The Current Newcastle Team Are Bad, But Not A Patch On This Lot …
Following widespread criticism, the current Newcastle United team have been described by many as ‘the worst in Premier League history’.
With 2 games to go, relegation is still a real possibility and whilst they have won 2 more points than the 08/09 relegation team, there is an argument it was attitude, rather than a lack of talent, that contributed to their demise.
The same cannot be said of the current team, which along with attitude problems, is clearly not good enough, or up to Premier League standards.
But given the fair share of dreadful Newcastle signings over the years, a look into Premier League history shows this Newcastle side could definitely be a lot worse …
GK: John Karelse
CB: Jean-Alain Boumsong
RM: Silvio Maric
CM: Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Gonzalez
CM: Amdy Faye
LM: Albert Luque
ST: Stephane Guivarc’h
ST: Andreas Andersson
7 goals conceded in just 3 games (Southamptonand Wimbledon responsible for all 7), is testament to just how awful this Dutch goalkeeper was. Signed as a back-up by Ruud Gullit from NAC Breda for £800,000, Karelse lasted until 2003 before heading back to Holland for a final season with AGOVV Apeldoorn before retiring. Karelse was last seen managing NAC Breda back in 2012.
A legend at former club Lyon, where he won 7 straight Ligue 1 titles, captaining them for 5 of these, Cacapa came to Newcastle with a big reputation when signed by Sam Allardyce. Such expectations were short-lived when it became very apparent Cacapa just wasn’t good enough. Lack of fitness, pace and a long list of injuries saw Cacapa head back to Brazil in 2009. Most recently manager of Brazil under-15s, Cacapa was sacked in February 2015.
A £5.8m signing from Mallorca in Spain by Ruud Gullit, it is almost unbelievable that he won 5 caps for the Spanish National Team. 17 appearances in 4 years saw Marcelino spend more time on the treatment table than on the pitch, even though on many occasions, the Newcastle medical team couldn’t actually find anything wrong with him. 2 months out with a snapped finger tendon is testament to Marcelino’s pathetic excuses in order to play as little as possible, whilst picking up a sizeable wage packet.
What persuaded Graeme Souness to spend £8m on this French flop is anyone’s guess, especially after Rangers signed Boumsong on a free transfer only 6 months earlier. Such was the bizarreness of the deal, it was scrutinised by the Stevens Enquiry, looking into corruption in football. To be fair to Boumsong, his initial form wasn’t bad. But what panned out after was a succession of mistakes, lapses in concentration and partnered with Titus Bramble, probably the worst centre half pairing in Premier League history. Despite his awful form, Newcastle still persuaded Juventus to part with £3.3m in 2006, a mere 47 appearances later.
Signed from Dinamo Zagreb after a decent Champions League campaign the season before, Maric arrived with much promise, although slightly overpriced at £4m. Flattering to deceive under Ruud Gullit (who didn’t?!), Maric’s worst moment probably arrived in the 1999 FA Cup Final, when he missed a glorious chance to score, tamely shooting past the post. After 23 league appearances and 0 league goals (although Maric did score twice in the UEFA Cup), Maric moved on to Porto before returning to Croatia.
Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Gonzalez
Where do you start with Nacho Gonzalez? Signed by Dennis Wise in his role as Director of Football, it is alleged Kevin Keegan was shown Youtube footage of the player, and despite declaring him not good enough for the team, was signed anyhow. Gonzalez was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Keegan, handing in his resignation not long after. In the 2 appearances Gonzalez made for Newcastle, it was clear he was not up to scratch. A serious achilles tendon injury meant he never played for Newcastle again. Despite only being a loan signing, and playing only 2 games, Gonzalez’s impact on the club as a whole was huge, instigating events that eventually led to the 08/09 relegation.
Another player to arrive under Graeme Souness’ expert eye for dross, the clumsy Faye signed from Portsmouth for £2m, arriving in January 2005 at the same time as Boumsong and Celestine Babayaro. Just 31 games later, and having played in a variety of unfamiliar positions, Faye was sent packing to Charlton for an ill-fated spell. Another signing to be investigated by the Stevens Enquiry, should Souness return to football management his transfer record should be enough to unsure he never assumes responsibility for a cheque book ever again.
Once describe by Jose Mourinho as ‘the one that got away’, Luque arrived for £9.5m with an excellent reputation as an up and coming talent, following a successful few seasons at Real Mallorca and Deportivo la Coruna.
Famous for a chant derived from scoring the 4th goal in the 4-1 derby success, whilst Luque was unlucky with injuries he just couldn’t deal with the pace of the Premier League. Sold to Ajax after 21 league games and 1 league goal, the Luque transfer from Deportivo to Newcastle was another investigated by Lord Stevens. Retiring at the age of 33, Luque never quite recovered from his ill-fated spell at Newcastle.
A World Cup winner with France in 1998, Newcastle fans had high hopes for a player signed prior to the tournament. 21 goals in 32 games for Auxerre the previous season was impressive, and when he scored on his debut against Liverpool, expectations continued to rise. However, Guivarc’h only played 3 more times for Newcastle and was sold to Rangers in November 1998 for £3.5m.
Some could argue he was not given a fair chance, and went on to win the treble with Rangers in his first season. However, reports emerged that quite a few Premier League clubs scouted Guivarc’h previously, including West Ham, who had decided he lacked the physical presence and talent to succeed in England, They weren’t wrong.
Another Dennis Wise gem, Xisco arrived from Deportivo for a fee of £5.8m and on astronomical wages of £50,000 per week. Quite why or how he managed to wrangle that amount of money, especially under Mike Ashley’s rule, is a feat in itself.
Another who scored on his debut, against Hull City, Xisco only made 9 appearances for Newcastle. He was shipped out back to Deportivo and Racing Santander, where he even struggled in the Spanish Segunda. After 5 dreadful years, and millions of pounds in the bank, Xisco left for Cordoba on a free transfer.
I once saw Xisco at Ibiza Airport, drinking a pint by himself whilst Newcastle were playing Sunderland in the league. Not out on loan at the time, and still very much a Newcastle player, it appears he couldn’t even be bothered to watch Newcastle, never mind play for them.
Capped 42 times by Sweden, Andersson arrived at Newcastle following an indifferent spell with AC Milan, where he played 13 times, scoring just the once. Prior to Milan, Andersson’s record in Sweden was pretty impressive. 32 goals in 39 games for IFK Goteborg is not to be sniffed at.
Kenny Dalglish saw fit to spend £3m on the Swede, but 4 goals and 27 appearances later, Andersson returned to Sweden to join AIK. Retiring at the age of 31 due to injury, you always felt with Andersson that there was some talent there, just we never saw it. He came out of retirement in 2010 to play for Swedish minnows FC Andrea Doris, where remarkably, he is still playing today at the age of 41.
Honourable mentions: Titus Bramble, Des Hamilton, Lionel Perez, Michael Owen, Jon Dahl Tomasson
So next time you put your head in your hands, wondering if a Newcastle team could any worse than this, remember … it can get a whole lot worse!
Can you do better? Suggestions welcome in the comments below.