Newcastle United’s Top Player Unveiled
I live in the Middle East, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to be more precise.
First let me say that I am a mere minion in this Magic Empire, a peon. A pleb. The weather stops the joints from aching and the tax, or rather lack of it, helps keep a smile on my face.
However, it is also a stunning location where every day you live with the best that money can buy. When I say “with”, of course I mean “beside”.
The Emirates Palace hotel serves coffee with gold flakes in it, had a Christmas tree with a million quids’ worth of diamonds hanging from it and has a vending machine in the lobby that dispenses gold bars.
My daughter’s boyfriend came for a visit and having mentioned that he hoped to see a Nissan GTR while he was out here, actually saw 4 on the way home from the airport.
I was recently in a car showroom looking at the latest Bugatti Veyron, when the salesman bolted and ran across to another gentleman who had just walked in. A few minutes later when he returned I expressed my discontent that he could just abandon a prospective customer like that based purely on nationality. The response – “sorry sir, but I don’t think you seriously wish to purchase this car and last time that gentleman was in he bought 32 Range Rovers”.
Locals here who collect things don’t buy stamps or coins, they buy racehorse stables and hotel chains. They consider the Sultan of Brunei to be a poor man.
In 1988 an American Entrepreneur called Victor Kiam made an advert for the Remington Shaver Company with the tag line, “I was so impressed, I bought the company!”
Shk Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan did that with ManchesterCity. He also owns 10% of Daimler and 30% of Virgin Galactic.
So I suppose if you look at Mansour, Abramovich and a few others, you can see why Ashley is always going to be struggling to sign the top talent. I mean if ‘arry Redknapp can get Remy to QPR over the Toon, then there’s something wrong.
I suppose Remy could have figured that he would have a chance to showcase his talents and then trigger his release clause in May, upping his wages even further, but I’m not so sure he’s that bright.
That brings me round to my topic for discussion today. Despite our financial cramp we still currently have in Toon the best selection of individual players that we’ve had for as long as I can remember. I resisted the temptation to use those words that people use when they are just spouting. You know the ones – “possibly” and “arguably”. We actually do have a dozen players on the books that are talked about and rated up there with the best in the country. The fact that they can’t seem to pass a ball between them is not the point – well, not this one anyway.
We have one of the best young keepers, a back four that THEORETICALLY should be capable of stopping a tsunami in its tracks, a midfield that between them can walk on water, and a forward who could have his name on the golden boot every year if he only understood the concept of ‘offside’.
But who is the best player we have?
No doubt there will be the usual shouts for Colo and Steven Taylor, with the odd dribbler insisting that Shola’s the man, but seriously – who is our best player?
Is it Cabaye, with his ability to spend 3 games in hibernation on the halfway line and then actually do something spectacular and be declared a genius, or is it Ben Arfa with 4 games on the bench and one on the pitch? Maybe it is Cisse. Brilliant, but currently the words “Bull’s Arse” and “Banjo” spring to mind.
Over the months his game has changed. He now plays between the two centre backs and allows opposition forwards to keep most of their legs. His passing has improved so much that you end up checking it was him, and he can control the pace of the game from midfield much better that Cabaye.
When it’s required he can still switch to Vinnie Jones mode, as seen recently when he came on as a late sub and was booked for fouling 3 players, the ref and 2 fans, and yes, he has his off days but they are becoming more and more interspersed with impressive exhibitions of control and a cool head than acts of pure unadulterated malice.
Not that long ago Man U went through a poor patch when Ferdinand was injured for a while, as did Chelsea with Terry, and Liverpool with Gerrard. It’s an influence thing.
Tiote is our talisman.
Though he does seem to be able to shake hands with more people than Terry these days.
New issue of The Mag out now, or order online now for single copies and subscriptions.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]