Chris Hughton pays tribute to Cheick Tiote – Releasing personal statement via Brighton and Hove Albion FC
In August 2010, it was Chris Hughton who brought Cheick Tiote to Newcastle United.
Newly promoted, the then Newcastle boss was starved of funds by Mike Ashley.
The summer 2010 transfer activity amounted to James Perch arriving for less than a million, Hatem Ben Arfa in a loan deal, free agent Sol Campbell on a short-term deal, with £3.5m the only significant money spent on bringing Cheick Tiote from FC Twente.
An unknown quantity to Newcastle fans, their first sightings of the midfielder were when he made his debut at Goodison Park in September 2010, a Hatem Ben Arfa wonder goal and Newcastle clean sheet winning the three points.
Cheick Tiote then following that up four days later when coming on as a substitute, he helped Newcastle win a remarkable league cup tie 4-3 at Stamford Bridge.
Never far from the heart of the action as he became a first team regular, Chris Hughton describes Tiote as having been ‘The perfect and essential midfield player’.
In a personal statement released via Brighton and Hove Albion FC, Hughton paid tribute to his former player who sadly died on Monday aged only 30, having collapsed during a Beijing Enterprises FC training session.
“I was shocked and saddened to hear such terrible news.
“He was a young, fit and outwardly healthy man – to be taken so young is so tragic for his young family.
“I had the pleasure of signing Cheick in 2010 and thoroughly enjoyed my time working with him at Newcastle; I quickly learned he was a very humble person and a wonderful footballer.
“He was a superb professional and proved a great acquisition for Newcastle; he played a lot of games for the club in the seven years he was at St James Park.
“My thoughts and condolences are with Cheick’s young family and many friends at this very difficult time.”
Chris Hughton has also been speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live:
“For what we wanted at the time, Cheick Tiote was the perfect fit.
“The perfect and essential midfield player.
“He was a good player, a good passer, but he was going to also do the ugly part of the game.
“Competitive in the middle of the park, winning the ball, allowing the players around him to affect the game.
“I remember when he came and we had to calm him down a lot of times in training, he was so competitive.
“He trained every day like he was playing a game – the players very much respected him for that.
“The thing that struck me, was how humble he was, it was such a big thing for him to sign for Newcastle.
“I remember speaking to Steve McClaren before we took him and Steve spoke very, very fondly about Cheick Tiote – not only as a footballer but also as a person, a person that wouldn’t let you down.”
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