Hatem Ben Arfa Or Alan Pardew?
I believe Hatem Ben Arfa is a player of truly outstanding capabilities that, if given some freedom and a run of games, could be the greatest flair player we’ve seen since the days of Beardsley or Ginola.
Yes I’ll agree he can be frustrating, but I think a huge reason he loses the ball sometimes, and makes wrong decisions, is because he never gets enough game time to be fully fit and confident.
During our ‘successful’ 2011/12 season he was instrumental on the right hand side of a three pronged attack. After finally wrestling his place in the team, off Obertan of all people, he became a key component of our success. Injuries stalled his progress last season but this campaign it seems to be mismanagement that is holding him back.
Pardew keeps spouting his usual nonsense. Before the Arsenal game he said Ben Arfa wasn’t in the squad as he’d “picked a side to win the game.” This side included Gosling in the first eleven and Obertan on the bench. Dan Gosling’s own mother would admit that HBA is ten times the player he is.
Reading the ‘unsanctioned’ interview that Ben Arfa gave the other day only strengthened my feelings towards him. During the interview he stated that;
“I was sat at home watching it on TV and it was hard because we’ve lost too many times. 3-0, 4-0, 3-0, it’s hard when you love the supporters and it’s hard to lose every time like that.
It hurts because I am competitive. I want to play and help my team. Of course I want to play every game but that’s not my decision. I train hard and I try to start, but if I’m not starting, or on the bench, I’ve got to respect the decision.
I feel sad and frustrated but not angry, I just want to help my team and I can’t. It hurts a lot.”
This isn’t a Cabaye or a Jose Enrique. This is a player who has been mistreated and had the potential torn away from him, still saying he wants to stay at the club. This is a man who wants to play in the black and white stripes. This is a man who cares about the supporters’ feelings and wants to get the results for us. You may argue that this is all propaganda. You may feel that Hatem has done this to try and get some sympathy before he packs his bag and jets off to another club. I for one think there is sincerity in his words and that he wants to be back in the team, that he wants a new contract and that he wants to bring good times back to the Toon.
The hierarchy seem to have applied a Big Brother rule over Newcastle. No individual can come out and make a stand against the regime without being swiftly moved on. Mike Ashley’s megalomaniac attitude is slowly crushing the life out of this club and Ben Arfa could be the latest scapegoat. Look what happened to Barton. He questioned the ambition of the club and was training by himself before being moved on.
Now Ben Arfa is in an identical position.
I don’t want to see Ben Arfa go this summer. He hasn’t headbutted anybody, he hasn’t been responsible for the most pathetic run of results we’ve seen for a generation. Maybe if Pardew was made to train on his own the players would be able to sort out some effective tactics.
If Pardew leaves then maybe we’ll get a manager capable of getting the best out of HBA. I’ve got a feeling the damage is done though. Mike Ashley won’t be happy at one of his pets breaking ranks and going feral on him.
We’ve all read the comments of the likes of Elliot, Gosling and Beardsley lately. They have come out one by one to lavish praise on an undeserving and failing organisation.
I have three proposals.
Let’s throw Pardew back to the mediocre League One existence we dragged him from.
Let’s bring in an attack minded, charismatic and respectful manager.
Let’s see Hatem reach his potential (if it’s not too late) and become a true Newcastle legend.
Unfortunately, I think that all three wishes are nothing more than unrealistic dreams. I’ll be surprised if I’m blessed enough to ever see HBA in full flow in a Newcastle shirt again.
You can follow Billy on Twitter @billymerlin
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