It takes a lot, an awful lot, to surprise me at Newcastle United these days, but the decision to give Fabricio Coloccini a longer contract ranks right up there with the best (worst).
When Mike Ashley promised big changes back in May, the club to show ambition and invest in players, I though at the very least our appalling defence would be sorted out.
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I expected at least two of the failed trio of Williamson, Taylor and Coloccini to be gone by now, with an all new partnership at centre-back AND a new captain.
Instead, we still have this trio of duffers AND we arent’t getting a new captain AND they have given Fabricio Coloccini an extended contract that will take him beyond his 35th birthday.
Hard to believe but these three have been our centre-backs since the 2009/10 promotion season, at this stage I find it hard to rule out extensions for Williamson and Taylor as well.
The last three seasons have seen the defence produce the following:
2012/13 68 goals conceded and only one of the non-relegated clubs let in more.
2013/14 59 goals conceded and only two of the non-relegated clubs let in more.
2014/15 63 goals conceded and none of the club who stayed up let in more.
Coloccini has started 81 Premier League matches over that three year period, Williamson 78 and Taylor 40.
So basically 199 of the 228 centre-back places in the last three seasons have been taken up by two of these three. Ironically, makeshift centre-back Paul Dummett has looked by far the best option when he’s had his chances in the recent past.
If ever there was a time for change it was now, get a really good experienced centre-back to come in and form a partnership with the promising but inexperienced 20 year old Chancel Mbemba.
What makes it worse is that the club’s press statement made it clear that Coloccini would also continue as Captain…
The man who tried to walk out on the club, his teammates and the fans, halfway through the relegation fight of 2012/13.
The Captain who shows absolutely no leadership to those around him.
The Captain who has spoken and represented his team on TV after Premier League matches only once in seven years.
Coloccini had one brilliant stand out season in 2011/12 when Newcastle finished fifth, he was average to good before that year, then in the last three he has been consistently poor.
I can’t remember the last time he put in consecutive decent games.
This contract decision very much has the feel of being presented almost as a new signing and for me equals no chance of bringing in the real quality centre-back we desperately need.
Now there is talk of Coloccini coming straight into the team on Sunday despite not playing a single minute in pre season friendlies for whatever reasons.
Hearing this news today made me think of those good news/bad news jokes – so if Coloccini getting a longer contract is the good news, I dread hearing what else the club have to tell us that is bad news…