BOOM BOOM CHEICK CHEICK THE ROOM

Commentary that for many Newcastle United fans has gone down in folklore, the moment when Justin Lockwood of Real Radio erupted with joy as Cheick Tiote hammered in a 30 yard left foot volley in one of the Premier League’s all-time greatest comebacks.

It was of course Tiote’s only Newcastle United goal in 6 and a half years at the club, off now to pastures new in China.

Tiote’s time at Newcastle can be split into two definitive spells:

The first was truly excellent, lasting from when he first signed to the end of the 2011/12 season, briefly picking up again in the 2013/14 season before Cabaye was sold and his form plummeted.

The second spell however, has been a truly very sad affair, as the once excellent defensive midfielder lost form and also his willingness to play for Newcastle, a sad end to what could have been a wonderful story.

So let’s start with the positives and certainly the way that I will always remember Tiote is as the ball winning midfielder, who at times was easily one of the best CDMs in the league.

Cheick Tiote made his debut in September 2010 against Everton away (which Newcastle won thanks to a Ben Arfa wonder strike), the Ivory Coast international was truly excellent that day in dominating the midfield and completing 100% of his passes.

Following on from his debut, Tiote had a solid season and gained a reputation as a tough tackling no-nonsense midfielder, who had a habit of picking up a yellow card. Despite this he still became somewhat of a fan’s favourite due to his commitment and hard work.

It was however, the season after when Newcastle finished 5th that Tiote hit his true heights when paired with Yohan Cabaye in centre midfield, he dominated most other premier league midfields by simply tackling hard and giving the ball to Cabaye, he never tried anything too complicated and stuck to his job.

Tiote was excellent that season but the game that stands out was Manchester United at home, in which he shut Wayne Rooney out of the game as well as dominating the entire midfield.

What followed were claimed bids of £25million from both Manchester United and Chelsea. Tiote, however, stayed to take part in our European campaign, admittedly he wasn’t great that season but that was largely down to Cabaye being injured for much of the season, meaning he had to become the creative one alongside Anita and/or Bigirimana. This wasn’t really his role, though he did get an excellent assist for Demba Ba against Reading away.

In the Europa League that season he was much better and contributed to us reaching the quarter-finals.

Cheick Tiote was also very good for the first half of the following season, including having a great strike vs Man City disallowed for offside as Gouf was deemed to be blocking the view of Joe Hart.

This however, is unfortunately the end of the good Tiote spell and the beginning of the sad decline which ended against Birmingham City in the FA Cup a few weeks ago, in which he was awful and only got a standing ovation due to his service to Newcastle.

We should not remember this Cheick Tiote though and instead remember the beast that we had for a few excellent years instead.

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