Newcastle United cult hero James Perch signs for new club
James Perch was one of those players who left fans scratching their heads when he signed BUT over time became a real fans favourite, giving it everything, whether playing right-back, left-back, centre-back, or even central midfield at times.
Minimal money was made available to Chris Hughton by Mike Ashley to deal with a return to the Premier League in 2010 and along with brilliant moves for Cheick Tiote (£3.5m) and Hatem Ben Arfa (on loan), the NUFC boss brought in the versatile James Perch for a bargain fee of around £1m.
When Newcastle finished fifth in the Premier League in 2011/12, James Perch played in 25 of the 38 PL games, starting 13 and sub in another 12. The versatile player becoming a real NUFC cult hero for many fans.
James Perch moved on in 2013, playing for QPR, Nottingham Forest, Wigan and Scunthorpe United.
Set to turn 35 next month, great to see him still enjoying his football, with Mansfield Town today announcing (see below) that James Perch has signed a one year deal with them.
In April, Perch apologised (see below) for leaving out Jonas Gutierrez when picking the best 11 players he’d ever played with, though he did pick seven other former Newcastle players in his top eleven.
James Perch tells the official Scunthorpe United site the greatest 11 players he has played with:
GK: Alex Smithies (QPR)
RB: Danny Simpson (Newcastle United)
“He was a top pro when I was at Newcastle, he worked hard in training and always turned up in games, a model professional really.”
CB: Wes Morgan (Nottingham Forest)
CB: Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United)
“He was a ball-playing centre-half that read the game very well. He had a great pass, and could’ve played in midfield if he wanted to. He’s a good friend of mine, and worked very hard to learn English during his time with the Magpies.”
LB: Jose Enrique (Newcastle United)
“He’s another one from my time at Newcastle, he was quick and very good on the ball, no one could really get past him.
“He went on to play for Liverpool which was a great move for him.”
DM: Cheick Tiote (Newcastle United)
“Sadly Cheick passed away a couple of years ago, he was an unbelievable player.
“His intensity on the pitch was great, he could do everything, a bit like Kante! He was a great lad, and that goal against Arsenal was probably his best ever.”
CM: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United)
“I remember when he came over from Lille, he was pretty unknown, but when he played for (Newcastle) he flourished.
“He went on to to play for France and rightly so, he was so composed on the ball and his passing range was a joke!
“He scored goals and earned his big move to PSG.”
CM: Ravel Morrison (QPR)
RW: Kris Commons (Nottingham Forest)
ST: Papiss Cisse (Newcastle United)
“I only played with him for 18 months or so, but when he came in from Germany, everything he hit went in!
“That season he played number nine for us at Newcastle he was unbelievable, scoring all kinds of goals. He was unorthodox, but he always found the back of the net which is what matters.”
LW: Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United)
“I’ve said many times how good he was.
“He could and should’ve been one of the top 10 players in the world, his speed, finishing and technique was world class.
“Much like Ravel, if his mentality was right he’d definitely have been up there.
“To witness some of his skills first-hand was a privilege.”
One WHO MISSED OUT:
Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United)
“I feel bad for leaving him out. He gave Newcastle 100% and more.
“The fans loved him for his determination, work rate and application to games.
“To come through his battle with cancer and get back playing, shows exactly what kind of character he is.”
Mansfield Town official announcement:
Former Premier League footballer James Perch has signed a one-year contract at One Call Stadium, the club is delighted to announce.
Mansfield-born, Perch brings a wealth experience to his hometown club, having amassed over 500 career appearances.
The 34-year-old started his career at Nottingham Forest, where he enjoyed promotion from League One in 2008, and made over 200 appearances before signing for Newcastle United in July 2010, for a fee believed to be £1.5 million.
The versatile player, who can operate in defence and midfield, made his Magpies’ debut against Manchester United, scoring in a 4-3 loss for the club at Old Trafford.
After making 80 appearances for the Toon, Perch made the switch to Wigan Athletic in July 2013 and helped the club to an FA Cup semi-final in his first season as well as scoring in the Latics’ Championship play-off semi-final second leg against QPR.
In the campaign thereafter, Perch captained Wigan in 42 matches.
He was awarded the Players’ Player of the Year accolade in two successive seasons at the DW Stadium, before moving to QPR.
Perch enjoyed three seasons in the Championship at Loftus Road and then signed for Scunthorpe United in 2018.
Stags’ boss Graham Coughlan said: “James will bring that much-needed experience that our dressing room is missing.
“Being born in Mansfield, he won’t need educating on our club or our DNA. He will be great for our young lads to learn from both on and off the pitch.
“His experience of playing at a higher level will help us raise standards around the football club.
“His ability is clear for all to see and his fitness levels and appearances suggest that he will be a real driving force in our push for success.”
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]