Yesterday morning it was confirmed that Papiss Cisse had completed his move away from Newcastle United after four-and-a-half years with the club.
It was news that was met fondly by the majority of Newcastle supporters, with Papiss Cisse being somewhat, shall we say, uninspiring since he initially burst onto the St James Park scene in 2012.
It was definitely the right time for the Senegalese forward to move on but I found a lot of comments made by Newcastle fans toward him very puzzling.
Cisse may have struggled coming to the end of his Newcastle career but for fans to rejoice in the club being, ‘finally rid of a waste of space’, seemed awfully harsh.
Papiss Cisse certainly isn’t as technically gifted as the likes of Ayoze Perez, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dwight Gayle who we’ll look to take us forward in the coming seasons – but the fact of the matter is that he loved playing for Newcastle United, and will leave the club with a respectable scoring record.
In my eyes, Cisse should be remembered for far more good times than bad.
He single-handedly gave us so many incredible moments throughout his time with us.
I doubt we will ever see a better brace than his away at Chelsea in 2012, and his next two-goal haul against the same opponents in 2014 to end their unbeaten start to the season, created one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever seen and felt.
Even in the years following his stupendous first four months, he scored plenty of important goals for the club.
He wasn’t helped out by the departures of Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa without adequate creative replacements either.
He may not have had much in terms of pace, strength, or the ability to position himself in an onside position, but he had a knack of being in the right place at the right time, and he always had a smile on his face – what’s not to love about that?
He scored goals and he loved scoring them for Newcastle United.
My personal favourite memory of Cisse will be THAT late goal against Fulham…and the carnage in the Gallowgate/Milburn corner that followed.
I may be labelled a prat, as I so often am, for defending Papiss Cisse, but a guy who leaves with 44 goals to his name in 131 appearances, and who loved wearing black-and-white, deserves to be remembered fondly in my book.
And if not that, he certainly doesn’t deserve some of the abuse I’ve seen. I wish him all the best over in China.
What we now have left is a vacant #9 shirt and a few candidates to fill it.
I’ve already written a piece for this site on my admiration for Mitrovic and he would be my personal choice to take the shirt.
But, I saw a post saying that there was too much of a rush to fill it, and that leaving it free for the next year wouldn’t be a bad idea, and I fully agree.
The last time Newcastle were having to play Championship football, our then number nine Obafemi Martins left the club and the shirt free once more.
Andy Carroll, Peter Løvenkrands and even Shola Ameobi could have taken the number but none of them did.
Carroll proved his worth that year with a fantastic season in the Championship and was rewarded with the number when Newcastle made their return to Premier League football.
Something similar for this season would be a good way to go about.
I’d certainly say Mitrovic wants the number more than the rest of the current candidates, taking #45 last summer as the digits add up to make his desired number.
Imagine if Benitez set him the prize of the shirt in reward for a good season this year? I reckon that’d spark a decent fire in the lad.
Regardless of who’s given the number, hopefully they’re well-remembered all-round come the end of their tenure in a Newcastle shirt.
You can follow the author on Twitter @RhysMelhuish22