Since the end of the near disaster that was last season,  I have heard many fans say that one of the reasons we have struggled so much in recent seasons, is because Newcastle have had too many foreign players and not enough English/British/Irish players,

I have always disagreed with this but now I believe it is becoming a more prominent belief as illustrated by an article on the Chronicle website recently.

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The article goes on to imply that Southampton. Swansea and Stoke who finished 7th, 8th and 9th did so because they had a higher percentage of British and Irish players than we did.

I find that thought absolutely ridiculous to come to that conclusion and even more ridiculous that they randomly picked the 3 teams in 7th, 8th and 9th to show comparisons to.

Why not compare to Burnley, Hull, QPR and the mackems, who also had more British and Irish players in their squad?

foreign playersIf you then go to look at those 3 teams, you will in any case see that there are other factors to their success. If you consider the managers of those teams, you have a trios who set their teams out positively first and foremost, which a is a key aspect in my view.

Southampton in Ronald Koeman have a manager who was a top player and has succeeded well at Feyenoord, prior to getting this current, job and has carried on Mauricio Pochettino’s good work.

Swansea have a man who has come through the ‘boot room’ to keep the team playing with a club philosophy that has served them well over the years.

Whilst even Stoke have a man in Mark Hughes who has experience and in the last year has taken the shackles off what was an ultra-negative Stoke team.

We on the other hand, had Pardew and then his incompetent assistant Carver.

You can then look at the key players of these 3 teams to see where these British and Irish players are having key contributions and how would they improve a Newcastle team and get us up the league:

At Southampton they had/have Nathaniel Clyne and James Ward Prowse, both good players but how many of you really would swap them for Janmaat or Sissoko (based as a number 10)?

foreign players

If I was looking at Southampton’s team at players who would really improve us, it would be the power of Pelle, the pace of Mane, the composure of Schneiderlin and the power of Wanyama that would make a difference and guess what, they are all foreign.

Again, when you look at Swansea, Williams would be an upgrade on what we have – but that is more a comment on how bad we are at the back. Dyer and Routledge do well but having watched Routledge here, I’d say they were both more system players. Another who is popular is Shelvey but in my opinion I would not swap him for any of our centre midfielders, he is just a bald Craig Gardner to me.

Looking at the players who played last season for Swansea and the ones who would really boost us up the table, it would be the foreigners again, The centre forwards of Bony and Gomis (both who we wouldn’t pay the going rate for) would give the power and quality up top, then the one player who makes Swansea tick is Gylfi Siggurdsson. Exactly the type of player we have been missing, very similar to Cabaye, and we all know a player like that can move you up the table.

Finally, we look at Stoke where there is a British/Irish player who would be top notch for us and that is Ryan Shawcross who is a leader and a warrior at the back. Other than that though at Stoke, it’s again the foreigners who star. Stoke were at their best with the brilliant Begovic in goal, the force of N’Zonzi in the midfield and the skills of Bojan and Arnautovic going forward.

Overall and generally I look at these 3 teams and see well coached sides who make use of British and Irish players to play in systems that allow the key players ( generally foreign) to flourish. Whether these players need to be British and Irish is debateable.

One thing these players have in common is that though that they are quality players and suited to the premier league, or have previous premier league experience.

I don’t think nationality matters but having premier league experience is clearly a good thing to have. Whilst if not being ‘premier league ready’ is important, to me you can come from Carlisle or the Congo, it doesn’t matter as long as you have the right footballing abilities and attitudes.

The suitability (or lack of it) for the premier league is a key mistake in some of our signings in recent years,

Vurnon Anita: as much as I think he has ability, Stevie Wonder could see he would have problems with the physical aspects of the game.

Whilst anyone who watched him play at Montpelier, could have told you our star signing of last summer, Remy Cabella, was lightweight and would take a long time to adapt in a more physical league (if he ever adapts at all).

Though saying that, the likes of Krul, Colo, Sissoko and Janmaat are key players for us and we would have went down without them.

foreign players

I look at our current squad and think if we had a team of the quality of our British and Irish players, we would struggle to be mid-table in the championship. Colback is the class act and he is a more ‘does a solid job’ type, whilst others such as Sammy, Dummett, Willo and Elliot don’t look like they should be footballers, never mind premier league players.

If you asked me now who I would sign this year, a lot would be British and Irish but that is nothing to do with where they are from – just that I think they are the best options for the team. Players are class, or not, because of who they are and not where they are from.

So to summarise, I believe we need to avoid getting caught up in the ‘British and Irish trap’ in players to come in (if any come in…they have to don’t they?).

We need to get players with the right attributes and attitudes for moving forward and one of those attributes is not nationality.

Benton to Buenos Aires it doesn’t matter as long as they do the job on the pitch.



  • shizzl98

    Absolutely right. It really annoyed me at the end of the season with most pundits saying “they need to buy British, have a British spine”. It’s daft, when we finished fifth the spine of the team was Krul, Colo, Cabaye and Ba, now we’re rubbish people scream “we need more Brits!”. Very strange.
    My theory is that it’s desperation, desperation from the fans last season to see someone giving their all or changing the game in some way which very rarely happened, and making the logical step to assuming someone English would automatically give their all every game. The reality is our best players last season were a dutch right back and a Spanish striker, with Colback obviously making a great contribution.
    I had the same gripe with “carver is a geordie, so he must be great for the manager’s job”. I’m a Geordie, give me the f#ucking job!

  • Paul Patterson

    It’s often too easy to blame the overseas players, but the problems are a little deeper than that.

    We sign a player (Cisse) who has a startling record for six months and then we move him to accommodate another brilliant overseas player (Ba) and then he can’t score to save his life for a year. That’s not the players fault.

    We have the option to sign a British player with a fantastic record last season (Austin) for £15m (Widely reported) and we haggle over the price.

    In the first instance we get a brilliant player and through bad coaching/management we screw him up.
    In the second instance we (so far) refuse to sign a quality player because were too tight to pay the going rate.

    Nationality doesn’t come into it . .

  • Cypres

    Did Chelsea win the league because they had 11 British players ?
    Did Man City win the league the previous season because they too had 11 British players ?
    The answer is NO.
    Instead of fans pointing blame at foreigners they should, and have, quite rightly pointed out that employing Geordies with limited coaching and managerial was at fault.

  • DownUnderMag

    Problem has been firmly in the coaching (or lack thereof) and the fact that we go after bargain basement signings with cheap wages or we go after players openly using us as a stepping stone.  This results in a dearth of quality and a lot of players who won’t graft for the cause when the need arises.

  • mactoon

    When Carver took over we had around 27 points, nobody pointed the finger at foreign players at that point as we were doing relatively ok. The same players then went into freefall winning only 3 of the last 20 matches under Carvers management. I dont think it had anyting to do with their nationality.

  • wor monga

    It’s not so much how many of any nationality are in the team
    at any one time…it’s more a case of how many newly introduced to the different standards
    of the PL, eg. the physical nature of the game, will come in and find enough proper
    experience alongside them to help them step up quickly to those changes….We have failed to support some of the foreign players we
    have brought in at times when it was very obvious that the team needed more players
    with a good solid experience of the PL.

    …We have had both Taylors out for long periods, Williamson with limited ablity and not able to dominate in the air, Dummett inexperienced as a CD
    and played out of position at LB… Collocini the silent captain, with his mind away in
    Argentina (not helping Mbiwa much)… Gouffran (Marveux) brought in and expected
    to run ragged covering the fragile defence, and then get forward and score goals, (Ben Arfa
    refusing to do the same)…Important players Cisse, Tiote, (Ba) off to the
    ACN every year…two PL inexperienced back-up keepers Elliot and Alnwick,
    covering Krul…which when added to the high rate of Injuries and red cards, really amazed me how
    Janmaat, Ayoze, and Colback had the character and will to keep going in the
    shambles going on around them, and it’s little wonder Cabella, Rivierre and Anita
    struggled.

    …That’s a lot of
    glaring squad failings for any club to contend with and none of the other clubs
    around us had nearly so many problems…2 or 3 decent British PL experienced players in some key
    positions might have lessened some of those problems.

  • TonnekToon

    wor monga For me personally , it doesn’t matter where a player comes from , but I agree about the ACN . losing up to 3 players or more at a crucial time in the season ( usually for us any way ) every year is a massive shot in the foot . At least non African internationals would stay at home .

  • 1957

    Last seasons debacle had little to do with having too many foreign players but more in having the wrong foreign players and from January onwards employing Geordie John to run the football side, a man whose effort at team motivation consisted of his pal holding open the door while he told players to walk out I they weren’t up for the fight. What would he have done if some had? Yes the weren’t putting in good performances but bullying was never going to turn things around.
    The foreign players bought are not as bad as they seemed in most cases just totally unsuited to the system and possibly the league they were asked to play in. Carr and Pardew clearly didn’t work well together and if blame has to be allocated for the failure of certain players it lies with those two, Carver and the football board at the club who put him in place

  • desree

    i’d put pardew in the same class as mark hughes. I’d also suggest that it was the attitude and work rate of all players that created our problems.
    Unsuccessful businesses, teams and any other organisation are so because they lack leadership and clear direction.
    All Other arguments or stats are irrelevant if those two factors are missing.
    In Ashley, Charnley, Pardew and Carver we have seen shocking examples. I read something recently that stated the culture of an organisation is shaped by the worst behaviour a CEO is willing to tolerate.
    Head butting opposition players, accussing your players of deliberately getting sent off on TV, swearing at journalists, partnering with loan sharks, trying to offload a player cos he has cancer and you don’t want to pay his wages.
    Clearly ’emplyoyer branding’ is low on the equation
    Which when your businesses success is 100% determined by the performance of your staff – is a recipe for 8 years of disaster.
    If Ashley and Charnley don’t care then no amount of signings will change our situation. It will just be nasked by our customary 5 game winning streak that saves us from relegation whilst creating the illusion we are watching a team.