Despite being London born and bred, Jonjo Shelvey loves it in the northern wasteland that is Tyneside.
So says his big mate Charlie Adam, the pair having played together for Liverpool.
The now Stoke midfielder was taking part in a radio discussion about the perceived problem of clubs in ‘less fashionable areas’ being able to attract quality players.
The comparison put to Charlie Adam being the examples of Swansea and Newcastle v London and Manchester.
Maybe there are some players from abroad who see London as the main/only place to live/play but I think this is a pretty empty argument overall.
The way they go on, is as if any foreign player moving to a London club will automatically be living at Buckingham Palace with all the bright lights of the centre of the capital on their doorstep.
Reality is that most players will live nowhere near the centre of London and live on the outskirts with easy access to the training ground. Then anybody who has much experience of travelling about London knows that it usually takes ages getting from one part to another.
The other reality is that the bottom line is that player predominantly are most bothered about joining an ambitious club who will also pay the market rate for wages.
I love Liverpool for a night out but when players are choosing to go to Anfield it isn’t because they are big fans of the Beatles, or think it is the greatest place to live.
Back in the day, the likes of Les Ferdinand, David Ginola, Laurent Robert, Philippe Albert and Jonathan Woodgate happily joined Newcastle because it was a club trying to succeed on the pitch, plus there is a reason why loads of people love to come on city breaks to Newcastle – because it is a class place!
If Newcastle looked like it was a club once again trying to go places (places that aren’t the Championship…) I don’t see it as a major problem getting people to come to St James Park, the problem is once again becoming a club trying to go places.
That can only potentially happen once Mike Ashley walks out of the door.
Charlie Adam talking to BBC Radio 5 Live (asked about players wanting to play in London and Manchester rather than ‘less fashionable areas such as Swansea and Newcastle):
“It is a mentality thing,
“I speak to Jonjo Shelvey, he loves it up in Newcastle.
“He is a London boy but says: ‘It is the best decision I have ever made.’
“His family loves it, his kids love it… it’s just different, and I think a lot of the foreign players find it difficult, because London is a big attraction and Manchester is a big attraction.
“But listen, when you get an opportunity to go and play in the Premier League, it doesn’t matter where you play: Swansea, Newcastle, wherever…it should be a privilege and an honour to play in the Premier League.”