Maybe this self-appointed group of ‘leaders’ were a factor in bouncing back to the Premier League and a relatively untroubled first season back in the top division.
However, I would argue that the likes of Coloccini, Enrique and Jonas were at least as important, if not more so.
With these three players I never detected one spot of bother behind the scenes and they all looked super fit and rarely missed a match between them, true professionals.
Harper has been a steady standing fixture at St.James’ park whilst clearly Smith was never going to be up to the standard we needed in the Premier League, with Nolan and Barton you had two players who definitely thought they were better than they were and brought other baggage with them – Nolan having severe fitness/stamina problems….while where do you start with Joey!
Ryan Taylor spoke to the Journal about the changes in the dressing room and Alan Pardew’s key role;
The manager has taken over from the likes of Kevin and Joey and that’s how it should be. He’s your manager and if things aren’t going well he’s the man you want to pull you aside and it’s always nice when he is giving you compliments. However, you have to take some criticism as well.”
Colo and Jonás have been massive for this club. Colo deserves the captain’s armband he’s got now.
I think when he first came he found it tough but to come from where he has, the two of them have settled in now and hopefully the two of them will stay at the club for a long time”.
The likes of Smith, Nolan and Barton have done very well out of Newcastle United and anything they did achieve at St.James’ Park is easily overtaken by what they’ve taken in wages. I don’t think the facts lie when they have ended up in League One, The Championship and playing for Relegation Contenders, respectively.
They might have been ‘big’ players in the dressing room but now we’ve got ‘bigger’ players in both the dressing room and on the pitch.