The Newcastle players have been rightfully praised by fans and pundits alike.

Unless you have the benefit of a significant transfer budget, any run of three Premier League wins in a row is something  to be celebrated.

All you can ask of any players/team is that they play for the manager and the supporters, which is certainly the case so far this season, and was the same in the Championship.

However, many Newcastle fans want to take this many steps further, with local journalists also keen to jump on the bandwagon.

If you listen to some people, then this current NUFC side is by far the most committed we have seen in living memory, so much better than those Newcastle players in the past who didn’t care about the club/couldn’t wait to leave/only interested in cash etc etc.

Playing devil’s advocate, how do you know Mikel Merino’s committed?

He has only started four games for Newcastle and whilst he has definitely played well and put everything into those matches, how can anybody know he is any different from those that have gone before?

He couldn’t get a game at Borussia Dortmund and the 21 year old is now playing in the Premier League in front of fifty two thousand adoring fans every home match. Who knows though what the situation will be in even eight months time?

Unless you have just started supporting Newcastle United, you will have had plenty other similar situations.

The fans loved Mathieu Debuchy as he was a star man in the 2013/14 season but then when he got the chance to play Champions League football and compete for trophies, rather than stay at a Mike Ashley stifled Newcastle United, suddenly he was a traitor only interested in himself.

Daryl Janmaat came in and Newcastle fans were thinking what a result. Costing half of what United had got for Debuchy, Janmaat was just as good and totally committed…only to then leave straight after relegation, having told his then international boss moths before the season ended, that he was going to do so if Newcastle went down.

DeAndre Yedlin is the man in position now and with no prospect of getting games at Tottenham, a move to Newcastle who were hot favourites to bounce straight back to the Premier League, was a no-brainer. What though if he has a stellar season and next May some club comes along offering to double his wags and give him Champions League football?

The answer is, we don’t know. We only find out when circumstances change and another club poses the question.

Ba, Cisse, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Coloccini…all players who many fans would now question just how committed they were to Newcastle United.

Yet these were key players in Newcastle ending up fifth in 2011/12  and just missing out on a Champions League spot.

Fans might want to rewrite history now but nobody can tell me that that team/squad could have finished in fifth if the Newcastle players concerned hadn’t been totally committed…at the time.

The truth is, that the Alan Shearers and Shay Givens are few and far between, Newcastle players who were top quality and could have played for any other club but ended up staying long-term at St James Park.

Playing devil’s advocate again, say Newcastle finish in lower mid-table this season  but Man Utd/Man City/Chelsea/whoever wins the league, come in and offer Jamaal Lascelles massive wages and the chance to play in the Champions League and potentially win trophies. Imagine if the vibes are already that Mike Ashley is once again going to restrict spending (after spending nothing in January 2018)…would Lascelles say ‘No thanks, rather than CL football and trophies and more money, I love the Toon and would rather stay here, even though the owner is never going to let the club have a chance of being successful’?

What the bottom line is, for me, is that until we have a club that is run on ambitious lines then we will always be in danger of losing our best players.

Going back to that 2011/12 team that finished fifth, can we blame any of them from becoming demoralised when Mike Ashley refused to allow that breakthrough season to be built on, instead only Vurnon Anita arrived that summer.

So when Ba, Coloccini, Ben Arfa, Cabaye and Cisse, agitated for moves and/or lost interest, can you really point the finger at them?

I just hope that Rafa Benitez will be given the proper backing to create a situation at St James Park where the best players will want to stay regardless, as they believe it is a club going places.

Until that is in place, I don’t think you can count on any quality player being long-term ‘committed’ at Newcastle United.

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  • Vassilis

    A true article but it could be written for any premier club bar maybe the top 4 or 5

    • Simon Ritter

      Even the biggest PL clubs are not immune from having their best players poached. If PSG, Milan, Barca or Real Madrid come knocking, the Man Cities, Chelskis and Liverpools suddenly look second-rate. I’m just happy the current team are putting in a proper shift for Rafa, week after week, month after month. Long may that continue.

  • TheNutJob

    The Fat lad will be in the Nags head in Peckham quaffing the Ale down & phoning his minion Penfold
    Lee, how much will we get for Jamaal, Matt & Mikel In January ?

  • Paul Patterson

    I think the difference is, from 2012-16, once the results dried up and the rot set in, there was a visible downing of tools from a lot of the players you have mentioned, which is unforgivable and systematic of the lack of professionalism under Pardew/Carver/McClaren. I don’t think that will happen under Benitez even if results take a dip.

    • Andy Mac

      It wont because Rafa is a different animal. He doesnt play at Championship Manager whereas Pardwho is probably still struggling on Level 2 ?

  • Grahame Johnson

    All I’m bothered about is the commitment of the players on the pitch game by game, I want my team to win,lose or draw with passion and commitment, if I compare the past and look to the future I will not have had all the emotions I’ve enjoyed in the last 3 games.

  • glassjawsh-got-banned

    With Yedlin, and all Americans for that matter, I’d be more worried about MLS coming in and telling him that he could make twice the salary for half the effort (with a quarter of the scrutiny) back home.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      Whilst they are young and ambitious, they will try and achieve here as long as the money is better / comparable. AS they go past 32, they will go back to the MLS along with the British players.

  • Danimal

    Spot on. Enjoying it while I can but yes, this ‘team spirit in the face of adversity’ thing can only take us so far. And the only reason we’ve got the adversity bit is that we’ve been inexplicably run into the ground for ten years. The point about the crazy gang of Wimbledon (sorry young people, you might have to look it up) is that they were meant to be underdogs so they were able to thrive on it for several years. With consistent top 3 or 4 attendances, a large catchment area, international fame, wonderful commercial potential etc, we are only underdogs because a certain person has decided that’s how it’s going to be.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    How do you know your wife will not leave you next week or your boss will sack you the week after or you might have a heart attack the next Monday. The fact is Newcastle are fourth and would have been higher had we not had two carried off and one sent off against Spurs. The people on this site hate Newcastle United with a passion. However will tell you this Rafa and the team and the fans who went to Swansea, going to Brighton, Southampton and Burnley will back this team to a hilt.
    We are United so please stop putting the boot in you are very sad people. Went to the True faith anti Newcastle meeting at the Irish Centre and there was not one person I recognised that sums it up.

    • Danimal

      We all love Newcastle. It’s just that, for some of us, that doesn’t mean sucking up everything that’s thrown at us without question.

      • Andy Mac

        MM is on some sort of web based pilgrimage where his sackcloth and ashes tshirt will lead him to the gates of heaven. Let him be !

  • magpiefifer

    Good post Ryan – guaranteed to keep our feet on the ground!!!
    Hopefully,Rafa can keep the players going like this,but most of us realise that the m.o. of Ashley is not conducive to winning trophies and keeping players who have a nice profit attached to them.

  • Andy Mac

    I’ve always maintained that the makems biggest problem in recruiting players is the poor beggars would be playing in the Land that Time Forgot and it’s nowhere near Lahndan.

    For us its almost the same issue other than Newcastle is a vibrant City with bars, restaurants, nightlife blah blah blah which encourages people from around the world (but mainly stag and hen nights) to enjoy our world famous hospitality.

    As for players, we’ve tried the “Hollywood stars” if you can call EMO that and Viduka, Remy, Ferreyra, Doumbia etc etc and they didnt fit. What this club needs, and fortunately Rafa seems to have grasped the fact, is almost the second tier of Good.

    We aint gonna buy the players that turn up at the Etihad, Old Traffoird or Stamford Bridge but there are those who’ll be good enough to work with a manager they trust to bring their game forward.

    If you gave me a team of 11 solid players with ability and a world class manager who can get the very best out of them then, right now, I’d take that under the Fatman. If we ever won anything the feeling would be oh so much sweeter plus he’d eff off !

    • 1976

      If our training ground and facilities were in Hertfordshire them we’d attract the big stars – providing Ashley would back Rafa. Fly them up on the Friday morning before the home games at SJP……..

      • Danimal

        If we were competing financially with the top London and Lancashire clubs (and I’m not suggesting we should be right now) I don’t think there would be any issue at all with our geography. There wasn’t back in the mid/late 90s when we used to buy players from clubs like PSG. This is a small island we live on.

  • Steve Pearce

    You forget one important fact – Rafa Benitez is our manager and he has instilled commitment and desire amongst our players.

  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    The truth is that although the Shay Givens and Shearers are few and far between, Given left when he had the chance of double the wages and still wanted a cut of the transfer fee due to his loyalty. Shearer stayed put because he was guaranteed to be the highest earner at the club.

    • Rich Lawson

      I think Given left because he had become frustrated by the set up at Nufc rather than for the money,He gave us the best days of his career,can’t bring myself to bear any grudge.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        I don’t begrudge players moving on nor their salaries. I think if you compare footballers to actors (for instance) footballers are worth the money and have far more talent.

        However, we o tend to pick and choose who we call a loyal hero or a mercenary.

  • Down Under Mag

    It’s not about committment in terms of staying around…every player has their price, every player will want to move for more money and the prospect of trophies. Would you turn down a new job that paid more for doing the same work but had more chance of being reognised as top of your skillset?? Of course not. What the committment is in this case is that the players are working their socks off and showing they care about the club and performing to their best. That is all we have ever asked and we are getting that now for the first time since probably the Nolan/Barton promotion side. Rafa also is a major stabilising factor, I think the fact that the players see such a high profile manager staying put for the fans and to try and make us better, it has to rub off on them as well.

    If we can continue to pick up points and stay safe this season then the summer then poses a huge question as to the future of the club, but until then let’s just get behind a bunch of players who deserve nothing but unwavering support…they have proven they are willing to graft and despite some obvious areas we would all like to have seen strengthened, those that are there are doing their best and I think it’s time we stop looking for problems, criticising players unduly or trying to put the team down to “prove a point”.

  • ghostrider

    The simple truth is, if a player wants out he’ll get his wish, generally.
    If a player expresses any desire to play his football elsewhere, then, no matter how good he is, he’s not going to perform at his best until he gets his wish, so he’s best moved on as quickly as possible before he upsets the applecart.

    Most players generally move, or want a move because they can usually earn bigger wages and a have a cut of the transfer fee, whether that’s their own doing or as part of being coaxed by their agent.

    Some players wait for their dream club and will only move if it comes off.
    Anyway I’m babbling on but the crux of the matter is very simple.
    Any player that wants out of the club, no matter who they are, can leave, as far as I’m concerned.
    I won’t cry over them. I won’t think its the end of the world. I’ll just merely cross the player off from my, keep in good memory status and use a few parting words that would definitely not be for under 18 story books.

    I want to watch players that want to play for the club. I want to see players say all the right things whilst doing the right things.
    These are the players that mean something to me.

    Any football player that comes to Newcastle United and does not want to stay in a team run by a top manager and having a stadium like St.James’ Park as their home stadium, with fans as loyal as Newcastle fans are….is not interested in playing football…only GREED.

    • Hughie_Gallacher

      It doesn’t really matter whether the player wants to stay or not; if he can fetch a decent bundle of cash, the owner will sell him. In fact, all the players at Newcastle will be well aware they play for a selling club.

      • ghostrider

        The reality is, we aren’t a selling club and you have zero evidence of it that stands up to any scrutiny.
        All clubs sell players and all clubs will try and get the best deal for those players that want out.
        Some clubs will sacrifice a player that doesn’t want out if the money is right and some will do it if the money is far too good to refuse.

        Up to now, we’ve sold players because those players wanted to leave or tried to hold the club to ransom.

        You are basically using your hatred of Ashley and your knowledge that mass opinion is on your side, to paint him in as bad a light as you possibly can, by making up stuff like you have, knowing it’s not the whole truth of a story.

  • TheFatController

    When you have neymar leaving Barcelona you have your answer right there to the question ‘is any club safe from modern player power?’

    No, clearly not. So the article is relevant yes, but the answer is painfully simple. Depends on the player, but most, like the rest of us, seek the better money with a better employer – very often the grass isn’t always greener – look at debuchy, cabaye, remy, ba, ben arfa, etc now – at the time they thought they were bettering their career and you couldn’t really blame them at that time.

    That’s life. As neymar would tell us no doubt.

  • Alan Pardew

    I have some sympathy for the players. They get people, agents who aren’t even their own, ringing them up and promising them the world. There are some terrible people in and around the game.

    If somebody says they can get a deal done which is going to double your money, it’s going to affect you.

  • Rory Stafford

    “Double his wags”, how many has Yedlin got? :)

  • Albert Stubbins

    Please let’s not all jump the gun with this side- there’s such a long long way to go- yes lets enjoy the committment and desire- things that have been missing for ages but lets keep some perspective before we all start thinking these are the best group of players weve had in a generation. I hope they are mind!!