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A donkey derby Newcastle United team fit enough to play Sunderland

7 months ago

One of the funniest quotes I ever saw from a journalist on a Newcastle United player was in the Sun in 2006: “After the hapless Boumsong was sent off, Titus Bramble admirably got on with doing the work of two men…Laurel and Hardy.”

We always seem to reminisce about the many great players who have worn the black and white stripes but I thought it would be interesting to write an article on some of the not so clever, and down-right chaotic, that have represented Newcastle United in the Premiership years.

I have tried to assemble an 11 that could give the mackems a run for their money under Mick McCarthy, when they finished bottom of the pile with a (then) Premier League record 15 points in 2006.

So here goes…

Mike Hooper would be my keeper. Signed by KK we soon found out that Mike was a keen “twitcher” who liked to go birdwatching up the Northumberland Coast. Nowt wrong with that, but after his first few games, it became obvious that he had maybe become a little too keen on the local fish and chips at Seahouses. He wasn’t fit, clangers were dropped, his confidence ebbed away and Mike was soon on his bike….pardon the expression.

My back three is easy.

The aforementioned Bramble and Jean Alàin Boumsong, joined by local “Boy-Blunder” Steven Taylor.

Bramble had apparently been signed by SBR after his fellow Knight of the Realm, Alex Ferguson, had informed him that our first choice, Jaap Stam, who was playing in Italy at the time, was past his best. Never trust one of your rivals I say…and the error prone Bramble turned out to be a liability.

Boumsong had arrived from Rangers for big money only six months after signing for the Glasgow club on a free transfer. Rangers must have been laughing all the way to the bank after doing business with their former boss Graeme Souness. The guy was atrocious.

Next up, Steven Taylor. I know a lot of fans don’t like anyone having a pop at local lads but I had been hearing about how good this lad was for a couple of years, so when he got his chance in the team, to say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. Everyone remembers his drama-queen antics, but one of the worst games I seen him play, was against Southampton at St Mary’s when we went down in 2016. It would be fair to say that Rafa stood open-mouthed on the touchline in disbelief that day.

My first wing-back would be former England player Danny Rose. Unfit and disinterested it soon became apparent that his days of being a “Broadway Danny Rose” were well gone.

Alan Pardew brought in one of the biggest duffers ever for me, when we signed Gabriel Obertan from Man Utd back in 2011. This was a man who treat a football like one of the hot roast tatties our Da used to hoy at us with a shovel from the embers of his latest bonfire when we were bairns.

Kenny Dalglish, although only at Newcastle 19 months, has somewhat of a monopoly in the donkey department. This is why his ineptitude is reflected in me including Carl Serrant and Des Hamilton. Two lads totally out of their depth at Premier League level.

Christian Bassedas is my playmaker, I was going to choose Fumaca haha…

We had been informed he was a full Argentine international but later found out that some of these appearances had been in Argentine league select sides. Off the pace and a failure to settle made Christian’s stay at Newcastle a short one. Silvio Maric and Diego Gavilan were also expensive mis-fits who narrowly didn’t make the cut.

Nepotism is always a recipe for disaster, as was proven in the case of Paul Dalglish, a player woefully short of what is necessary to be a top flight footballer. It was actually embarrassing at the time to watch this lad as I squirmed in my seat.

As you will have noticed there is nobody from the current squad included…. yet?

Andreas Andersson was banging on the door but I just could not leave Joelinton out.

He is not only the worst centre-forward I have ever seen play for us in the Premiership…. but also, in my opinion, couldn’t have given the likes of Rambo Reilly or Billy “the brick” Whitehurst a run for their money back in the 1980s. I had also considered Riviere.

I know people will have their own favourite Newcastle United donkeys and I can only apologise if I have left them out.


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