Sunday 24 May, Vurnon Anita has a decent game for Newcastle United.

One contributor on this very site described his display as one of the best performances by a Newcastle player over the last ten years…

We don’t do things by half do we?

(To feature like Dale, send in your articles for our website to [email protected] – all views those of the author etc etc)

I’ve always been partial to a bit of Geordie exaggeration but howay man!

The under sized midfielder, come occasional full-back, played well but that is where it starts and finishes surely.

The problem comes when things get so dire, many of us are tempted to read far more into a decent game or individual showing, than is healthy.

I would love all of our players, all of our under achievers to suddenly find their football legs and start playing spellbinding football but that is not going to happen.

Vurnon Anita has been here three years now and he isn’t very good is he, which is putting it mildly.

He isn’t alone though and in this particularly rubbish season , the tendency to see superstar when in reality it is simply above average, has been pretty astonishing for a significant minority of Newcastle fans.

Gabriel Obertan scored the winner against Leicester and had a half decent match before or after that one and he was supposedly showing  his true quality. I’m sorry, but after four years I have seen more than enough of him to know what his true quality is, beyond any doubt.

It has been Remy Cabella’s first season but he has been hopeless if you are honest. That first half at Stamford Bridge he played very well but I detected a big measure of rare complacency from Chelsea who were caught on the hop in that first half. They sorted it in the second. As for Cabella, I do hope he proves me wrong but he’s not going to hack it in the Premier League.

Yet another one is Sammy Ameobi, has the odd thirty minutes here and there where he looks like a football but he is anonymous for around 90% of the time he has been on the pitch.

The trouble is that in the current set of players it isn’t hard to stand out if you do something decent, or alternatively being able to hide when the whole team plays poorly.

The bottom line is that neither us or whoever ends up in charge of the team can rely on Anita, Obertan, Ameobi and Cabella, plus you can add other obvious ones such as Williamson and Riviere.

I don’t want to hear how Obertan is flying in training this summer, something we often heard from Alan Pardew.

If Mike Ashley and others at the club are serious about having a real go at turning around the fortunes of NUFC, one of the first steps has to be to get rid of those who have shown they are not good enough.

Or at the very least move them from first team starters or even guaranteed subs bench in most cases.

The likes of Daryl Janmaat should be the benchmark/minimum, players who 9 times out of 10 are decent at the very worst.

Newcastle have to really raise the bar this coming season and kidding ourselves that somebody has turned the corner by putting in an alright one-off game, is a recipe for disaster.


  • SGM

    Decent piece.
    The blame tho, must lie at the door of the scouts, not the coaches, sows ear, and all that.

  • amacdee

    My only problem with your comments Dale is that somewhere, nagging away at the back of my mind, is the thought that very few players have ever really improved while playiing for Pardwho and NONE have managed that under Pinocchio.

    Its been quite a while since we had a manager worth his weight in gold. Whereas we’ve had quite a few who were worth their own weight in Shlte Direct vouchers. So IMHO we have to wait until the new coach arrives through the SJP gates and shows us all how good managers get the best out of their players.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    SGM Blame lies with the pay master who agrees or disagrees with a player to be bought, based on cost. You know, that bloke on telly on Sunday who said he has nowt to do with the football decisions.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    amacdee That is a valid point to make, though I agree with the article.

  • andewalsh

    I couldn’t agree more. So many fans eulogising about junk trunk it made me laugh. I thought he had an average game but for him that is spectacular. There are so many in our squad that are not even C grade and that is down to 1 man. “Buy cheap pay twice” is a cliché for a reason. That will not end with Ashley in charge. We have him on the run now lets not give in to his Bishop fuelled ploy to hoodwink everyone. A decent manager is the litmus to whether he is true to his word or not. Anything less hallmarks his intentions.

  • PB777

    Totally agree. I was having the same conversation with a friend of mine. None of the players mentioned are remotely good enough. Sadly a lot of our supposed better players (krul, sissoko, tiote, coloccini) have been well below par too. Bring good players in and it sets the bar higher for the rest. Give bonuses for punching above our weight and not finishing tenth! About 45 points gets you tenth! Currently our squad is a mix of those who should do better and those who should never have come within a country mile of our club. Sadly it comes from the culture created at the top of our organisation.

  • Marklp

    I disagree SGM. I think the problem is we need a manager who keeps them on their toes, All the players, not just the ones he mentioned need to know that they have to play out of their skins or they will be dropped for the next game. We need some one to come in who can change the mentality of the players. Ferguson had some very average players playing consistently good stuff at man utd

  • Willvenus1

    How many times has he been played in his best or preferred position, mainly central midfield?Perhaps he should be sensibly judged when he gets a decent run in the side in that position? Encouragingly, he stepped up to the plate when required which suggests he deserves that chance?

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Willvenus1 Ajax’s Technical Director was quoted as being amazed we bought him. Said he wouldn’t have got a place on their bench – so I’d tend to agree with that based on someone who worked with the lad on a daily basis.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    SGM oh and aye, Ashley’s statement. The Club website coincidentally reminds us today
    “The deadline for season ticket renewals has been extended, meaning supporters now have until Wednesday, 10th June to secure their seat for the 2015-16 campaign.”
    Cynical, me? Nahhhhh!

  • Billy Goat

    Totally agree Anita, Obertan, Ameobi, Cabella, Williamson and Riviere, get shot of this lot

  • Chemical Dave

    He’s a useless little dwarf, wouldn’t look out of place in the Russell Forster league – doubt he’d get a game though.

  • Kevin Halliday

    Get a proper manager and coaching staff before we start putting good players into our rivals teams.

  • RexN

    Some fair points in the article but some pertinent comments also in the replies. I feel sorry for Anita. If he had gone into a good footballing team, we may have seen a different player. Our history is littered with managers who could not get the best out of some of the talent who were, quite frankly, too good for the systems that managers have played. The likes of McGarry, Souness, Allardyce, Charlton, Kinnear, Pardew, Carver and others have done some talented players a huge disservice.

  • GToon

    He isn’t very good in the wrong position. Against the hammers he played in his preferred position and did well. You also need to take into account the pedestrian pace of our midfield which limits Anita’s performance. The pace of our play also limits the performance of players like Cabella who can’t do much when the ball is slowly played to him giving the opposition time to double up on him. These players don’t underperform at our club for no reason you know and yet look great in another club. Therein lies the problem. And I think you should be addressing that to our coaching staff. If that makes no sense to you think about how do you think our current team would do against Keegan’s entertainers. Would they even get near the ball? Pace, mate, it’s all about pace.

  • GToon

    We need to do lots of 5 aside in training to improve short burst movement and link up play. That has been apparent for ages, hence the reliance on hoof ball as there is no movement. Interestingly you might want to watch the highly unpopular Rivierre who does loads of off the ball running but never gets a pass. I think nearly all of our players would do better somewhere else. Funny that eh!

  • SGM

    Sickandtiredstill SGM So Carr goes of with the agreed amount of cash and buys a player within budget and comes back with a donkey. who’s fault?
    I don’t think the Paymaster (whoever that is) vets the quality of the players, he just writes the cheques.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    You’ve answered your own question.
    “The agreed amount of cash”. Agreed by Ashley (paymaster) or most often it seems, not.
    He clearly stated this Club would not make marquee signings and would seek to buy cheap, young players from other (foreign) leagues.
    Thats the man who dodges responsibility for football decisions – yet sets the rules on who is bought and at what price. Selling is also the same.
    Quality, like everything with Ashley, is judged by the price.

  • TonnekToon

    Its Riviere for me. If he’s a striker I’m  the King of Siam.  He fluffs every attempt,  even his last goal . Is it confidence  or poor ability  ? Anita could be confidence  and lack of game  time  , plus playing out of position  . Others like SissoKo  just look like they want to be away , Just Seems  half  hearted  . In a way you can’t  blame him/them  but they’re  all supposed  professionals  earning  wages we can only dream about. Sammy ,Obi, gouffy, Willo  cabella  etc.  Should be moved on as soon as , but will they ? It’s a big job for some one in the summer.

  • Willvenus1

    You said “He isn’t very good”. Based upon facts, Frank de Boer, a coach who I would imagine 100 percent of Newcastle fans would have at our club, played him in central midfield over 50 times in two seasons after taking over at Ajax. He has played over 100 times for Ajax, had over 50 apps at Dutch U15-U21 level and 3 full Caps. Whilst far from being a world beater, in my opinion you’re statement “he isn’t very good” is a bit unfair and not justified bearing in mind he has had to play under the combined management genius of Pardew and Carver.. Based on his last performance, for me he has possession of the shirt.

  • Newcastle u

    I think Anita and amen I can be a good bench players for us and I think Cabella will come around but the rest can go.

  • DownUnderMag

    TonnekToon Riviere just looks horrendously short on confidence to me, he’s snatching at chances and looking all the worse for it.  I just think he needs a couple of goals and more importantly more chances per game.  He puts the graft in and links up really well, but a dire lack of service in to the front men means he feels the NEED to score off every chance he gets and that is a bad place for an out of form low on confidence striker to be. 

    My jury is still out on him, he may never come good but i’ve seen some glimpses of a decent player in there but he suffered from having to play a role not suited to him early on and a total lack of service everytime he steps on the field.  Time will tell but think he deserves one more season in a more settled functioning side before I write him off completely.

  • DownUnderMag

    Whichever way you look at it, we have too many below par players and too few top quality ones (and even fewer with the bottle to take the challenges set when they come).

    If we fail to keep those out of contract (Raylor, Jonas, Ameobi, Alnwick) then the squad is looking even worse off.  Forget their quality or lack of, we just don’t have the numbers.  And there is no use replacing underpar players with more underpar players just because they are cheap…it won’t help our cause next season one bit.

  • Ollie Burtons Grandad

    Good Article. The league table does not lie, last season we were shite; ergo so were most of our players. I can see the arguement that the poor sods have had to put up with Parspew and Comedy Carver but we have so many that are well below PL standards.
    We need a good clear out (thats if we can shift some of the dross!). Thing is can anyone actually see our current managemernt overseeing it?
    No doubt we will “Be keeping our powder dry” for the new Head Coach (ha bloody ha) which means the shite will stay and no one will be bought..
    Fatmans clock is ticking

  • Chemical Dave

    He hasn’t got a prayer.

  • TimBoddy

    Do some of you “writers” and “fans” not realise that the players read sites like this? So how committed are their performances likely to be once they’ve read the “writers” slagging them off and the “fans” calling them names like, for example, ‘a useless little dwarf’? Sure, feel free to question the players performances if they’re not doing well, but how low class do you have to be to stoop to name-calling and insulting our own players on a public social media forum where you can hide behind a pseudonym?

  • LeazesEnder

    TimBoddy Well said from now on Denis Wise  is just ‘the Poison’.

  • crediblejustin736

    I’ve watched anita for a long time. And Obertan right from Manchester united. Even at NUFC, Obertan hasn’t played 90minutes enough. But everytime he has he’s put in good performances.

  • cwtoon88

    You obviously havent been watching well if you think thats Anitas only ‘decent’ performance he was  key component next to Tiote when we went on our winning run the season before last ( 2012/13) and since that time has not had a constant run of games especially not in his best position which is playing next to a true defensive mid like Tiote or at a lesser level Mackem Jack.
    If you only think his performance on sunday was decent Iv got news for you every individual performance this season has been less than decent. He has struggled at times physically especially when playing the deep holding role and he will never be a Cabaye but anyone who puts Fifa down and gets off facebook for 5 minutes to watch him play can see he has good football intelligence and excellent instincts a trait which a lot of our players especially the english ones lack. He is comfortable on the ball and always wants and doesnt hide next to an opposition player like a certain ginger mackem who has been undroppable this season.
    If we had allowed Anita the game time Mackem Jack has had in the same position with a defensive midfielder next to him he would look a lot better in my opinion but because he has played but one game in the right place then we dont know for sure

  • crediblejustin736

    Writing this article calling our players sub par, let me ask you this. Look at spurs with ryan mason and all the other inexperienced players. Look at the southampton team too with all the young relatively unknown players. It is beyond argument, we have better players than a lot of those teams. The difference is we have almost a whole squad list adapting to life in the epl, and hardly no older players to help them fit in. While this may be a common statement, it really does affect a team. Look at spurs. The same thing affects them, thats why they end up being so inconsistent. The mindset of the writer of this article is what had us release 23 players in july 2012, including leon best and guthrie. the year before that it was jose enrique, nolan, barton. We just keep weakening our team. And who is the better DM if you sell anita? Who is the better winger if you sell obertan? Dont you think we could have done better with marveaux in the team last season, allowing gouffran to play cf. the players you want to take out are the the best we have, and all it takes just like we have seen at southampton for the past three years is a good manager to bring out the best in them. You cant build up a house by knocking bricks off the top now.

  • crediblejustin736

    Spot on @cwtoon88 . And for all those asking Jonas to leave “on a high” cos he’s old, I dunno which EPL you had been watching. Even his opta stats confirm it. The man is pure class and has at least 3 more years in him. Diego forlan peaked in his 30s, same with Robben. A player turns 30 doesnt mean he has forgotten how to kick a ball

  • NottsToon

    The glaring issue with the way we play at the moment is that we do not dictate the tempo of the match. We haven’t since losing Cabaye who was the only player we had capable of doing it, with Man Utd away being the prime example.
    Maybe De Jong can do that, maybe not.

  • Chris McGarry

    Spot on

  • Sickandtiredstill

    crediblejustin736 And who do you hold responsible for those sales? The supporters?

    Season top scorers – Carroll, Sold; Nolan – Sold: Ba – Sold; Remy – not signed from loan. Throw in Cabaye and Debuchy as well.

    What has us release/sell any player, as well as sign them, is Mr. MJW and if they fit in with his fiscal policy. Same reason why Bony, Gomis, Lacazette etc etc etc were all deemed too expensive – which of course had nothing to do with if they were good enough and if we needed them.

  • Chemical Dave

    Why do you call yourself “crediblejustin” ? Surely a contradiction in terms?

  • Chemical Dave

    Grow up Tim nice but dim.

  • TimBoddy

    Chemical Dave
    Is that the best response you can muster, son?
    Pathetic and childish, consistent with your original “post”!

  • Chemical Dave

    Aye I’m consistent alright, so I’ll say it again, grow up Tim nice but dim, sanctimonious Berk.

  • TimBoddy

    Chemical Dave  Why do you call yourself ‘Chemical Dave’? Is it because you’re noxious, toxic, and should be isolated to avoid contact with human beings?

  • TimBoddy

    Obertan, Williamson and Ameobi have arguably had enough time to show that they’re capable of playing in a Premier League side, and for me they haven’t, so no argument there.  Cabella needs more time, and a better manager, as does Anita who has never had enough of a run in the side to settle. I think Riviere should maybe be given the benefit of the doubt, but off in January if he shows no keener eye for goal that he has so far.  Seems quick, strong, but his finishing has been dreadful.  Of all of those mentioned, Anita is an odd one to pick on, in my opinion.  I think he’s a bit lightweight for the Prem, but I still think he’s got a lot of potential if he’s given a good run of games.
    Gouffran has been disappointing, particularly his goal tally given where he plays.  2 goals in 31 games from an attacking midfielder? Not good enough. Time has to be up for fringe players like Sylvain Marveaux, Rob Elliot & Shane Ferguson, if buyers can be found. And while it’d be great to stand by good, loyal professionals like Jonas and Ryan Taylor, do they both have what it takes for the Prem these days?  The fans in general seem to have turned against Steven Taylor n’all, so might be time for a move for him.
    We’ve got Karl Darlow and Jamel Lascelles coming from Forest, and hopefully Siem De Jong might be ‘like a new signing’ after his nightmare first season.  That still potentially leaves us rebuilding a third of the squad!  I don’t trust a thing that Ashley says, but if he really is going to invest in the team, it’s going to take an awfully high level of investment to get us to a level where we’re even competing for a place between 5th and 10th.  Personally, I’m not holding my breath. “Fool me once”, and all that.

  • TimBoddy

    Chemical Dave  Sanctimonious? No. I just happen to think it’s fine to constructively criticise our players, but that it’s not fine to name call and insult them on a public forum related to Newcastle United that they might well read.  And if you are determined to do it, at least have the guts to use your real name, instead of hiding being a fake name like a scared little bairn.  And how long ago was Harry Enfield’s Television Programme?! 25 years? Might be time to think of a new gag when you encounter someone called Tim, fella.

  • Chemical Dave

    “They might well read” ? Make your mind up Tim (no)Boddy. If you think players’ performances are affected by what they read on places like this, why not write an article stating you think they’re the bestest players in the world ? Who knows, in the case of Anita he might just have been pretending to be shite for three years ?

  • Chemical Dave

    @nicebutdim it’s easy to picture nicebutdim saying that ^^^

  • Philippines

    It’s been a frustrating thing with many NUFC players over the years that they can turn in a good game and then go back to crap again. I remember a game against Chelsea where Bramble looked like an England call-up contender. What is it? Too much night clubbing or what?

  • TimBoddy

    Chemical Dave  “why not write an article stating you think they’re the bestest players in the world”
    Ha! That’s the argumentative equivalent of “well if you like it so much why don’t you marry it”, Dave. Laughable!  Are you a child, or has your mental age never developed past the age of 8?

  • Chemical Dave

    Its not developed enough to understand what you’re on about.