Just Imagine Where We Will Be Without Ba

YohanCabayeSQ45A combination of extremely poor management coupled with ill-timed injuries and the dreadfully poor form of most our players, leaves the toon in a very perilous position indeed.

Cabaye’s form this year before his injury ruled him out for 3 months was very poor (probably due to the injury in hindsight) but there’s no doubt he was the engine room of the team last year.  When we played our Champagne football aided and abetted by an enforcer in the form of Tiote, giving him the room to go forward and make those defence splitting passes that Cisse and Ba simply gobbled up with consummate ease.

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Somehow, irrespective of the fact we’ve been woeful all year, Ba has managed to turn up in the right place at the right time saving our bacon on numerous occasions and is subsequently right up there amongst the premierships elite goal scorers this year, helping himself to another two yesterday playing on his debut for Chelsea.

All that is history now and we have to move on, so what are our hopes and dreams for the rest of the season?

We have bought Debuchy so we can at last allow Simpson to go shack up with the delightful Tulisa and make beautiful babies that no doubt won’t threaten any Mensa records in the near future…but good luck anyway. Problem here is that Simpson wasn’t actually that bad in a team that was playing well but when all four of the back four are not communicating effectively, or playing as a unit, then replacing one unit out of a unit of four isn’t necessarily going to stop the defence from leaking goals overnight.

We don’t have the firepower upfront, or the form in the team, to score more goals than we’re letting in, so therein lies our biggest problem for the rest of the year.

HBA0004_Hatem_Ben_Arfa_Newcastle_United_NUFCThere’s no doubt we should be looking for two good centre halves because although we’ve got Steve Taylor coming back, there’s definitely an issue with Captain Colo and we’ve all seen this year how Perch and Williamson are simply just not up to the job. We also have to consider the fact we need decent cover for the centre back positions so in my book we need three good centre halves in the squad which means we should be buying two new CBs in this January transfer window but we’re not going to get that are we!

We got 7.5 million for Ba but it will cost us much more than that to replace him with someone who knows the Premiership like Ba does and can come in and score 13 goals in the remaining 17 games to at least give us a chance to stay up. Loic Remy is not the answer to give us that immediate payback in terms of goals scored and there isn’t anyone available in the market place at under 25 million who can, with perhaps the exception of a motivated Bent but no mention of that anywhere as a potential target and cheap at 10 million.

So I can’t see anyone coming in who can make that sort of impact for the money Ashley will want to make available, so that leaves us with Cisse and Shola plus a new striker who probably won’t contribute too much in the way of goals for the rest of the season, so Cisse has a huge responsibility on his shoulders.

Problem here is Cisse is miss-firing and has had little or no service coming from a midfield devoid of any flair or confidence, so supply will probably continue to be poor for the rest of the season unless Cabaye recaptures his form of last year upon his return to first team action.

So in summary we have a defence with hopefully one new player (Debuchy) who will help improve things a little, Taylor hopefully will be back soon, we hope Colo can find some form soon and Pardew needs to coach Santon on how to defend. However, hope is not a strategy and the defence worries me greatly. One thing’s for sure, Debuchy will not magically transform our defence into a good unit on his own overnight, it just won’t happen.

Midfield. Tiote’s gone for a month, Cabaye hopefully coming back soon, Marveaux playing well, HBA to hopefully come back in February, Bigi to replace Tiote, Perch in his best position as a defensive midfielde. Obertan sold back to France with a bit of luck and Jonas in a squad rotation role depending on who we’re playing and what formation Pardew chooses to play against certain teams. The new striker will probably be expected to play wide right or wide left with Cisse playing the striker’s role up on his own down the middle in the 4-5-1 defending formation morphing into 4-3-3 going forward.

Where will we end up at the end of the season?

My Guess is we’ll end up 15th or 16th with 39 points as I don’t believe 40 points will be required this year to stay up, with Reading and QPR so far behind already.

I obviously hope and pray we stay up this year, and my other hope is we sack Pardew as soon as we are safe, and start again next year with a much improved squad and a much better manager – I would be going after Martinez.

Where do you think we’ll finish this year and who should we bring in to replace Pardew?

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The Mag, Issue 289, 5 April 2014, Newcastle United Magazine, NUFC

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63 Responses to “Just Imagine Where We Will Be Without Ba”

  1. AndyMac

    “When you have players that understand football perfectly you just have to run and the ball comes into your feet so that’s what I’ll do. They create good spaces, they make good passes, they are intelligent in their game so they make it easier.“

    At Newcastle I had Yohan Cabaye, Ben Arfa, these players are world class players as well.

    Demba Ba former NUFC striker sold because we have no ambition !

    • Mark Roberts

      Ba has the ambition but could see as you quite rightly said Fat boy has none, so off he went. last year the team performed to a level far greater than the sum of the parts but this year mainly because of Pardew’s horribly poor management we have performed nowhere near the sum of the parts and that very simply is why he has to go.

  2. Jack Boden

    Why does everyone want to get rid of Pardew? lets see how well you can manage a team with players dropping out every week. Cisse can handle being a ST, but all season he’s been playing on the RW. it’s ridiculous. How can you score when you’re being forced away from the goal?

    • Mark Roberts

      I completely understand that Cisse has not scored many goals because he’s been out on the wing but I think you forget the chances he’s already missed this season and they are numerous. There’s no doubt he’s not firing on all cylinders along with the rest of the team at the moment so saying it’ll be alright as soon as plays down the middle is hopeful to say the least…his supply won’t be anything like last year for a start so the chances coming his way won’t be numerous…the whole team needs to play better before the goals will start flowing again and that’s the worry…with the whole team either injured or out of form the prognosis is not good and the whole team being out of form (injured or not) is in my opinion down to Pardew playing systems that don’t work and the team are not happy

        • Mark Roberts

          no…he’s actually scored three goals in 20 games since the start of the season…but yes let’s hope his current 4 game form continues

  3. Rob Brown

    1. Where will we be without Ba? Ba scored good goals – Cisse scored great goals. Put Cisse up the midle and he will score just as many, if not more, as was shown last season when he arrived.

    2. As for Fat Boy having “No Ambition” – how many of you who are now commenting so negatively thought that our team, the one that just missed out on Europe last year, would be so woeful this year? Yes – we were disappointed with only bringing in Anita, Bigi and Good – but who foresaw this disastrous run?

    In addition – who would have thought that at this time of the year we could have a situation where 10 regular first team players were out through either injury or suspension and we’d be back to relying on Perch and Willaimson in defence and Shola up front?

    Sorry but my crystal ball didnt see any of this, with my worst case scenario being us struggling to stay in the top half. And I would suspect that the Toon board, including Pardew, thought the same.

    NUFC always said that this season we were not spending to go out there and win the league. Europe was the aim.

    So how about judging our “ambition” in February when Ashley has stumped up to keep us up, rather than jumping on the bandwagon.

    Abramovich doesn’t have “ambition”, he’s already won everything. He has billions. Ambition didn’t take Ba to Chelsea – money did.

    We should be more concerned as to why we have a complete first team injured.

    Simpson , S Taylor, Colo,R Taylor , Cabaye , Ben Arfa, Gosling, Vukic, Guttierez and Cisse are all down as injured at the moment.

    Even with just half that number we would be a different team.

    Newcastle have an appalling injury record – very likely the worst in the league.

    Is it the training regime, the training pitch, SJP playing surface, the cold weather?

    Why is this the only league we are consistently on top of?

    • Mark Roberts

      there’s a difference between injured and out of form

      Cabaye played the first 13 league games and was dreadful apart from against Sunderland, Jonas played the first 15 games and was dreadful, ryan taylor shouldn’t even be in the team, Simpson is an irrelevance, his mind’s been on Tulisa and has been terrible all season and we have Debuchy now anyway, Colo has been rubbish all year and his mind for some reason is somewhere else, Gosling has never been in contention this year, Vukic has never been in contention this year and Cisse has been available all year apart from yesterday…so it’s not just down to injuries…it’s down to poor form and poor management

      • Heaton Mick

        ‘Colo has been rubbish all year’??? He’s had a couple of dodgy games when the rest of the team have been bad, but to call him rubbish is a bit unfair.

        To call Simpson an irrelevance is a bit insulting. He’s a steady player who has been his usual steady self, he only cost £500k and it’s going to cost a lot more than that to replace him when he goes. He can never be accused of not trying even though he’ll be off in 4 months.

        Vuckic has been seriously injured since the end of August and he was one of the bright spots of the summer’s friendlies. With the lack of creativity in midfield I have no doubt he’d have played a few games had he not had a bad injury.

        To write that you hope that Pardew gets sacked makes it sound like you want us to carry on losing. That’s the only way he’d going to be sacked.

        • Mark Roberts

          that’s one way to look at it but I look at it from the perspective I think the only way we’ll start winning again is by changing the manager

          • Tone Army

            what is your malfunction, did AP try it on with your missus or something? you do not voice the opinion of the common fan, you seem very hung up on sacking the manager yet you can only suggest Martinez as a replacement, get over it, get over yourself & get over to sunderland and follow them, they are recruiting numb minded sheeple with similar footballing nouse as yourself to fill the empty seats.

          • Mark Roberts

            OK…we’re at polar opposites as to what we think about Pardew but where do you think we’ll finish in the league then

          • Tone Army

            Top half finish is acheivable, if we don’t panic and sack the manager that is, I knew finishing 5th last year would set unrealistic targets for unrealistic fans.
            truth is we overacheived & only a fool would expect imrovement or parity with that, I can see the logic in the clubs set up now, something that has been hazy at best in recent years, you cite the job SAF has done at Man-Ure.. rightfully so, I would add Moyes and Wenger to that list, however it was made possible by the board remaining calm and sticking with the long term plan, the exact opposite of what you are proposing. so do you now see why I have taken umbridge to your statements?

          • Mark Roberts

            My personal target for newcastle was we would finish between 8th and 10th on the basis I thought there was no way we could emulate that fifth place finish with the squad we had so I was hardly being unrealistic…overly optimistic maybe…but certainly not unrealistic.

            The main difference in our opinions is centered around the fact that you passionately believe Pardew can bring us long term success whereas I don’t.

            Certainly not worth having a long drawn argument about!

    • Jezza

      “who foresaw this disastrous run?”
      I certainly did, right back on the 9th December 2010.

  4. Tone Army

    Mark Roberts & his anti Pardew agenda, I hope you never spout your drivel anywhere near me at a match & I feel sorry for your mates if this is your crack on matchdays, you are a narrow negative minded fool who has spent to much time playing the latest FM on your PC, this is the real world, sacking the manager after a few bad results solves nothing, we know this… the fact you seem to think its the answer to everything suggests you are either brand new or a keyboard warrior with no real knowledge of the game… if thats not the case then sorry but you’re just plain ignorant.

    • Mark Roberts

      A few bad results!…are you mad or simply in denial watching re-runs of 1996 and deluding yourself everything’s ok. Changing a manager can be a good thing…just ask arsenal when they took on Wenger and just ask Man U when they took on SAF.

      Your opinions are of course completely subjective as are mine but there’s no need to be insulting just because I don’t have the same deluded opinions as you

      • Tone Army

        You have just proved my case you fool (don’t mean to be insulting, just my opinion), Fergie’s first season he won 1 away game and finished 11th, second season he finished 2nd 9 points behind Liverpool, his 3rd season (take note here) after recruiting Brian Mclair, Mark Hughes & viv anderson (all top signings of the day) he finished 11th again, 4th season he signed Gary Pallister, paul Ince, Mike Phelan (amongst others, again big signings)Fans were calling for his head and a banner reading “Three years of excuses and it’s still crap…ta-ra Fergie.” was displayed at OT as they finished the season just outsisde the relegation zone..
        They stuck with him and the rest is history, so do a bit of research before you bleat next time please.

          • Tone Army

            No I am simply pointing out that you would have been the one holding the “fergie out” banner & looking very foolish in retrospect.
            the future is unwritten, who can say what will happen, Pardew may turn out to be a great manager for us, but if we kick him out now we will never know.

          • Mark Roberts

            Fergie had a track record of winning, Pardew hasn’t won’t anything as a manager and never will

          • Tone Army

            are you seriously saying these things?? he won nothing for 4 years and nearly got them relegated, despite signing very good players on big wages, do you not see by your own rational that he sould have been sacked before turning them into one of the most successful clubs in the world???

          • Jezza

            Before getting the Manchester job, Ferguson had taken a small provincial Scottish club to several Premier League titles, breaking up the Old Firm domination that had existed for decades up there and if that wasn’t enough he also won the European Cup Winners Cup and European Super Cup. How does Pardew’s pre-Newcastle track record compare with that? It’s fine to stick with a manager who has proved himself in the game but you don’t stick with a manager like Pardew whose track record is one of abject failure.

          • Tone Army

            haha beacause managing a team in Scotland is the same as managing English teams? no comparison at all.

          • Jezza

            Once again you’re displaying your incredible ignorance. Winning League titles and cups in Scotland with a small provincial club when Celtic and Rangers had dominated for decades is a considerable achievement. Not to mention the fact that, as stated in my previous post, he also won the European Cup Winners Cup and European Super Cup. That’s not “managing a team in Scotland” that’s achieving success on the European stage with a small Scottish club.

          • Tone Army

            what are you arguing about? I pointed out that the author was being hypocritical in asking for Pardew to be sacked after 2 years, then using SAF as an example of a great manager when it took him 3 years to start to get it right at OT, you seem to have flown off on some Fergie for president campaign.
            I never said Fergie was a bad manager, just pointing out that if the Man-ure board were as impatient as you and your mate are then he would have been sacked. what part of that do you have a grevience with??

          • Mark Roberts

            he had already proven himself as a winner of trophies and leagues…you’re pinning your hopes on someone who has no track record whatsoever

          • Tone Army

            Also waiting on you to explain why Martinez is the answer considering Pardew is deemed not worthy by you for not winning anything prior to signing for us??

          • Jezza

            “Pardew may turn out to be a great manager for us”

            Just what has Pardew done at any point in his career to make you think that? Ask fans of West ham and Charlton if they think that will happen?

          • Tone Army

            Google the defination of “may” while you are on googling Ossie’s career, & I am still waiting for you to answer who we should be bringing in to replace AP?

          • Jezza

            I don’t need to google his career, I lived it, he was one of my favourite players at the time. I saw him playing in the flesh as early as 1980, can you say the same, were you even born then?

          • Tone Army

            yes & yes.. which is relevant why? you keep ignoring it but I will persist, so exactly who is the answer to our prayers in your expert, well travelled & clearly unquestionable opinion??

          • Sander Solstrand

            maybe he isn’t fergie but he is great. if we sack pardew know i’ll stop watching cause that would be f””’g stupid

          • Tone Army

            also good work on sidestepping the glaring contradiction in your original statement. ignorance.

        • Jezza

          Well you’ve comvinced me. We just need to stick with Pardew for another couple of years and we’ll be winning the Premiership title every season and the Champions League every few years. I can’t wait.

          • Tone Army

            quote me directly where i said that please??
            while you are on tell me who would be the man to bring in & “save us” if we were to sack Pardew???

    • Jezza

      “sacking the manager after a few bad results solves nothing”

      It certainly solved things for West Ham in 2006/07 when they sacked their manager after 8 successive defeats had left them in the bottom three and seemingly doomed to relegation. They brought in a new manager and ultimately stopped up that season. Need I say any more?

      • Tone Army

        Yes you do… your using 1 example so I will counter that with ourselves recruiting Shearer and going down.

        • Jezza

          What about sacking Osvaldo Ardiles and bringing in Kevin Keegan. What difference did that make to our fortunes in the years that followed? Not to mention sacking Souness when we were in a relagation battle in February and finishing 7th that season or sacking Gullit and bringing in SBR….

          As for your example of Shearer, he came in with 8 games left when we were already in the bottom three. We were already as good as relegated when he came in. It’s not as if he came in mid season with us well above the drop zone.

          • Tone Army

            All the managers you list won us nowt, and naming “Osvaldo” proves you do not even know who you are talking about, you also outline that changing the manager constantly does not work, now what was your point again :D
            with the exeption of SBR we have had terrible managers here over the years, Pardew is a good young manager in my opinion & would rather give him a chance than gamble on another Gullit/Souness/Dalgliesh/Kinnear/Ossie.

          • Jezza

            “naming “Osvaldo” proves you do not even know who you are talking about”

            I know exactly who Osvaldo Ardiles Is. I watched him on television playing for Argentina in the 1978 World Cup, I saw him on Top Of The Pops in 1981, I saw him playing in the flesh for Spurs on several occassions including his testimonial match in 1987 and was present at every single match Newcastle United played while he was manager.

            You might be using internet searches to find facts to try and support your views but all my material is drawn from personal memories from over 40 years of following football.

            Incidentally it’s Dalglish not Dalgliesh if I may stoop to your level for a moment.

          • Tone Army

            So you’re a grown up! I am surprised..
            so why call him Osvaldo when it is easier to write Ossie (and that is what the world knows him as), if you have followed the toon for 40 years you should know that we are not in bad shape as a club at the min & count your blessings, but your words and opinions lead me to believe that you are lying.

          • Jezza

            Just ask a certain Mark Jensen if I have followed Newcastle for years. I used to attend matches with him back in the late 80’s. Better still, get hold of some early issues of The Mag and you’ll see articles written by me in them.

            Have you ever spent the night in Swansea railway station, been to a friendly at Oadby Town or spent a weeks wages on a taxi from Manchester to Stoke after a missed bus connection on Boxing Day, because if you haven’t you’re in no position to question my credentials as a Newcastle supporter.

          • Tone Army

            So I am unable to question you because I have never been stupid enough to miss a bus on a bank holiday? “used to write articles, used to attend with the editor” I think there is a good reason why you do neither these days..

  5. Andrew Long

    “I obviously hope and pray we stay up this year, and my other hope is we
    sack Pardew as soon as we are safe, and start again next year with a
    much improved squad and a much better manager – I would be going after

    Do you honestly think that sacking Pardew will solve all the problems we’ve had this season? In terms of lack of investment, yes, we need a few players to bolster the squad, but Pardew is Ashleys man, and if he doesn’t back Pardew, then he sure as hell won’t back anyone else.

    If we’d have kept out team intact but still managed to find ourselves in the position we are in, then I’d be asking questions myself. As it happens, we’ve a horrendous injury list and combined with the inevitable dip in form for some players, we are where we are. We over performed last season, there’s no doubt about that. Though anyone with an ounce of sense could tell we weren’t going to bounce back from a relegation and be playing Champions League football within a couple of seasons.

    We need some stability, and we have that now. Sacking Pardew would do nothing but set us back 3 seasons. Roberto Martinez – good at Wigan on a tight budget apparently – go away and look at their last few and current league positions and then come back and tell me that he’d do any better than Pardew did last season. It amazes me that after everything this club has been through in recent seasons as a result of knee-jerk reactions and short term financial mismanagement, that some fans still demand the moon on a stick when things aren’t going our way.

    • disqus_Pw9hBVWSsb

      “In terms of lack of investment, yes, we need a few players to bolster the squad, but Pardew is Ashleys man, and if he doesn’t back Pardew, then he sure as hell won’t back anyone else.” Nail has been hit on the head! thank you.

    • Mark Roberts

      this could run and run…please remind me about anything in Pardews managerial record that would suggest he’s the one to take us onwards and upwards and while you’re there have a look at http://www.newcastleunited-mad.co.uk/news/tmnw/its_not_just_injuries__top_players_havent_performed_all_season_777846/index.shtml

      Pardews failure to get any of the team never mind all them performing to any acceptable level this year is damning endictment to his inability to get the team to believe in his formations and set up.

      • Tone Army

        Tell me why Martinez is the one to take us onwards & upwards then? also linking me to another deluded fool who wants his money back because we lost to brighton does nothing to convince me that he or you (probably one and the same) have any real grasp on the game.
        5th place finish last year is enough to convince me that pardew has something worth developing, we have had unprecedented amount of injuries & suspensions, lack of investment has hindered us but I think the board realise that now, in selling Ba we have moved on a player who was clearly unsettling the squad & the long term plan now applies to all at the club (Simpson aside), I forsee a different 2nd half to the season than the 1st & relegation does not worry me at all, however if we panic, sack the manager, panic buy a few mercs then I will start to worry as I know that is a recipe for disatser.

  6. Sander Solstrand

    i agree in most of your points but sacking pardew isjust pure stupidity. there is no chance a club fighting to avoid relegation will get a manager that is good enough to magically make us win the bpl. pards is not the proble lack of motivation injuries frustration and bad luck is the problems

    • Mark Roberts

      I’m not saying sack him now because it’s too late for that…we should have done that in December…I’m saying sack him when and if we avoid relegation

      • Tone Army

        so you agree you would have sacked fergie after finishing just outside the relegation zone??

    • Mark Roberts

      You’ve all focused on my desire to see Pardew sacked by no-one has responded to forecasting where you think Newcastle will finish in the league. Where do you think we’ll finish then?

      • Tone Army

        Simply… we will finish where we end up, no-one can predict the future but we can draw from experinces of the past.

  7. JR Ewing

    Do we have to imagine it in that we played with only 10 men all season? Or in a way that we played with 11 men who were fully committed to our just and right cause and our “main” striker was really part of a “team” that he respected and not agitating for the transfer that he eventually forced earning himself £2.5million (before wages) and another £2.5million for god knows who in agents/lackeys/leeches/parasites. Either way its hypothetical which means it is about as useful as hindsight.
    My guess is we would have been better off without him and will be. He played for his transfer at the cost of the team.
    Forget him, he plays for someone else, so spare your energy to boo and hiss at him at every opportunity, when he touches the ball or even looks at the crowd when he returns.

    As for sacking Pardew…….. Will some people ever learn…..

    • Mark Roberts

      There’s also a lot to be learnt from teams that didn’t sack poor managers quickly enough because there was too many people shouting ‘Give the man a chance’.

      Finding the right manager for the right club is always extremely difficult but in my opinion Pardew is a poor manager and totally wrong for the club I love.

      • Tone Army

        You name Martinez in your piece, please explain why you think he will be any different than AP??

        • Mark Roberts

          Simply because in my opinion he’s already proven he can build football teams without any stars that can play football in such a way losing players to injury or being sold off doesn’t necessarily mean a downturn in performances. I would therefore love to see what he could do with a squad of players like ours including 12 internationals.

          Every Manager that has gone to Swansea since Martinez moved on have highly praised the footballing ethics and foundations he put in place and have openly admitted they have simply carried on with the same ethos.

          Just my opinion and not interested in getting into an argument with you. Debate I’m happy with…churlish exchanges I’m not


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