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Opinion

Newcastle United team of the decade – Proof the club CAN indeed attract players of sufficient quality

10 months ago
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As we embark on a new year and a new decade I think it’s probably a good time to reflect on my own personal Newcastle United team of the decade.

I have included the required seven substitutes which allowed for quite a mix of players.

You can never get the perfect team and some players I’ve picked may have had questionable attitudes but when the club itself is set up not to build a side, or sells itself as a stepping stone to players, then you’re hardly likely to get long-term stability.

I’ve plumped for a 5-3-1-1 but if you look at the substitutes this formation is quite flexible.

Looking back at the players I’ve picked, it’s clear that over the last ten years we’ve had some good players at the club, just not all at the same time, and as soon as their star shined they were sold on for maximum profit without benefit to the team or club.

The one thing that I would say, is that if a decent manager was omnipresent over the last decade then we may have had some stability, continuity and a platform to harness whatever quality we attracted to the club, something which was dispensed with last summer and the flogging of our best players continued.

Let’s dive straight in:

Tim Krul

Since making his debut against Palermo in 2006 he never let the side down. A major player in the side that finished 5th in 2012 his shot stopping was immense that season, kept us in games and won us points single handed.

Beating Spurs away 1-0 in 2013 was his finest hour (and a half).

Danny Simpson

I could have gone with other right sided full backs with more forward thinking mentality but with Simpson I feel I’ve picked the correct one. Was harshly disposed of simply because he wanted a better contract.

A good defender and won the Championship with Leicester City not long after leaving us.

Jamaal Lascelles

When the side started to implode in 2015/16, Lascelles came in from the cold and immediately questioned a few more senior players commitment. He has been a cracking player ever since.

A good captain and stayed with us in the Championship.

Fabian Schar

A great signing at a bargain £3m price. To top it off he is a good defender and chips in with some excellent goals with his now trademark bursts from the back four.

A hark back to the entertainers and Philippe Albert.

Fabricio Coloccini

I was torn over this one. His fall from grace was fast and epic but for four years in both Championship and Premier League he was great for us. Didn’t rate him as a captain but as part of that 2011/12 side he was a colossus at the back.

Paul Dummett

My wing-backs may surprise but with a distinct lack of choice with regards to wide players, I’ve gone with dependability and reliability and in Dummett you have both.

He gets a nosebleed when he crosses the halfway line but above all else he’s a very good defender. Great pro and very underrated.

Cheick Tiote

God rest him. Will be forever remembered for his equalising goal in the epic 4-4 draw with Arsenal.

Never far away from a card but his blockbuster challenges added steel to the midfield as he formed a great partnership with . .

Yohan Cabaye

Capable of some brilliant passes and great goals, Cabaye was a player the team should have been built around. Selling the club as a stepping stone was never going to help retain quality and we still haven’t replaced his ability five years later.

Sadly, his reputation was tarnished by downing tools before the start of a season but still the most creative player seen over the last ten years.

Moussa Sissoko

His introduction against Chelsea in 2013 was a joy and another part of the French invasion that year. Strong, athletic and was the classic box to box midfielder with an eye for a few goals.

Another victim of the buy to sell policy at the club as you were never convinced he was going to stay.

Ayoze Perez

There were other more eye catching players I could have picked but instead I went for goals instead. He could frustrate the life out of fans but goals win games and he scored more than his fair share in an often struggling team.

I feel he got a bad rap off some sections of the fanbase. Didn’t jump ship when the club got relegated to the Championship.

Demba Ba

Signed for free and for that 5th placed season he was great until he was mismanaged by then manager Alan Pardew, after being shunted out wide.

A goal a game ratio at one stage and with Tim Krul keeping goals out at one end and Ba banging them in at the other, they bookended a cracking team that season.

SUBS

Martin Dubravka

A worthy name to go with Tim Krul, Steve Harper and Shay Given in our Premier League era. Has kept Newcastle in many games and at £4m he’s a snip for what we have got in return.

Another player that will probably get a move sooner or later.

Florian Lejeune

Because of our amassed quality at the back, Lejeune hasn’t really been missed at the back as much as I expected but he’s still for me the best centre back at the club and I’ve only dropped him to the bench due to his recent injuries.

Kevin Nolan

Hat-trick against the mackems and a classic shadow striker come midfielder.

Another who was bombed out too soon when asking for a new contract.

Hatem Ben Arfa

Here we go. Bound to be divisive but he has to be somewhere near the team for his mazy runs, goals and flair play.

What Kevin Keegan would have made of him is anyone’s guess. A missed opportunity and flawed potential.

Jonas Gutierrez

Has never said anything bad about the club and has spoken highly of the fans. ‘Spiderman’ came with a good reputation along with Coloccini and was always a willing worker. Dropped down to the Championship and didn’t push for a move unlike some other notable mercenaries at the time.

Came back from testicular cancer and saved the club from relegation in 2015 only to be told he wasn’t required any longer at the club by management and shamelessly by phone. Some way to treat a player, never mind a person.

Papiss Cisse

When Demba Ba’s goals dried up, this guy took over and will be remembered for his two rockets down at Stamford Bridge.

His ability waned as the team struggled but he was another cog in that great 5th place finish.

Salomon Rondon

The closest thing to ‘Sir’ Les Ferdinand I’ve seen since the latter left in 1997. Strong as an ox and as good in the air as on the deck.

His goals were pivotal in survival last season and a missed opportunity in not retaining him this season.

So there you go. A cracking side that would be. Proof that the club CAN indeed attract players of sufficient quality and if put under the right manager, surely something tangible can be achieve.

Sadly with our owner, window dressing is all we can hope for. Short-term quality, long-term failures.

Happy New Year to all Newcastle United fans.

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