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Opinion

Completely irrational and nostalgic signing of Andy Carroll might offer some hope for Newcastle United

3 years ago
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Last week, the semi-regular story of Andy Carroll signing once again for Newcastle United made it’s bi-annual appearance.

Now a free agent, the re-signing of Big AC to Newcastle seems an obvious link, until you remember the apparent under-26 only policy that the club refuses to chuck out of the window once and for all.

Despite the record signing of Joelinton, who it has now been confirmed will wear the number 9 shirt, a wholly incompetent summer leaves us needing at least one more striker (two for me if the club shift Dwight Gayle off the books). Hence, the Andy Carroll rumours have gathered pace.

He has been released, options for him appear minimalist, with MLS incredibly the most likely sounding option. The Toon seems the obvious option and the media storm has been whipped up.

Whether Carroll could still be a viable option is certainly debatable. Many will say he should not be and that those bridges were long burned.

The doubts around his fitness and form over the past few seasons, make the transfer at best look a gamble, and at worst a non-starter. In fact ever since he left NE1 in 2011, Carroll has never truly been able to achieve the potential he showed while with us, only producing glimpses of brilliance. The hat-trick against Arsenal, the header against Sweden at Euro 2012, the amazing bicycle kick against Crystal Palace, all just flashes in the pan.

The reality is he probably never even put together a half-season as consistent as the one he had for us, just before departing to Liverpool in January 2011.

Ashley will probably look at this as one of his greatest triumphs. Managing to flog a prized asset for £35million (at a time when this was a huge amount- a record for a British player), the player then struggling in the subsequent years of his career, making the deal look a brilliant one for Newcastle.

The reality is though, Carroll’s story is quite a sad indictment for all involved parties. We lost a proper number 9, a Geordie lad and someone who actually looked like he could be a potential successor to Alan Shearer. That might sound silly to some now, but at the time he looked the real deal.

He probably would never have got close to the goal ratio Shearer used to provide but it did look like he could be a local hero to build the team around for the next 7-8 years.

I remember being at a home game against Manchester City on boxing day 2010, which actually ended up as his last game at SJP in the black and white.

We were 2-0 down, but Carroll almost single-handedly led a furious fightback. He battled, scrapped and bullied the City defence. Every time the ball went in the penalty area, Joe Hart looked absolutely terrified of the beast. Chants of dodgy keeper from the Gallowgate followed and the place rocked. Carroll was the spark that ignited the crowd and his team. He scored a trademark header with the City defence retreating so far they were virtually in the Strawberry. We ended up losing 3-1 after a breakaway goal but were hugely unlucky not to get something.

Walking away from the ground I felt Carroll offered real hope, despite the issues from the top of the club (which hasn’t changed). The sort of hope that a certain Rafa Benitez has offered to us for the past three seasons.

I never got the joy at seeing him struggle after leaving us. Liverpool lost out big time, selling him for a cut price fee just two seasons later. While West Ham only saw glimpses of the potential we saw on Tyneside, yet he still might have something.

When fit and in full flight, he can still bully defences, though it will be interesting to see the impact VAR has on him if he stays in the Premier League.

The reasons to not sign him are obvious. The aforementioned law changes, fitness issues, potentially big wages. But I think if a pay-as-you-play deal could be struck I might be tempted to go for it.

We have nothing else to offer us hope after the past month. A trip down memory lane might be fun. Why not? I could with something/or somebody to bring back a glimmer of hope. Maybe a completely irrational and nostalgic signing might offer some.

You can follow the author on Twitter @JackLaceySport

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