As predicted with the ending of the French season at the weekend our deal to sign Romain Amalfitano is now to go through. The 22 year old central midfielder will sign a 3 year deal on a free transfer and looks to be a direct replacement for the departing Danny Guthrie, also on a free.
He spent last season helping Reims get promoted from Ligue 2, which doesn't sound like he has the greatest pedigree, however he has impressed many including our trustworthy scouts, so that's enough for me to look forward to what he has to bring into the squad. Seeing as he is free, there is nothing to lose. It's still to be seen whether he will get many first team chances, ala Mehdi Abeid, but he should have no problem fitting in considering the amount of 'Frenchies' we have at the club already...and probably more to come if all is to believed.
Some of those names are Matheiu Debuchy (Cabaye's bestest buddy) & Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to name a couple strongly linked with us. Pard's has already gave away quite blatantly in his recent radio interview that he has in place a bid to bring in a player close to Yohan Cabaye, so unless Eden Hazard will be showing up in an unlikely multi-million pound deal fending off Citeh and Manure, Debuchy could be on his way. If he does join his mate 'Yo' on Tyneside than I hope it will be sorted before the Euros, as first choice France right back Bacary Sagna has been ruled out with injury, Debuchy is expected to fill in throughout the tournament. So with a few impressive performances this will no doubt inflate his asking price from Lille, as well as attract other more wealthier suitors.
In the mean time, welcome to Newcastle Romain. If you fancy a look at him, here's a compilation:
The season is over and as the dust has settled down on an unexpected tremendous season in the Premier League, it's only right that Season Awards need to be handed out, as well as a few wooden spoons. Let's be honest, we can't have a season without a few low points thrown in, this is NUFC after all.
Player Of The Year: Fabricio Coloccini. So many nominees for this, however Captain Colo is the one. He has been the leader this season and very consistent. He lost his partner in crime in Saylor half way through the season but it didn't phase him at all. If anything, he stepped up even more and helped Williamson and Perch come into the side and impress. He even made the PFA Team of the season. Signed a new deal and hopefully will be a rock for us for the next few years.
Young Player Of The Year: Tim Krul. What a season. 15 clean sheets, unbelievable saves and probably most importantly, very consistent. You can't beat a safe pair of hands in goal and we have it. If it weren't for Joe Hart, then Krul would have been in the PFA Team of the season. Also signed a new deal and we all hope he is our keeper for the next 10 years. I wouldn't swap him for anyone.
Most Improved Player: James Perch. Unbelievable. He's a different man. James Perch was the butt of most Toon fans jokes, but after this season, nobody mocks him anymore. There is nothing to mock. He has looked confident, self assured and well worthy of being in the starting line-up. When he came into the side at Norwich when Saylor and Colo were injured, he wasn't exactly solid. We shipped in 4 and many fans were fearing the worst the rest of the season. His turnaround in form was remarkable. I have never seen anything like it from any player. Well played Perchy, keep it up.
Must Improve Player: Gabriel Obertan. It's hard to believe this lad was in the team ahead of Hatem Ben Arfa for such a sustained amount of time. We hardly saw Benny produce his magic before Xmas as he was sat on the bench and we were forced to watch Ober show glimpses of what he can offer but ultimately frustrate and disappoint to the point of resounding anger. All we want you to do is show us you have the balls and desire to represent our club, because we know you have the talent. We all want to see you run at defenders and destroy them with your skills and blistering pace. Do it.
Goal Of The Season: Hatem Ben Arfa v Bolton. What a choice to make. This is without doubt the best season we have had as regards to quality of goals. Cisse's ridiculous 2nd goal at Chelsea could have easily took it. Benny's wonder goal against Blackburn in the FA Cup could also take it. Cabaye's had a couple of free kick nominations. Raylor's beauty v Everton was a cracker. However, taking everything into account, Ben Arfa's genius v Bolton just shades it. I watched this game and as it dragged on, it had 0-0 written all over it. We didn't look like scoring. Then Benny threw in a cruyff turn in the centre circle, turning a Bolton player inside out, he ran onto the ball and ghosted past another has he tried to bring him down, he then skipped past both Bolton centre halves in one movement, then had the coolness to just poke the ball past the keeper. What. A. Goal.
Team Of The Season: 4-3-3 - Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Perch, Santon, Tiote, Jonas, Cabaye, Ba, Ben Arfa, Cisse. Saylor was unlucky with injury so Perch gets in for his improvement. The rest speaks for itself. Although I will say Demba on the left in this team is due to his first half of the season performances. He was a donkey for the last 7/8 games after spitting his dummy out and was more interested in scoring for himself, then holding his position for the team. Raylor also deserves a mention for his step up into left back all the way back in August when Enrique deserted us. TBH all the squad contributed positively at some stage this season, but the above are the top XI.
Signing Of The Season: Demba Ba - Free Transfer. As much as Demba annoyed me in the run in, before that he was immense. For a free transfer (pretty much) to bag 16 goals and have a record of scoring 55% of all our goals at one stage is remarkable. Basically without Demba Ba, we would have had an average season, if not worse. Yohan Cabaye was a gem at £4mil. Papiss Cisse was a huge success considering he was a January signing, also a good price at £9mil. Santon will come good next season hopefully, he showed the signs at the end of the season. Obertan needs to step up. Marveaux will be like a new signing next year.
Wooden Spoon Award: Mike Williamson Willo has done great in certain games this season. He has contributed to a lot of clean sheets this year, specifically at home. However, away from home he has thrown in some the worst performances of any centre back we have ever had. Which is some achievement considering some of the donkeys we have had over the years. Of the 14 goals we shipped in the 3 melt downs at Spurs, Fulham and Wigan, he was responsible for at least 8 of them. As well as these he has also gifted goals in other games. His biggest downfall is his complete lack of positional sense at times. It's like he has never played centre back before and hasn't got a clue where he is supposed to stand, or when he is supposed to stand off or close down. I don't care what level you play at or what talent you have, to not know where to position yourself in the centre of defence is shocking. I cant see him playing many games in the black and white if we sign a centre back in the summer. Thanks for stepping in Willo but I think a move to a lower level is for the best.
Game Of The Season: 2-0 v Bindippers. The Manure 3-0 spanking was the best performance. The mackem win in their own stadium was tremendous. But the win against Liverpool was perfection. Andy Carroll got booked for diving. Our new no.9 scored both goals. Carroll & Bellamy both got dragged off. Kenny didn't stop scouling all day and even got ushered off the pitch by his embarrassed captain. Pepe Reina got sent off. Jose Enrique went in goal. We won 2-0. Days like that will live long long in the memory. Beautiful.
Worst Game Of The Season: 0-1 v Brighton. We had some spankings at the hands of Spurs, Fulham, Wigan and Norwich. But the Brighton game was shameful. To limp out of the FA Cup like that at the hands of an average Championship team was inexcusable, no matter how well our Premier League campaign has gone. It was gutless and horribly inevitable as we all watched it unfold. We never believed we were going to win, we were second to every ball, we never threatened to score and allowed them to grab one of the worst goals you will ever see. No surprise that Simpson and Williamson were at the heart of it. But the whole team should hang there heads in shame at that night. We expect better next year.
Low Point Of The Season: Renaming The Stadium. Its hideous, disrespectful, embarrassing, shameful, pointless, sickening, baffling, awful, infuriating, confusing and most of all totally unnecessary. We have brought down the St James' Park sign and stuck up dog ugly Sports Direct Arena signs all over the stadium and for what? Have we made any money? Has any company shown any level of interest in buying the naming rights? Has any body in the world complimented the strategy of the renaming process? If I have one request to Mike Ashley its to swallow your pride, do the right thing and take them signs down and get the St James' Park back up and we can all forget any of this ever happened.
High Point Of The Season: Cisse Destroys Chelsea. We went to Champions League/FA Cup finalists Chelsea off the back of a dry humping of Wigan and anything less than a win, would have ended our Champions League aspirations. Queue Papiss Cisse and two of the sweetest goals to be scored in the same game by the same man you will ever see. The first was beautifully struck with the left foot into the top corner after instant control with the right. The second was out of this world. When Shola chested down the ball to Papiss from a thrown in 30 yards from goal and 2 yards from the sideline. Not one person in the universe thought he would shoot, never mind score. All apart from Papiss himself. What a strike, what a goal, what a player. Our season peaked at this point as we laid joint 4th in the league heading into a game with champions to be Citeh and a difficult Everton game. But those goals will be remembered as the crowning glory to our season.
Thats your lot. I personally cant wait for next season as we sign new players to improve the squad and hopefully keep the key ones we have. We will (hopefully) get through the Europa League play-off and have many European nights to looks forward to. We will hope for better cup run's, to go along side another Premier League season as impressive as this one!
Cant decide whether I despise @themichaelowen, or just pity his delusion.
The ex-nufc 'employee' has been released by Manure after 3 years of countless injuries, goals against lower league opposition and incredible shameless behaviour which makes you actually question the state of his mental health. Michael Jackson thought he was Peter Pan, I don't know who the f*ck Michael Owen thinks he is?
He's made the odd (and I mean odd) quote since being released;
"I've trained at a high level for 3 years?" Wow, someone give him a medal. Why is it footballers train again? It's something to do with then going onto being able to play isn't it? Something like that.
"I joined Man Utd to train with top players and at a high level" Why didnt you join a team to PLAY at a high level? You delusional pr*ck. 3 years of your short career have been flushed down the toilet. Do none of his mates tell him these things? Does he hire yes men to play golf with him?
"I dont see why I should drop down to the championship, whenever I have played for United I have scored everytime". Oh dear, where to begin. a) You didn't score everytime you played, b) When you did score, it was mainly against lower league opponents, c) You dont deserve to play at a high level, because basically, you haven't been PLAYING at the highest level for 3 f*cking years.
The arrogance and delusion of this man is incredible. The fact he snapped up the most famous shirt in Manchester Utd history when he joined, even though he was what? 5th choice striker? Just shows how much of an absolute c*nt he is.
I've decided. I despise him.
Good luck with the new brochure in finding yourself a physio who works at the highest level in taking you on.
Man City may have won the title in the most dramatic style you have ever seen and have proven that they are the best team in the division, but looking at this season as a whole, it's got to be said that using a boxing analogy, Newcastle United are the Pound 4 Pound kings in the Premier League.
Citeh have spent a £1billion, that's ONE BILLION, in creating the title winning squad over the past 4 years. Within that same period, NUFC have been relegated and have a net spend of -£30million. So we have been selling where other teams have been spending. To finish 5th in the league is one of the most remarkable achievements in Premier League history. No question.
Other teams like Man Utd have been spending £16mil on a new goalkeeper, we have brought ours through the youth system into the first team. Where Chelsea have been spending £50mil on Torres, we have been signing Papiss Cisse for £9mil with much better results. Where Spurs have one of the largest net spends in the division and a Champions League season to use to attract the likes of Adebayor on loan, Newcastle have to sell first to spend and have a wage cap of £50k. Where Liverpool are spending £100mil on players to finish 8th, we are spending only what we can afford with free transfers and small sums like £4mil on first team players to finish 5th.
The only club that can rival NUFC with regards to net spend to league position are Arsenal. But lets be totally honest. Arsenal have had 15 years of continuous Champions League football and can attract the type of player the Toon can only dream of. For NUFC to recruit the likes of Yohan Cabaye & Cheik Tiote who both won there domestic leagues, for nominal fees, after being a Championship club 2 years ago is incredible.
NUFC fell just short of 4th place which is a shame but not unsurprising. The fact we were even in a position to qualify for CL going into the 38th game of the season is a minor miracle in itself. Champions League football could have changed our football club going forward but it wasn't meant to be. None of us can really complain.
However, looking at both sides of the coin it has to be said that Alan Pardew resorting back to the 4-4-2 hoofball tactics is strange if not plain baffling. I hope he doesn't have plans to have this as our Plan A next season. We all witnessed the glorified success of the 4-3-3 system which seemed to suit our front 3 and allow them to attack at will, with Yohan Cabaye able to express his creativity in the hole and Cheik Tiote and Jonas holding the fort was solid as a rock. To look for an explanation for his abandonment of this system must be aimed at Demba Ba and Pardew's seemingly desperation in pleasing him.
If this is true, then it's a disgrace. Demba Ba quite frankly has been a donkey over the past several games. The only reason he has been in the team is because of his flying start to the season where he scored 15 in 15 games. Looking at his last 10 games, his goals tally is nothing short of unbelievable. He has hardly looked like a 20 goal a season striker in recent months. However, if there is an underlying aspect to why Demba seems 'undroppable' no matter how poor he plays or where he wants to play, than it will probably be his contract. Or more specifically, the infamous release clause. Every man and his dog knows that he has a mediocre figure of a release fee in his contract that any club could easily activate without breaking any bank accounts. He has sulked, refused to shake the managers hand whilst being substituted and has been unable to hit a barn door ever since being asked to play out wide on the left. His toys have been very much thrown out of the pram. Craig Bellamy and Keiron Dyer both refused to play for NUFC on the wing in there time here and both were sold. If I were Alan Pardew I wouldn't be as desperate to please Demba as I would be in showing the Prima Donna just who is boss. If you don't wanna play for NUFC out wide, then don't play for NUFC at all. Goodbye. Thanks for the memories.
This season has been incredible. Pardew has worked miracles on the whole and deserves his manager of the season award. Some of the goals we have scored is a goal of the season competition all by itself. Almost every signing we have made has been a success. We still have money left over from the Carroll sale and will earn a fair coin from finishing 5th in the league. We will increase our matchday income with Europa League games next season. So we should only get stronger. Keeping our key players is imperative. But even if we don't, they will only go for top, top dollar. In which we will use to find another Ben Arfa, Cabaye or Cisse. I already can't wait for next season. If it's anything like this season, then.....
I am more than happy to have Saylor and Captain Colo as our first choice centre back pairing next season, as long as Saylor's injury is fully heeled. So the question has to be asked is do we actually need a brand new expensive centre back like Vertonghen for example?
A man like Vertonghan isn't going to be on the bench and neither is Colo and I don't see why Saylor should miss out. He was class before his injury. So unless we bring in a centre back and do the following:
a) Play him at left back so all three can play together. b) Play him at CB with Colo and Saylor plays RB c) Play all 3 in a Wigan like formation with Jonas and Santon at WB
I am more than happy to bring in a young decent CB who is more than happy to be left out as long as he gets his chances in the right games. Similar to what Seb Bassong was. Basically bring in somebody to replace Willo because as much as he has done ok in certain games, he has been horrendous in others embarrassing the whole club with awful melt downs at Wigan, Fulham and Spurs. Willo was clearly responsible for most of the goals conceded in these write off's. Man City's 2nd goal on Sunday was another example of Willo's lack of positional sense. What was he doing standing 2 yards further forward than the full back? Clichy just slipped it in behind him to Yaya Toure and said thanks very much. Terrible.
With also the emergence of Perchy, having Saylor and Colo as first choice with a talented new signing in the wings and Perchy as back up, is enough for me to be satisfied with....with Willo as 5th choice in case of an injury crisis.
Whether a man like Douglas would be happy to sit on the bench is questionable plus others we have been linked with, so I reckon a young CB with potential is where we should be looking and use the big buck's to land an attacking player we can marvel over........Adam Johnson would be nice.
We got beat by a class goal. I don't mind that. Fair play. Best player on the park has won them the game out of nothing. We played well.
Villa have done us a favour. A favour I didn't expect, because they are the definition of horsesh*t. Even if we had equalised v Citeh today, if Spurs had gone onto win....we'd be in a worse position.
We always needed to win at Everton and Fulham to get a result at Spurs, nothing has changed.......don't forget Arsenal as well.
We can't complain at being in the running come the last game of the season. Spurs will be sh*tting themselves. Fulham are the perfect wild card. If they turn up at WHL and play the way they can then they can win there, never mind draw. Woy might get himself the perfect send off from his WBA team as well v Arsenal.
We know what we need to do at Goodison Park. We won't need to worry about anyone else and possibly holding for a draw or any of that bollocks. Turn up, win, and see where we finish.