFC no9 will ever have the same hunger to score for another team compared to that drive he had during his time on Tyneside but saying that I don’t think he would be the right striker to fill our gap in the last third of the pitch. He hasn’t scored near enough goals since his departure, and his inability to remain fit for the duration of the season is a massive factor for a potential return him and that’s not eve beginning to mention his rapid increase in wages since he joined Liverpool ..

I honestly think he will be back in the black and white striped shirt one day but not for a few more years just yet.

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Jack Colback – NUFC On A Higher Level

Jack Colback is just one of six new faces to arrive on Tyneside this transfer window after making the rare switch between rivals Sunderland and Newcastle. The switch left a bitter taste amongst the SAFC fans and even the club seemed to get their knickers in a twist after Colback decided to switch stripes. The red and whiters issued a club statement which read more like a spiteful and twisted letter from an ex girlfriend.

Colback  told The Sun how Alan Pardew was a major factor in joining his boyhood club.

“Before I joined he was telling me about the type of players he wanted and he has practised what he preached,”

“He has brought in some quality players to add to the quality that was already in the squad. De Jong  has looked really high quality in training. His finishing has been brilliant & he looks a class act.

“I’m sure the Newcastle fans can’t wait to see him and the rest of the new signings come the new season.”

Colback, 24 then went on to twist the knife in Wearsides back by saying

“It is important in every player’s career to play at as high a level as they can and at Newcastle I’ve got a chance to be part of a team really looking to go places,”

“If you ask the manager himself, he’ll tell you he is looking to really go for it this season and trying to push Newcastle to where we should be, which is high up the table.”

Colback who played the “Derby Day Villain” during Newcastle 0-3 loss to Sunderland  last season seems to be saying all the right things to get the Geordie faithful onside.  Lets hope he hits the ground running once the season starts and manages to get more fans altering their opinion on the local lad.

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NUFC v Sydney FC – Match Report

Sydney FC 0-4 Newcastle United.

(de Jong 19, Riviere 26, Yanga-Mbiwa 33, Armstrong 83)
Newcastle United won their first preseason match of the season taking on A League outfit Sydney FC. First half goals from Siem de Jong, Emmanuel Riviere and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa gave the tourists a comfortable start with young striker Adam Armstrong coming off the bench late on to add the fourth.

The build up to the match had been darkened by the tragic news of the plane crash in the Ukraine where two of the loyalist Newcastle United fans sadly lost their lives. John Alder and Liam Sweeney were travelling to New Zealand when the awful event happened.

In tribute to John and Liam, the team wore black armbands, had their names on the back of the tops they wore in the warm and observed a minute silence before kick-off. In addition, manager Alan Pardew and Fabricio Coloccini laid a wreath on the seats where the two men were supposed to have sat whilst fans applauded on the 28th and 63rd minute of the game to remember Liam and John as that were how old they were.

BT Sport should be ashamed of their coverage of the tributes to John and Liam having cut out the laying of the wreaths and missing part of the minute silence for the sake of showing adverts. They also failed to mention in commentary the significance of the applauses on the minutes by the fans.

A horrendous error from Sydney’s goalkeeper got Newcastle off to a great start with a miss kick ending up at the feet of Riviere who, instead of shooting, gave the ball to de Jong who shot into basically an empty net. It is now two goals in two appearances for the former Ajax captain. Riviere then had his chance to score on his debut turning the ball in from close range after a cross from Yoan Gouffran. Next up was Yanga-Mbiwa, playing in his less preferred position of right back, the Frenchman strode forward and after what looked to be a weak shot took a deflection off a Sydney player the ball nestled in the back of the net.

After the break changes were made a plenty by both teams and it was two academy graduates that combined for Newcastle get their fourth goal. Adam Campbell played in Armstrong, who cut back inside his marker before poking the ball into the bottom corner to score his first senior goal for the club.

In fairness, Sydney did not really trouble Newcastle but it was encouraging to see a strong side start the game given there were still players on an extended break due to their involvement in the World Cup. Rolando Aarons particularly stood out which is another plus for the academy. Overall, it was a good work out with no injuries, a clean sheet and four goals.

(4-2-3-1) Elliot; Yanga-Mbiwa, Steven Taylor (Satka 76), Coloccini (c) (Campbell 82), Haidara (Dummett 76); Anita, Colback (Abeid 68); Gouffran (Armstrong 76), de Jong (Vuckic 46), Aarons (Ameobi 68); Riviere (Perez 55)

RIP John Alder and Liam Sweeney xx

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The Fallout Continues

It seems like bridges have well and truly been burnt between manager Alan Pardew and Hatem Ben Arfa. The relationship between the pair had been on a downward spiral ending in a few heated clashes throughout the season.

Reports suggested that a dressing room bust up broke out after Newcastle 0-4 defeat to Manchester United, in which Alan Pardew openly blamed Ben Arfa for the teams defeat. Obviously HBA stood his ground and reacted to the manager’s comments allegedly telling Pardew to “Go F*ck Himself” before pointing to once “France’s future captain” Yanga Mbiwa and saying “You’ve ruined him”. Allegedly the pair had to be separated by Newcastle veteran Shola Ameobi, who dragged HBA out of the changing room.

Let’s be honest though, Hatem had a point regarding Yanga. He arrived on Tyneside with a bright future ahead of him and a glowing reference from the French media and fans, but after a decent spell alongside Mike Williamson at centre back he was dropped to the bench when club captain Colocinni returned from injury and thereafter only appeared out of position at full back.

Alan Pardew came under some heavy critism after a diabolical end of the 13/14 season and the poor management of a fan favourite. The majority of fans turned against him at the last home game of season v Cardiff City, every time the manager attempted to stand up and enter his tactical area the deafening sound of jeers and boo’s echoed around the 52 thousand seated stadium. He seemed to take the hint fairly quickly and watched the remainder of the game from the dugout sending assistant manager John Carver to do his in play “management” thereafter.

Sadly it seems that the saga has continued into the preparation for the 14/15 season, with the French media reporting that Hatem Ben Arfa has been disciplined for returning to training weighing 3lbs over his target weight. Twitter and other social media outlets have been bombarded with photos of the Frenchman looking a bit on the chunky side within the past week but don’t take those photos as gospel, the majority of them have been dug out from the Newcastle’s previous pre season. The one photo in which I have seen from the clubs official account shows to me that Hatem Ben Arfa’s “weight gain” seems to be down to weeks spent in the gym building muscle to add strength to his attributes. If you look closely at his forearms and biceps you can see a considerable amount of increased muscle from previous seasons.

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Late Saturday night rumours broke from the local press that Ben Arfa did not travel with the rest of the NUFC team to their pre season tour of New Zealand, and that he would not be receiving his number 10 shirt for the upcoming campaign, in fact he wouldn’t be wearing any number as Alan Pardew did not see Hatem having a future on Tyneside and would not be including him in his Premier League squad.

If there’s ever an example of poor man management then look no further than Alan Pardew, a player that a lot of Newcastle fans see as a raw talent that needs reassurance and guidance has been left out in the cold after being man enough to step up to Pardew’s bully tactics.

The whole situation has many familiarities to the Ruud Gullit and Rob Lee fallout in which Lee was stripped of his no7 shirt and ordered to train and play alongside the reserves until Gullit’s sacking which came after an embarrassing defeat to Sunderland in which Alan Shearer was left to watch the game in the lashing down rain from the bench.

 

Im afraid Hatem Ben Arfa may soon be forced out of Tyneside, if so i wish him all the best for the future and hopefully he can resurect his career under a manager who can achieve the best from Hatems ability.

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Janmaat Signs – Debuchy Departs

Daryl Janmaat has become Newcastle United’s third signing of the week after completing his move from Feyenoord for around £5m.

The 24-year-old has just returned from competing in the World Cup for the Netherlands, and will be Mathieu Debuchy’s replacement at St James’s Park.

Newcastle have also confirmed Debuchy’s departure to Arsenal for a fee of around £10m.

Attack-minded right-back Janmaat arrives with an ever-increasing reputation, similarly to Remy Cabella, another who joined Newcastle after being involved at the World Cup.

Janmaat is Newcastle’s sixth signing of the summer, and the third of those to be capped at international level.

After signing a six-year deal with the Magpies, he said: “Newcastle is a fantastic club, with a big history and a great stadium.

“I have also been told all about how great the fans are.

“This is the perfect move for me, and I am really looking forward to being with the team and getting started here at Newcastle.

“I think we are going to have a great season.”

Manager Alan Pardew added: “We are delighted to bring Daryl to the club.

“He is the perfect example of a modern full-back; someone who is good defensively but offers a real threat going forward as well.

“Daryl had an excellent World Cup and we are looking forward to him continuing that form for Newcastle.”

Janmaat spent two years at Feyenoord, helping them to third place and second place finishes in the Eredivisie.

He spent his entire youth career at the club, but moved in search of senior football in 2007, joining ADO Den Haag.

A year later, he switched to Heerenveen, before making the move back to Feyenoord in 2012.

For the Dutch national team, he made his senior debut in September 2012 on the back of the country’s disappointing showing at the European Championship.

Janmaat started all three of their group games at the World Cup, before being dropped for the knockout stages, with Dirk Kuyt preferred in the wing-back position.

He made two further substitute appearances as the Dutch eventually went on to finish third in the tournament, with the right-back setting up their final goal in the 3-0 third-place play-off win over Brazil.

Janmaat is not expected to link up with the Newcastle squad on their tour of New Zealand, with the 24-year-old now set to go on holiday after his World Cup exertions.

He is Newcastle’s third signing of the week after they also confirmed the captures of Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere.

Debuchy, meanwhile, leaves St James’s Park 18 months after joining from Lille.

After initially struggling to adapt to the Premier League, he had a fine campaign last term, earning a move to Arsenal.

He leaves Newcastle having made 43 Premier League appearances for the club and after representing France in the World Cup.

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Riviere Joins

Emmanuel Riviere has become Newcastle United’s latest summer signing after putting pen to paper on a “long-term” deal.

The French striker joins from Monaco after a fee thought to be in the region of £6m was agreed.

Riviere, who has also played for Saint-Etienne and Toulouse in the past, has been capped by France all the way up to Under-21 level.

His move to Newcastle has been greeted with scepticism by many regular French football watchers, who have questioned his consistency.

Newcastle’s latest Ligue 1 recruit revealed his delight at making the switch to St James’s Park after being unveiled, adding that playing in the Premier League was a “dream” for him.

He said: “I’m very happy to be here at Newcastle.

“When the club spoke to me I said yes immediately. It was an easy decision because Newcastle is a big club with great fans and a good stadium.

“My dream was always to play in the Premier League and Newcastle have given me the opportunity to realise that.”

Manager Alan Pardew added: “This is an important signing because the striking area is one we really had to improve.

“We have looked at Emmanuel for a while and we know he will score goals for us.

“He is quick, hungry for success and will love having 50,000 Geordies cheering him on and singing his name.

“I am really looking forward to integrating Emmanuel in the group and cannot wait to see him in action for us.”

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Cabella Signs

Remy Cabella has been confirmed as a Newcastle United player.

Late on Sunday night, the club confirmed the capture of the Montpellier playmaker on a six-year deal.

It brings to an end United’s long pursuit of the Frenchman, who first attracted their attention in January.

Cabella has joined Newcastle for a fee thought to be between £10m and £12m, meaning he could end up being the most expensive signing of the Mike Ashley era, which had been Fabricio Coloccini at £10.3m.

The 24-year-old – who was part of France’s squad at this summer’s World Cup – revealed his delight at completing the long-awaited move.

He told Newcastle’s official website: “It is great to finally be a Newcastle player.

“This is a move that I really wanted to make, as I have heard nothing but good things about Newcastle United from everyone I spoke to.

“I wanted to join a great English club and that is why I have arrived here.

“I’m looking forward to pulling on the shirt and playing in this magnificent stadium, and I will give this club my maximum.”

Manager Alan Pardew said: “Remy is a player who has been on our radar for a while and we are delighted to bring him to the club.

“He is a player who I am sure will excite our fans.

“He has flair, hard work and commitment, and is going to bring a talent, energy and quality to St James’s Park that our supporters will enjoy.

“Remy has great ideas when the ball comes to him, and along with Siem de Jong is going to improve an area where we definitely needed some help.”

After being paraded at St James’s Park, Cabella added: “It is a magnificent place.

“I have seen lots of photographs of the supporters and the black and white strip, but you cannot see the ambience in photos and that is something I am really looking forward to experiencing.

“I have heard nothing but good things about Newcastle United from everyone I spoke to.”

He also vowed to learn a bit of Geordie, and when asked about the ‘Howay the lads’ phrase, he added: “I understand its meaning now.

“Every football club has its own signature and its own saying, and ‘howay the lads’ is Newcastle’s.

“It is important for me, as a new player, to get to know things like this about the club.

“I want to learn as much as I can and I look forward to finding out a lot more.”

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The Club Captains

If you have been keeping an eye on what Alan Pardew has to say in his column in the independent you will have seen in his most recent article he touches upon the captaincy at NUFC.

Pardew exclusively revealed that the two vice captains of the club would be Cheick Tiote and new signing Siem de Jong, reasoning that we now have leaders across the pitch. Hopefully this will help to prevent pathetic collapses from the team that were all too familiar last season.

Over the past two seasons the captaincy of the club has caused debate amongst supporters. Here I will look at the candidates for captains armband at the club.

Fabricio Coloccini

He is the current club captain. Coloccini is not vocal on the pitch but looked a comfortable captain when the club finished fifth in the 2011/12 season. There has been much said and written about Coloccini’s commitment to the club ever since his “personal” problems became an unwanted distraction during the clubs relegation battle in the 2012/13 season. The defender took himself off back to Argentina, granted he was injured at the time but his presence could have been useful to have around when times got desperate.

Cheick Tiote

When he was handed the armband last season I feared it was giving him too much responsibility. Having had an awful campaign the year before was the captaincy going to add more pressure? It was the opposite. Tiote led by example and grew into the role. His play became less rash and we began to see the player who was one of the best performers in the 2011/12 season return to form.

Siem de Jong

To captain Ajax you have got to have something about yourself but it would probably be too soon to hand the full responsibility over to him. Should he remain at the club longer than 18 months I can see a possibility of him being club captain once Coloccini retires, providing Siem settles well into the team.

Other candidates

Tim Krul- long servant of the club but it’s rare a goalkeeper is handed the armband.

Steven Taylor- longest serving player but not good enough for the first eleven and the less said about his bantz etc the better.

For the coming season I think Tiote should be club captain. He is now entering his fifth season with the club and thrived when handled the responsibility last season. Coloccini, in my opinion, should have been stripped of the honour in January last year- it does not send a good message out that your leader wants to jump ship. I can see why Pardew will retain Coloccini as captain, however, as to not disrupt the player further, make him feel wanted to encourage him to stay and to not cause unrest amongst the squad.

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We’ve Got Cabella

Rumours in France claim that Newcastle United’s chase of Rémy Cabella is almost over after agreeing a £12m deal for the Montpellier playmaker.

Cabella, 24 who has been a long term target for manager Alan Pardew is expected on Tyneside on Monday to finalise a deal to become NUFC’s fourth signing of the summer transfer window.

The French midfielder who scored 14 times in 37 appearances last season may just be the replacement for Yohan Cabaye that the Geordie faithful have been begging for after his exit being a main factor in Newcastle’s mammoth disappointing end of the 13/14 season.