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Warren Barton ‘I Know What Newcastle Fans Are Like – They Want Top Class Players’

7 years ago

With the saturation coverage of Premier League football these days, there has never been more opportunities for ex-pros to find their media niche, with Warren Barton one of those regularly willing to talk about Newcastle United.

In his latest overview, I think Warren has got most things right, but only by chance and a roundabout route.

However, like so many others, Barton is guilty of trotting out tired old misleading cliches.

Barton talks of Newcastle fans wanting top class players, which of course we do, just like fans of any other club would say if they were asked. However, what Warren is really saying is that United fans expect top class players and will kick of if they don’t get them.

Speaking to Talksport, Warren Barton;

“I think Alan (Pardew) has got 5 or 6 games and then the pressure will start to mount again.

“They have bought good players but I know what the fans are like, they want top class players.

“They’ve gone so far with the French influence, if it is going well it is perfect. If it doesn’t then you start getting problems, I don’t think they have got a character in there that can really lift them.

“When I was there we had Alan Shearer, Gary Speed, Rob Lee and Shay Given to help the younger players coming through.

“I don’t think they have got that, I think as soon as they get off that bus they are going in different directions and they are not together as a team.

“When it is going well it is easy, it is when it is not that you really need leadership.”

Barton is correct in saying that Newcastle have bought some good player, at least on paper, but that has to be seen to a backdrop of losing the three best players from last season and Mike Ashley chronically failing to invest in the squad in previous windows. Newcastle fans don’t demand/expect top class players but we do think that a strong enough squad of decent players is a minimum, plus a quality centre-back and at least one striker are desperately needed.

Where Barton does get it right is when he talks about a lack of leaders at NUFC, though he hasn’t really got a clue as to why that is. It isn’t about too many French players, or where they go when they get off a bus!

There have been some great leaders/captains in the Premier League who have come from all over the place- Patrick Vieira, Vincent Kompany, Vidic at Man U and so on.

The biggest problem at Newcastle is a lack of leadership throughout the club and that extends to on the pitch. Fabricio Coloccini is a great player but he lacks important characteristics, especially as a communicator, to be a natural leader.

Yohan Cabaye was a very influential player in the dressing room and really the captain in all but name, yet in a way that maybe was an extra factor that meant Mike Ashley and Alan Pardew weren’t that upset to lose him.

Ever since the infamous players’ committee bust-up with Ashley/Pardew, I have a feeling that divide and rule in the dressing room is seen as a bit of a positive for the owner. When Barton, Smith, Nolan and Harper made their feelings publicly known, it later transpired that this was the equivalent of them writing their own P45s, with Ashley determined to get rid of them at the earliest opportunity.

Lacking a core of English/British players to build the dressing room around, undoubtedly will lead to a different atmosphere in a dressing room. Even Arsenal have now shifted to a strong thread of English players, Chelsea were built around Lampard, Terry and Cole, with only maybe Manchester City breaking the mould these days. Though when their disparate dressing room has individuals who go too far, they just bin them and pay even more for replacements – think Balotelli, Tevez and others.

Whether Newcastle need more British players is open to debate but a few more leaders wouldn’t do any harm, hopefully by coincidence we’ll have found them within the summer signings.

The desperate losing run of the second half of last season, and the relegation form of much of 2011/12, saw a team without leaders capable of pulling them together and reversing the decline. Let’s hope that situation has now changed for the better.


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