I quite enjoy the fact that pundits/experts and fans of other clubs don’t appreciate just how good Ciaran Clark is.

I even get a bit of perverse pleasure from the minority of Newcastle supporters who somehow still don’t realise what an asset the former Villa player is to the team.

Surely those who bizarrely think Jamaal Lascelles is a better player, are Newcastle fans who only read what the ‘experts’ say and don’t really watch the matches.

Once he got his chance last season, Ciaran Clark was Newcastle’s best defender pretty much every week, and arguably the best in the overall team as well on most occasions.

Thankfully that has carried through to this season, with the central defender seamlessly stepping up back to the Premier League.

The two opening matches have been challenging but Ciaran Clark wasn’t at fault for any of the three goals or the overall defeats.

The defence looked fine against Spurs despite having to reorganise with two injuries and Clark then doing a great job at left-back. Only Shelvey leaving Newcastle to play with 10 men for half the game, meant a defeat rather than the likely 0-0 draw that looked on the cards.

At Huddersfield, despite inviting the home side to attack for much of the game and defending deep, Ciaran Clark and the rest of the defence looked ok, Mooy’s goal coming as the centre of midfield opened up and Merino maybe showed his inexperience when done over by a simple one-two.

Against West Ham though, the whole team deserves credit, but especially Ciaran Clark.

Giving the Hammers next to nothing in the first-half, after the break and a goal down the visitors tried to have a bit of a go. They almost got back into it when a bit of chaos and losing the ball further up the pitch in the 53rd minute, allowed West Ham to break and Cresswell to power up the left.

His effort from outside the box saw the rarely troubled Rob Elliot make a real hash of it, simply blocking the ball to Hernandez eight yards out. The striker’s effort beat Elliot but a last ditch clearance from Clark off the line was the equivalent of scoring at the other end.

Speaking of which, 20 minutes later, brilliant work by Matt Ritchie saw him win back possession up the pitch and then a superb right foot cross was met by Ciaran Clark like a centre-forward, heading into the bottom corner and sealing the victory.

Like all fans, Newcastle supporters are guilty at times of going overboard about some of their players, however in Clark’s case I think it is maybe the opposite.

I think he is arguably Rafa Benitez’ best signing (so far), arriving for £5m due to a buyout clause.

He is good in the air, quick – great in the recovery, confident on the ball, with the ability to pass or carry the ball up the pitch himself. Plus he is left-footed, which usually is an asset for teams when looking for partnerships – most being right footed.

I’m glad he isn’t really talked about because when you see what very average players are going for, I think Ciaran Clark is at least in that £15m-£20m bracket, though of far greater value to us than that.

Obviously we need players to step up all over the pitch and at least a handful of key players who can help make up for the lack of real quality in other areas of the team – but Ciaran Clark is a main man in my opinion if Newcastle are to stay competitive this season.

Ciaran Clark is a class act but whisper it quietly.

Ciaran Clark talking to official club site after the 3-0 win over West Ham:

“Both ourselves and West Ham were in the same position.

“For us, we wanted to make sure we got some points on the board, we were aiming for the win, we wanted to go out there and put on a performance and that is what we did.

“This week, we’ve kept working hard in training and we’ve tried to take that into the game today.

“We’re going into the international break now and those that are here can enjoy it.

“Then when we come back, we have to make sure we push on and get a few more decent results.

“Last season we had that momentum, we were going into every game really positively, challenging for the Championship – but this is a totally different league.

“It’s probably one of the toughest leagues in the world, we’re playing against the best players, but we want to keep improving and see how we get on.

“He (Joselu) is a big, strong lad, he works hard, and he managed to hold the ball up a lot of the time, which is obviously good for us as it helps the team get up the pitch.

“He is an outlet to hit off goal-kicks as well, and when we do need to go longer he can obviously win those headers, and we can get up the pitch and win the second ball.

“I’m pleased for him and I’m pleased he got his goal – hopefully we can all kick on now and improve.”

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



  • Mal

    “I even get a bit of perverse pleasure from the minority of Newcastle supporters who somehow still don’t realise what an asset the former Villa player is to the team.
    Surely those who bizarrely think Jamaal Lascelles is a better player, are Newcastle fans who only read what the ‘experts’ say and don’t really watch the matches.”

    I’ve never bumped into any of these supporters you’re on about. I have to admit that I, and a few others I think, were dubious about him when we first signed him but he’s been class from the beginning and I’ve never heard or read a bad word about him from any supporter. As to his value, I certainly wouldn’t swap him for Johnny Evans.

    • anyobrien

      Agree with this… He was many fans player of the season last year, I love the bloke footballing centre half who just gets on with it.

  • Andrew Cowley

    Probably our best player and probably should be captain.great performance probably only bettered by Ritchie.

    • Cuh

      Lascelles should remain captain. He’s a natural. Remember 2015/16? He still gives the players that drive

  • hetonmag

    The big debate last week was what has Rafa done to improve the club, Clarkie is a prime example of him improving a player that’s what he’s good at.

  • Cuh

    I quite enjoy the fact that fans of NUFC, pundits/experts and fans of other clubs don’t appreciate just how good Jamaal Lascelles is.

    Clark’s defending was suspect for Mooy’s goal. Mooy would have easily played Ince through if he looked up. It was abject positioning. If that space wasn’t there, Mooy wouldn’t have played the 1-2 in the first place. Be critical

    • Albert Stubbins

      I do. Been telling everyone for ages that clarifies is the teams most consistent performer. He goes under the radar up here because of the position he plays. Calm and composed. A natural captain for me.

      • Cuh

        Clark might be our best defender. I think it’ll be him or Lejeune this season. Lascelles is a close third because of his eagerness to learn and motivate the team

  • Steve Pearce

    Yes – Clarkie was good, but so were the rest of the team. A real game of football at last spoilt only be that stinking international break, On the subject of which – couldn’t the Premiership games have been played on Wednesday before the break to keep up the momentum?

    • Geordie-7676

      The international breaks, whilst a bit of a blur for momentum, at least gives an opportunity for injuries to be dealt with. Fingers crossed by the time the Swansea game kicks off we will have Lejeune and Yedlin back to push on!

  • Gary

    Totally agree

  • James Doran

    Cracking player and good article. We are blessed at CB and glad to see Mbemba getting games as well. Clark is def the best defender at the club.