After The Derby on Sunday a few things were confirmed. a) the mackems are absolutely awful. They played for an hour against 10 men on their own patch, only managed one shot on target and had to rely on a lucky own goal off Demba Ba's face. Demba is now mackems second top scorer this season. Charity case of a club. b) Tiote needs to just calm the hell down. We all love his commitment and the way he plays but his card record of one every two games is shocking. It's like he wants to be booked. c) Fabricio Coloccini is the best defender I have seen play for Newcastle United football club in my lifetime.
The lad is class. Pardew said he played like Bobby Moore. I am not going to disagree. Although I am not sure whether Pard's had actually seen Bobby play in the flesh but never mind, I knew what he meant. Captain Colo displayed yet another cool, calm and collected performance that sets him apart from every other centre back we have on our books at the moment. In fact, he is a class above anyone I have ever see line up for us at centre back.
Jonathan Woodgate had the talent but he was injured too often and hardly played for us before his out of the blue transfer to Real Madrid. Philippe Albert is a cult hero and will be forever remembered as a legend on Tyneside. He summed up Keegan's era really by playing as a centre back but yet having keen a eye for goal. We all remember THAT chip over Schmeichel. I think he even played up front for Belgium. Speaking of goal scoring centre backs, Nicos Dabizas may have been a bit lacking in defensive greatness but he is still the highest scoring defender in our history. Including at the home of the mackems stadium of plight. I respect that. Amongst the talented however, we have also had more than our fair share of duds. Deep breath...Bramble, Boumsong, Cacapa, Charvet, Dumas, Goma, Johnsen, Marcelino, Moore to name but a few. Plus this doesn't include full backs. We've had our fair share of jokers in that position as well. No matter who look at as part of our defence in the Premier League era though, Captain Colo is a cut above them all.
If you're looking to rate a defender than you look for positioning, marking, reading of the game, interceptions, tackles, blocks, heading, starting attacks as well as stopping them. Coloccini has all of these qualities. The player we have now is a much better player than the one that arrived for a good £10m in 2008. A lot better. In fact, he wasn't rated as up to much at all in sum sections of our fan base. I was one of them. He seemed another example of the expensive, overpaid, not good enough for our club transfer policy that plagued our football club for the years after Sir Bobby was sacked. He was a part of the team that got relegated in his first season and we all expected him to move on along with the other vastly paid 'footballers' we had on our books. But he wasn't sold. He stayed. He didn't look for the next plane leaving Newcastle Airport. He stuck to the cause and played for the shirt in the Championship season as if it were the Premier League. He won us over. It has to be said that I am unaware of anybody actually being interested in him to give him a decision to make, but who cares. He didn't down tools and force a move away like some others that will remain unnamed.
He is our highest paid player on something in the region of £80k a week, which is way above our wage cap of £50k for all new signings, but who thinks he isn't worth it? Considering his age of 30 and the fact he is on so much wages it could be seen as a surprise that he was given a 4 year extension on his deal back in March of this year. Derek Llambias makes it well known to all of us that we have a transfer policy of 'buy'em young and cheap; sell'em on for profit'. Plus we all know Ashley is tighter than a duck's rear end on a frozen pond when it comes to spending money on the actual team. So even they can see how important and crucial he is to our football club. He must be good then...
The way Colo plays I cant see why he should lose his powers over the next few years as he runs down (probably) his final contract as an NUFC player. He has never really had any pace but he makes up for it with excellent anticipation and his reading of the game. Hopefully Steven Taylor will learn enough to take his place admirably when the time comes for Captain Colo to hopefully move into the coaching staff one day. But until then, I sincerely hope our leader keeps himself off the treatment table as much as he can as we are a much better team all round, never mind in defence, when he is on the pitch leading by example and showing the rest of the Premier League defenders how it done. He was voted into the PFA Team Of The Year last season and if he plays like he has threatened to in the handful of games he's starred in so far, he will be knocking on the door for that achievement again. If not even win the league's best defender out right.
Keep up the good word Colo. The memories of Bramble, Boumsong, Marcelino & others fade by the second...
Howay The Lads!
(Comments welcome below. Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano)