The only real positive when Ciaran Clark arrived at St James Park, appeared to be that it really annoyed Aston Villa fans.

The Villa supporters getting a bit upset as the defender declared he had joined a much bigger club, something always guaranteed to get supporters riled.

Lascelles and Mbemba had finished the Premier League season well, with Newcastle unbeaten in their last six matches, so they looked certain to be first choice.

With Grant Hanley signed and Paul Dummett also able to play in the middle as cover, Newcastle looked well served, so Ciaran Clark looked set to sit most of the season out, with only a rash of injuries likely to see him involved much in the Championship.

Nevertheless, once he got his chance Ciaran Clark has been outstanding, easily Newcastle’s best defender all season and by some distance, also the player of the season.

Even if some supporters were undecided, then surely in his recent absence we have all seen proof of what a great influence Ciaran Clark is when playing.

The joke defending and goals conceded in the past eleven days against Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds and Ipswich have been especially comical.

I honestly think that if Clark had been in the team, then Newcastle would have been comfortably promoted by now.

Just look at these stats of when he has and hasn’t played this season:

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

In 11 Championship games he has missed, it has been 4 wins, 2 draws and 5 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 33 points without Clark, it works out at 1.18 points per game, which over a 46 match season would equal a total of 54 points.

So basically, the difference between going up as Champions and being just above the relegation zone over the course of a season.

Rafa Benitez said before the Leeds match that Ciaran Clark was ‘very close’ to joining in with full training once again, let’s hope on Monday he is ‘very close’ to playing against Preston.

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

  • Geordiegiants

    He has been our Killer/Collocini, in this league, an average top league centre half that looks good in the second tier. In 92/93 we had Killer as our rock and he looked a world beater (in fact, it’s probably down to his signing alone we never went down in to the third tier), when we went up we had to let him go as unfortunate he was getting too old and probably wasn’t good enough for what King Kev was striving for.
    Then 2009/10 we had Collo, he was that highly thought of, he was gonna have a rumble with everyone’s wife.
    He should of been disposed of as soon as we went up, but wasn’t.
    Let’s see what happens with Clarke.

    • Mrkgw

      Yes, I remember what a great addition Killer Kilcline was. A brilliant defender for us at the time.

      • Geordiegiants

        He was class pure class, the thing is he wouldn’t of been a main stay when we went up even if he had been young enough.

    • wowski13

      Harsh on Collocini. You do realise Collocini was in the Premier league team of the season 11/12 and was alongside Kompany as the best Centre back in the premier league during our first 3 seasons following the promotion in 2009/10? He was kept on too long and injuries and personal problems greatly affected his form towards the end of his time at Newcastle but he is easily in the conversation for our best centre-back of the premier league era.

      • Geordiegiants

        So what you are saying a centre half that we had for eight years, had one good season in the championship, and one good season in the premier league is in contention for our best ever premier league centre half?

        • wowski13

          Of course I am. When you scrutinise who has appeared for us at centre back it’s a easy argument to make. In terms of ability Woodgate was probably the best but played for such a short time he’s often forgotten by a lot of people. Keegan’s team of the 90’s was a lot stronger defensively than the media would like you to believe but only Albert was of any class at CB. Steve Howey had potential but again injuries held him back. Coloccini had 4 good years at the club before his decline where he was legitimately one of the best ball playing centre backs in the entire league. Who else could you include in this argument?

          • Geordiegiants

            The above named defenders are head and shoulders above Collo and he doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence.
            A one from the top of my head without having a trawl through our prem history, and that was a far better player is Dabizas.
            Woodgate was world class, Albert just oozed class, Steve Howey was in the England team and playing the football of his career.
            When were the four GOOD seasons Collicini had?

          • wowski13

            You clearly have a very poor memory. Dabizas was a bang average defender. I love the bloke but he wasn’t particularly good. Albert was just about my favourite player as a kid (I had his name on my shirt) but defensively he wasn’t the best. Howey could have been brilliant but injuries prevented him from ever achieving his potential. Colo was pure class from the 09/10 season through to 12/13. Too many of our fans are easily swayed by their last memories of players. Colo was a shadow of his former self when he left but people shouldn’t overlook the class player he once was.

          • Geordiegiants

            We will have to agree to disagree, Collo was probably the best CB in the championship 09/10, and had a good season in the premier league 12/13, but “PURE CLASS” is a little bit over the top.

          • wowski13

            Premier league team of the season would suggest otherwise, to be honest his 11/12 season is enough to have him considered one of our best defenders on it’s own (we’ve had some truly poor CB’s over the past 20+ years). Forgot to add I agree that Clark isn’t good enough to be our top CB in the premier league, need to sign some talent there or we will struggle next year.

          • Geordiegiants

            I did mean 11/12 sorry, but 8 years of service allowing fatty and his minions to use his name and lie to the fans makes him pure dross in my eyes, and 1 season playing good football doesn’t make him pure class or our best ever premier league center half when he had at least 4/5 terrible seasons.

            Clarke could hopefully come good now he has a bit of confidence, and the backing of Rafa and the fans, lets wait and see.

    • Andy Kelly

      Clark and Baker were 2 standout players in a very poor villa side, it wasn’t all down to poor defending as to why Villa were relegated.

      • Geordiegiants

        I think you will find if you look back, Clarke was a laughing stock within the Villa ranks, even our own fans ridiculed him when we signed him.

  • Wor Lass

    Sam, I hope you`ve got a strategy for mentioning Villa in every piece you do next season when we`re in different divisions?!

  • Paul Patterson

    Player of the season, but when we go up Rafa will earmark a top notch centre back as priority signing number 1. Ryan Shawcross for me.

  • Mrkgw

    I like Clarks attitude and will to fight for us. He deserves his place in the side when we go up and with the right man alongside him, he will form a decent partnership. Rafa needs to try him alongside Mbemba.

  • Andy Mac

    Maybe thats why Lascelles has been playing like a 10 year old without his mate alongside ?

  • David Richards

    I fully agree. Clark in my opinion has been an outstanding addition and a big miss on the run in. Pound for pound our best buy of the season.