If at the start of this season I had given you 10 guesses as to who would be Newcastle United player of the year, you would still never have picked Ciaran Clark.

With Jamaal Lascelles and Chancel Mbemba finishing the Premier League season off so well under Rafa Benitez, they looked nailed on to be first choice in the second tier.

Then Championship battle hardened Grant Hanley who was also Blackburn Captain, came in as cover and to compete against that duo.

With Paul Dummett also able to play there, and it arguably being his best position, centre-back seemed the last place Rafa would strengthen further.

So when Ciaran Clark came in from Villa, Newcastle fans were generally puzzled.

Villa supporters predictably slagged him off as a person and for his ability but that didn’t really tell us a lot as their bitterness was always going to mean negative comments, especially when Clark said it was great to be moving to a much bigger club.

Nevertheless, once he got his chance Ciaran Clark has been outstanding, easily Newcastle’s best defender all season and by some distance, in my opinion and seemingly most of you as well, also the player of the season.

Having also scored in the wins over QPR (away) and Brentford (home), as well as the 2-2 draw against Bristol City, his three goals make him the highest scoring defender this season for Newcastle and it also means, he has scored two more than Isaac Hayden and three more than Jack Colback.

However, what about the stats of when he has and hasn’t played, does that back up the general perception of his importance?

Ciaran Clark has started 32 Championship games so far, in those matches it has been 22 wins, 5 draws and 5 losses.

In 9 Championship games he has missed, it has been 4 wins, 1 draw and 4 defeats.

Collecting 71 out of a possible 96 points with Clark, it works out at 2.22 points per game, which over a 46 match season would equal a total of 102 points.

Collecting 13 out of a possible 27 points without Clark, it works out at 1.44 points per game, which over a 46 match season would equal a total of 66 points.

As well as these stats above, the naked eye tells you that Newcastle United massively miss Ciaran Clark, as his pace, ability and composure also helps cover for the weaknesses of Lascelles and Dummett in particular.

For those outside of Tyneside, the idea of Ciaran Clark being a bigger miss than either Dwight Gayle or Jonjo Shelvey might seem astonishing, but that is the reality for me.

Fingers crossed we see him back ASAP.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

  • Mal

    He’s been a big miss and it’s been worse with Yedlin, Hayden and now Gayle been injured all at the same time. The sooner some of them are back the better.

    • Jezza

      All good reasons why it was a very bad idea not to sign anybody in January.

      • Wor Monga

        Is that the best level of negativity that you can come up with…even though the prospect of promotion is almost assured now…the failure to bring in either Townsend (who left when we weren’t up to his esteemed PL standings) or McCarthy (who Koeman said wasn’t even up for sale)…
        …why not just stop whinging about the past for a change Jezza, and get behind the Lad’s to help them beat Leed’s!!!

        • Jezza

          The January window is not in the past though is it. It is still having a huge bearing on us in the present. We are now entering the crucial final phase of a promotion campaign with a depleted first team squad. This critical situation could well have been avoided if we had strengthened in January. That is not negativity, that is reality.

          Hopefully not buying in January won’t end up costing us promotion but even so it could still affect us in the long run. Simply put, knowing Ashley the way we do, there is every chance that he will be thinking if he got away with not spending in January he can probably also get away with not spending in the summer either and where will that leave us? Do you fancy our chances in the Premiership with our current squad?

          • Damon Horner

            we look like we’re going up without spending in January, we didn’t need Townsend, it’s now just simple indulgence, it was a gamble and it paid off.

          • Jezza

            If we do get promoted it will be the very first of many gambles Ashley has taken with our club that hasn’t gone disastrously wrong.

          • Wor Monga

            We have a squad that is widely regarded to be as strong (if not stronger) than all of the other clubs around us in the division, and we’ve gone a long way to prove that by losing our top goal scorer, the best central defender, the best attacking full back, and arguably our best quality defensive midfielder…for long periods yet we are still comfortably placed in one of the auto-promotion spots…
            …there’s only 5 games left, and most probably less than 8 points needed, and now it’s time for some of the rarely used players to step up and take us over the line…not to be looking back and crying over some unecessary ‘spilt milk’!!!

          • Jezza

            We haven’t got a strong squad at all. We’ve got three outstanding players surrounded by a load of mediocrity. The only reason we have survived our recent injury crisis is Shelvey’s continued dominance in midfield and Ritchie weighing in with some crucial goals in Gayle’s absence.

          • Wor Monga

            Just 3 outstanding players, you say, surrounded by mediocrity…ok, Gayle 22goals, Ritchie 11 goals, and Shelvey something like 5 goals…that gives us something like 38 goals, but hang on we’ve scored 69 something wrong there Jezza, and we’ve only had 35 scored against us (same as Brighton) yet none of those 3 are defenders…that’s not a mediocre team effort, by any standards in any league…
            …No you’re just comparing this team with some PL clubs, and then happily telling us of disasters ahead… but we haven’t had Rafa here to start a PL season yet, have we?…and the truth is you don’t know, who he’ll bring in if we get promoted, but it doesn’t stop you predicting the worst like any other pessimist!!!

          • Jezza

            When you have supported Newcastle United as long as I have it’s hard not to be a pessimist and you become conditioned to always expecting the worst.

  • Wor Monga

    A first class PL signing…he’s been a revelation at the heart of the defence, and the ideal experienced partner to line up alongside the eager but relatively inexperienced Lascelles, and if he hadn’t just arrived at the club he would have been a more likely choice than Jamaal to captain the side…

    …He took a hammering from the usual ‘he’s not good enough for us’ squad on here…who were fuelled by those Mag articles telling us what the Villa fans thought of him…after he left them, and that unfortunate lunge in his first game for us…since then you can see from the stats what effect he’s had on the back 4…

    …He’s got pace…he’s good in the air…calm, cool and collected in possession, a strong tackler with accurate passing skills… and we certainly need him back in the side… ASAP!!!

  • Damon Horner

    As much as I respect Clark for all he has done, he wouldn’t have made any fans ten picks for a reason…

    The Mag needs to stop giving praise to players but then use it as a weapon to attack other players they should supposedly support, 4 players mentioned comparatively to the negative in this article that didn’t need to be mentioned at all.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Lascelles makes Clark look like Sergio Ramos

    • Wor Monga

      Who cares who he makes him look like?… it’s how they operate together as a pair of central defenders…that’s all that matters, and the stats don’t lie!!!

    • Vodkamagpie

      You don’t have to be a Sergio ramos to play in a defence for Rafa. You need a defender that will follow the instructions given, learn, listen, be professional, and of course, do the basics of being a defender, which is defend.

  • Toon Army AZ

    No doubt that Clark has been a revelation, and very deserving of credit. Rather than looking at the wins and losses, which is difficult to attribute to one player in a sport with 10 others on the field, it is apparent that the Lascelles-Clark combination plays much more confidently than any other combination.