Gini Wijnaldum and Daryl Murphy, two players who barely lasted 12 months at Newcastle United.
One of them scored 11 goals in black and white and the other one six.
One of them I don’t even think about as a Newcastle player and the other, I can’t help but check to see how he has done each match, after obviously first of all looking up how many Sunderland have lost by this time.
Wijnaldum wasn’t terrible for Newcastle, he did an ok job overall for an opening season in the Premier League but…
I can’t claim that I foresaw that he would desert us when Newcastle were relegated…but it was instantly clear that he had no intention of staying once the writing was on the wall.
After his move to Liverpool was confirmed, Wijnaldum claimed that it had been a difficult choice to leave Newcastle, his body language said something different.
Maybe Rafa Benitez sensed what the Dutchman was about very early on, leaving the midfielder out of his team in the vital relegation fighting games against Liverpool and Manchester City (Rafa’s sixth and seventh matches in charge) – the team picking up creditable draws in both of them.
When Newcastle faced Liverpool last Sunday, the former PSV Captain didn’t really register with me during the 90 minutes, watching Match of The Day 2 later, I realised it was Wijnaldum that had hit the woodwork, but during the game I honestly didn’t think ‘oh we are up against him who played for us…’.
In contrast, when we played Forest in the League Cup I actually was looking forward to seeing Daryl Murphy again – but sadly he didn’t get on the pitch.
He might have only made seven Championship starts (and eight sub appearances) last season but he made a great impression, never once complaining about being left on the sidelines and then getting left out even after playing well and scoring!
As well as Wijnaldum, you have Sissoko, Janmaat and Townsend, all of them desperate to leave despite being part of the relegation team.
I know most people want to always focus on Moussa Sissoko but I think Andros Townsend was the biggest joke. Newcastle rescued his career from being in no-man’s land at Spurs, he then started 12 matches for Newcastle, before joining Palace(!!) and saying he wished he could have stayed at Newcastle but had no choice but to look after himself…
Going back to Daryl Murphy, he accepted his was a one year short-term fix for Rafa Benitez and he would be dispensed with on promotion to the Premier League, though with the way things have turned out and no top quality strikers signed – Murphy must occasionally think if he had hung around at Newcastle he might have got his chance in these early stages – especially with Dwight Gayle having hamstring/confidence issues.
Not saying that Daryl Murphy would have been the answer this season but I don’t think he would have left us weaker is playing instead of Joselu – and the Irishman is definitely a better finisher.
In fact, he has been in phenomenal form, making 11 starts for club and country, Murphy has scored 8 goals already, two for Ireland and six for a very moderate Forest side.
Maybe Wijnaldum, Sissoko, Townsend, and Janmaat, will all go on to win shedloads of medals…but they certainly won’t have one thing. That is the kind of respect players like Daryl Murphy earn from Newcastle fans, by doing things the right way and showing the integrity that those four will never appreciate even exists.