The presence of Peru at the World Cup has brought back fond memories of Nobby Solano from his days at Newcastle.

With his combination of classy set-piece wizardry and clever playmaking, he was one of my favourite players of the Robson era.

But then I’ve struggled to remember any wingers who have been able to match his performances in the black and white stripes since he left…

Matt Ritchie has made some important contributions, with 15 goals and 12 assists over the past two years.

Even so, the majority of those came in the Championship and his form was poor until that crucial goal against Manchester United this past season.

The only other serious contender who springs to mind is Hatem Ben Arfa but therein lies a squandered talent.

Pardew was too short-sighted to understand where he fitted in the team and, after a few years of dancing around defenders, the Frenchman began to look increasingly unfit. His expert dribbling stopped being with the ball and instead became over his evening meals.

Of the rest, Charles N’Zogbia showed flashes of talent amidst plenty of mediocrity, and James Milner’s last six months at St James Park were very promising until Ashley sold him to Aston Villa from under Keegan’s feet – without a replacement lined up (the first of many such stories).

It is no mystery, therefore, that quality delivery into the strikers from wide positions has been a consistent deficiency of Newcastle’s play for the past decade. In their defence, conventional wingers are now tactically out of fashion and most teams’ width comes from wing-backs.

Nevertheless, there is still a place for wingers of Solano’s ilk in the modern game. Once Bobby Robson was able to pair the Peruvian on the right with Lauren Robert on the left, there was no shortage of creativity in midfield. It was the defining characteristic of the team and gave plenty of quality deliveries into the Shearer/Bellamy strikeforce.

Don’t worry, I’m fully aware that we aren’t likely to replicate the acquisition of players with such finesse under the current ownership regime, but that isn’t going to stop me celebrating those great memories of Nobby curling the ball into the bottom corner against Everton, or sending us top of the league at Christmas on a snow-lined pitch in Leeds.

With Peru already knocked out of the World Cup, it looks like they miss Nobby Solano too.

To feature like Stephen Thorne submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here

  • Leazes.

    Thorne: that’s another name from the West country…. Devon….. just saying like…. probably another in the long line of coincidences.

    • Peaky

      Bar open early in Castle Leazes this glorious hot Sunday morning ???

      • Leazes.

        You don’t find it strange that the articles are mostly written by people whose male line all seem to come from the Devon and Cornwall peninsula?

        There have been migrations of miners from Cornwall when Pit owners and Lord Armstrong shipped them in as ‘Strikebreakers’ during the 19th Century….mostly they left and went back but a few stayed and their descendants all became MAG article writers…. that is a bit odd!

        • Peaky

          I think you’re probably right….I also think the BBC should hire you for the next series of “Who Do You Think You Are”…you could do a MAG writers special…

          • Leazes.

            I’d love to know who he is…. I think he’s Simon Van Der Velde a mate of Mark Jensen who is paid to keep articles appearing and to make it look like there’s more than one person doing it….

        • Philippines

          I worked with an Undermanager called Bob Lillico at Lynemouth colliery. His family came from Cornwall. I worked with the Charlton Bros uncle at Ashington. He was an electrician. Do we digress?

        • SuperDesHamilton

          What line does Hogg from?

          • Leazes.

            Dead right for the borders.

        • Dillon Tovak

          But I’m called blagburn which is Scottish and I’m from Bristol, so it’s kind of meaningless surely?

          • Leazes.

            Well the highest congregation of that name has come up as Northumberland.

          • Dillon Tovak

            My Dads from Whitley bay, plus with the combo of being 8 in 1994 it was a no brainer.

            My (limited) research finds that it’s a Scottish pronunciation of Blackburn. Meaning cruddy stream 😂.

          • Leazes.

            This data takes in the census returns from 1881 and I can assure you there were Blagburns in Northumberland in greater numbers than any other county, and as your dad was from Whitley Bay well there you go very likely as you say a corruption of the Blackburn Village in West Lothian, Scotland…. just West of Edinburgh….thats where your male line is from.

          • Dillon Tovak

            Only my personality is that of a soft southerner, genetically I’m of tougher stuff then 😉

          • Leazes.

            Haha… who knows

  • SuperDesHamilton

    They don’t miss him that much since they never got close to a woman of cup with him in the team.

  • Dillon Tovak

    Solano and Robert on the wings was a fantastic moment in time, don’t think we’ll see something like that for many, many a year. ☹️

    • nufcslf

      I agree, but Ginola and Gilespie kept Sir Les a happy man.

  • gallowgate26

    Eh? Ben Arfa wasn’t a winger, he’s the best no. 10 I’ve ever seen…

    • paul mclaughlan

      I know football is all about opinions. But that statement is hilarious.

      • Down Under Mag

        I think he is referring to the fact that he SHOULD have been played as a number 10 and not as a winger expected to track back and nullify his attacking threat. He was a liability in losing the ball when playing where he was positioned but was horrendously mismanaged by Pardew and I for one would love to have seen him playing as a link up players just off a main striker… he may have had issues with his work rate but if we could have stuck him with only one player to beat to line up a shot or a pass then we could have had a lot more return than him trying to beat the entire opposition team every time he got the ball :)