Introducing the Newcastle United Bast***s Eleven
It wasn’t too long ago that I was sat at Durham train station trying to pass the time before my train arrived. I had a quick wander around WH Smiths and came across Sunderland’s ALS fanzine which I picked up and had a quick glance through.
To my surprise, it wasn’t a bad read at all and there was one article which I found particularly amusing, in which the author referred to the team as ‘Sunderland’s Bast***s Eleven’ featuring a whole host of names, many of them from this PL era (or as Sunderland like to call it, the PL, Championship, League One era).
I was already halfway through putting together a whole host of Newcastle United elevens based on different titles and I thought this one was fitting to add to the list…
So with the inspiration coming from some mackem, thanks very much, here is my Newcastle United Bast***s Eleven.
GK – Dave Beasant
Now this was probably the most difficult one to choose because let’s face it, Newcastle have had some half decent keepers down the years.
Even the ones whose ability at the very top level may have been questionable at times, such as Pav or Harper, were stellar guys and fantastic ambassadors for what it meant to play for Newcastle United.
Dave Beasant was well before my time, but after signing for £800,000 which was a huge fee at the time over 30 years ago, and then leaving for Chelsea after only 20 games at Newcastle, there aren’t many kind words that can be said. I have also been told on good authority that in those 20 games at Newcastle, he wasn’t even that good.
CB – Titus Bramble
One of the easy ones for this list. Even while he was playing for Newcastle, I have a feeling a lot of people would have put him forward for a list like this. During his time at the club he was invariably shocking, and although he did have a good game here or there (I think I remember him having a stormer in the UEFA Cup at home to Zulte Waragem of all teams) – he always had one or two big mistakes in him… that is per game, not per season.
After leaving the club he would go on to score a last minute goal against us for Wigan, sign for Sunderland, arrested on suspicion of rape and arrested on suspicions of sexual assault as well as possession of a Class A drug.
He was cleared of all charges but will never be cleared of being a very bad footballer.
CB – Marcelino
I grew up referring to Marcelino as triangle head. The centre half who could not head a ball straight to save his life. Lots of people today complain that we spent £5 million on his compatriot Joselu, but 16 years previously, we spent the same amount of money on Marcelino! I wonder what that would equate to today…
Of course, you don’t make the list for being a bad footballer, otherwise at Newcastle we would have to make six or seven lists… and that is just in the PL era. Marcelino will always go down as the injury prone centre half who just didn’t have the fight to play for Newcastle with many of his injuries deemed ‘inconclusive’ by members of the NUFC medical staff. He was once out injured for over two months with a broken finger…
CB – Sol Campbell
Campbell’s time at NUFC was short and not successful. Arriving on a free transfer from Notts County. He spent most of his time at Newcastle out injured with a virus and when he did play, failed to impress.
This one of course comes down to personal opinion but since retirement he has spent his time being rather vocal about issues in Politics and accusing the FA, and the entire football pyramid, of overt racism.
He once described himself as ‘one of the greatest minds in football’ – it is a shame he never worked with John Carver as it would have been one hell of a duo.
Although as I write this, he is doing a decent job at Macclesfield and one of the few black managers in the football league, whilst Darren Moore has just been inexplicably sacked by West Brom… maybe he was right after all.
RM – Moussa Sissoko
One of the most frustrating footballers ever to play for Newcastle United. On his day, an absolute power house. However, for the most part, Sissoko ambled around the football pitch, didn’t assist enough, didn’t score enough and spent all of his time off the field talking about how he wanted to play in the Champions League and that Arsenal would be a dream move for him.
Rafa briefly got the best out of Sissoko but that was it… one of those horrible players that simply only put the effort in when he wanted to put the effort in. Good riddance.
CM – Yohan Cabaye
When it was made apparent that Yohan Cabaye was available on a free transfer in January, quite a few Newcastle fans jumped on the bandwagon to say that they would love to have him back.
I was not one of those fans. Although Cabaye’s ability cannot be questioned, let us not forget that is a player who went on strike at Newcastle United, refused to play for the club in order to force through a move to a different team.
A player with no respect for Newcastle United.
CM – Emre
Now I was a big fan of Emre during his time at Newcastle and I was disappointed to see him leave. A little terrier in the middle of the park and I imagine that he will be forever remembered by many Newcastle fans for scoring a brilliant winner against Sunderland.
However, a little deeper dig into Emre’s career shows up the not so nice side of him. During his time at Newcastle he was investigated by the FA on THREE separate occasions on suspicion of racist remarks towards other players. On all three occasions he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
On his return to Turkey though, Emre was proved guilty as a result of his incident with Didier Zokora which you can see on YouTube. He was sentenced to a two and a half months suspended sentence on account of racism.
LM – Nile Ranger
I don’t need to explain myself with this one do I? Ranger’s rap sheet is almost as impressive as it is disgraceful. From spending time in a young offenders for armed robbery to being released from Southampton for a bad attitude… all before he signed for us as a kid.
It got no better at Newcastle, with Ranger frequently in trouble with the NUFC staff, posing in a picture with a replica gun, as well as being arrested a number of times and fined by the FA for making homophobic comments.
Ranger did eventually end up in prison in later years, after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud. He would spend 10 weeks in prison.
ST – Craig Bellamy
One of the few players on this list who would probably make a similar list at every club he has played for. As a player for Newcastle, Bellamy was brilliant and was the perfect strike partner for Alan Shearer. Everything else about him though, left a lot to be desired.
From throwing a chair at John Carver, to being one of a group of players who are said to have made fun of Sir Bobby behind his back. It would later turn out that Bellamy had faked an injury to avoid playing for Newcastle under Graeme Souness. That wasn’t to be his last act though with Bellamy sending abusive comments to Alan Shearer via text following Newcastle’s defeat to Man U in the FA Cup semi-final.
ST – Michael Chopra
I don’t have a problem with any Geordie going on to play for Sunderland. It was a chance for Chopra to play in the Premier League again and probably pick up a decent wage.
His celebrations though, for a self-confessed Newcastle fan, left a lot to be desired… notably he also featured in the ALS version of this X1.
ST – Michael Owen
If there was a captain to this team, then Michael Owen would be captain. In fact, if I could have him as player manager as well that would be great.
Manager: Alan Pardew
Honourable Mentions: Sam Allardyce, Danny Simpson, Damien Duff, Jermaine Jenas, Charles N’Zogbia, Florian Thauvin… and Gavin Harris.
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