Signing for Newcastle United two days before the season kicked off, Ciaran Clark missed out on the opening day defeat to Fulham.

After another loss to Huddersfield, Jamaal Lascelles was dropped and Clark played alongside Chancel Mbemba as Newcastle beat Reading 4-1.

The next game saw Ciaran Clark remain in the team but as a left-back, allowing the United Captain to return at centre-back, as United won 1-0 at Bristol City.

Despite having an excellent game at QPR and scoring his first Newcastle goal in a 6-0 win, the Republic of Ireland international was nevertheless left out again.

However, the next game was pivotal, Mbemba and Lascelles having a shocker in the 2-0 defeat to Wolves and a toss of the coin as to who would be replaced.

Lascelles maybe won the vote because of wearing the captain’s armband and Ciaran Clark has been first choice ever since.

In many supporters’ eyes he is already the unopposed player of the season.

Very ironic that it was from our fellow relegation sufferers that Ciaran Clark was recruited.

When the offer came in for him, Ciaran Clark said it was a ‘no-brainer’ to escape Villa and join Newcastle United, even though the Magpies had already been relegated.

A brilliant signing by Rafa Benitez and a sensible choice from Ciaran Clark!

Ciaran Clark:

“You can never predict what’s going to happen but when I moved here…I just had a feeling that the club was set to bounce back.

“It was always a club set up to fight to get back to the Premier League and the manager staying was a big factor, then the quality of the signings that came in was another big positive.

“All of it meant that it was a no-brainer for me to come here – at the minute it looks a good decision.

“Hopefully, we will keep fighting and winning until the end of the season, get back up to the Premier League.

“From the outside people were looking at us having lost those first two games and thinking ‘That wasn’t meant to be like that’.

“It wasn’t what everyone thought was going to happen but as players we stayed level-headed about it.

“We worked on things in training and turned it around – the results turned and we knew we had the confidence, the belief, the players, to turn it around.

“We’ve gelled together as a defence pretty quickly, we’re all good lads and we all work hard, we all want to improve and learn.

“The more you train together you start to learn what each player is about, the main thing was getting us all working together as a team. We did that pretty quickly and it has been good since then.

“It’s a good pressure, being at the top of league, a different kind of pressure to what I’ve been used to (at Villa), but I’m really enjoying it.

“Doing the best we can to try to get up and it’s all positive, I’m really enjoying it here, being part of this.

“I’m just looking forward to the next few games – in the form we’re in we just want to keep it going.”

City Hall Gifts -

  • Peter Robson

    I remember the comments, mostly from Villa fans, saying how inept and clueless he was and how happy they were to see the back of him….. well I totally agree, because he ended up here, being managed properly, being played in his best position, and able to show us the player he really is and; in my opinion, I think he´s going to go from strength to strength !!! Thank you Villa, we owe you one !!!

    In Rafa we trust

    • Wor Monga

      Yeh!…I remember those comments, and the slating he got, and still gets a mention for on here after the penalty he gave away in his first game…judging by the amount of slagging he got on here at the time I thought a tar and feathering might have been on the cards…Rafa’s picking up Villa’s ‘cheapo’ rejects…he scores own goals for Ireland…worse than Williamson, etc,etc
      …He’s a diamond…couldn’t be anything else with the grounding he’s had since he was a lad, and you don’t get them like that without having the benefit of a really top manager!!!

  • Wor Lass

    I`d be happy for Clark to be player of the season. He`s definitely a strong contender but it wouldn`t be unopposed. Gayle`s goals have put us on the brink of promotion and Ritchie`s commitment and leadership by example put them both right up there along with Shelvey for his sheer class. My only reservation about him is his temperament – he`s a bit too easily wound up for comfort. If there was a most improved category, I`d nominate Dummy! “Man” of the season would absolutely be Rafa. We`ve come a long way from when big Mike was, quite rightly, voted fans` player of the season.