New kids in the black and white!

Posted on March 7th, 2010 | 70 Comments |

(L to R) Fitz Hall, Wayne Routledge, Mike Williamson, Leon Best, Danny Simpson
(L to R): Hall, Routledge, Williamson, Best, Simpson
January came and went for Newcastle United fans but not with the usual disappointment following zero investment. No, the 2010 January transfer window proved to be an opportunity when even Mike Ashley realised some financial speculation was the right thing to do, not least because it might see a return on his money. But this isn’t a debate about the owner or his intentions. This is a first glance review of the lads we brought in during the January transfer window and what I think of them so far.

It was clear to a lot of us that we needed recruitment in various areas and while some of the gaps were filled, we also got the surprise package of Wayne Routledge. Not all of the players met with universal glee and obviously the jury is out for all of them still. Each were signed for an ‘undisclosed fee’ which seems to be the order of the day in many modern transfers. So it’s difficult to conclude whether they’re value for money or not, but here goes anyway:

Danny Simpson – Signed from Manchester United after an initial loan spell, in which he impressed management and supporters alike with his graft. Having previously been out on loan at the unwashed, Ipswich and Blackburn, he seemed adept at fitting straight in and was solid enough during his temporary stay. Chris Hughton went back in with a bid thought to be somewhere between £500k-£1m. He’s displayed a good overall attitude and seems fully committed out on the pitch. Probably lacks a bit of finesse but is keen to get forward in support and disprove my theory that he wouldn’t help to get balls in the box. Definitely good enough overall at this level but having dropped a few notable clangers already in his time in black and white, it’s still ‘wait and see’ in terms of how he would fair should we go up.

Rating – 7

Wayne Routledge – Signed from QPR for probably something like £1,25m-£1,75m, just a year after signing for them from Aston Villa. Routledge played particularly well at St James’ earlier in the season and as a result, there was a massive buzz around town when his signing was announced by the board. There was a cynical opinion that he had proved to be inconsistent after being unable to hold down places at Spurs and Villa but in fairness injury and circumstance were against him. After a busy last half hour on his debut when he replaced Lovenkrands against his old team Crystal Palace, Newcastle fans were mildly optimistic. And despite a couple of poor games, which were team occasions at Derby and Leicester, Routledge has proved to be a great outlet on the right, full of pace and direct running. He broke his duck in style against Coventry and also won a penalty. Unfortunately he’s been out injured since that game but when he returns, more of the same will undoubtedly see him become a popular figure at St James’.

Rating – 8

Mike Williamson – Signed from Portsmouth and even though Pompey had forked out £2m for him, it’s believed Newcastle secured his services for something in the region of £500k-750k due to their financial issues. Made a convincing debut against Crystal Palace and after ten minutes of blowing out of his a*se, he was solid and dependable for the 90 minutes and picked up the Man of the Match award for his efforts. Pretty good going considering he’d barely played any first team football in almost seven months. He’s since played every game, other than the Swansea game and has proved that he has ability on the ball to go with stout defending. The partnership he’s formed with Coloccini is arguably as solid as the one formed by the Argy and Steven Taylor and is as reassuring as it is surprising to Toon fans after being used to defensive frailties. Looks like Mr Reliable but I just hope he’s not caught out by slicker movement and a striker with genuine pace.

Rating – 8

Leon Best – Signed from Coventry City for something like £500k with his contract running out in the summer. Life before Cov was spent largely on loan from Southampton, first at Sheff Wed and then lower down the leagues at Bournemouth and Yeovil in League One. Following an injury to his cheekbone, Best began wearing a protective mask and when his return from injury saw him scoring three goals in successive matches, he made the choice to keep wearing it, earning the nickname “Zorro”. That became a gimmick for Coventry City fans, who also started wearing masks as a tribute. His form this season was good but a dip before and during the Christmas period saw him roundly booed by home fans who questioned his effort and attitude. So ‘young and cheap’, certainly two characteristics which fit in with the current regime’s policy but what else does he offer? He seems to be quite mobile and for some reason I’ve noticed, a canny knack of using that to close down ‘keeper clearances quite effectively. But so too did Marlon Harewood and in fact, that’s who I’d liken him to. Neither have seemed to offer us anymore than we already had in my opinion. Neither is blessed with searing pace or the ability to beat a man with a trick. And we have target men in the squad already who chip in with goals on the sort of frequency Best seems to, if not more. And unfortunately where Harewood had the knack of scoring, Best is yet to get off the mark. He should be given more time but it’s what the kid does with that opportunity that will be interesting to see. I just hope he’s not as much of a let-down as the person who’s No.20 shirt he took.

Rating – 6

Fitz Hall – Technically a loanee from QPR but here for the Championship duration as he’s on loan until the end of the season. Well-travelled and with experience in the Premiership, Hall appeared to be half-decent back-up. But after making his debut against Cardiff and forming a solid backline with Williamson in the middle, he stayed in the side for three games. Hall probably suffered because of poor team performances but was dropped after the Swansea game and hasn’t had a sniff since. Looks solid enough with a bit of pace but probably likely to struggle if we make the step up next season. I don’t envisage Hughton looking for a permanent move for him.

Rating – 7

Patrick Van Aanholt – Signed from Chelsea on loan and a canny little left-back from Holland. Has actually returned home now and sat on the bench in Chelsea’s cup-tie against Stoke but I thought he deserved a mention. He was dependable and bright overall, although he started off quite tentatively, you could see with more games he had the presence and ability to improve. It’s not clear what the outcome is for Enrique following his hamstring pull against Barnsley but it’s expected that we won’t go back for another loan to cover. Come the summer though, it could be an option to pursue, should he be available.

Rating – 7

Jóan Símun Edmundsson – Signed on loan from B68 in the Faroe Islands and I thought he should get a mention because good things were being said about him. However, he’s had little chance to make any sort of impact yet in the juniors or ressies but watch this space for now I guess.

So there you go, that’s what I think but what do I fecking know?

NUFCBlog Author: bowburnmag bowburnmag has written 234 articles on this blog.

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70 Responses

  1. I was desperate for Best to get a goal when he came on yesterday like, because I think it will help him settle. Like you say Bowburn, he offers a similar service to that of other strikers in the squad, although i was under the impression that an out and out goalscorer was desired when we purchased him, (Given the fact we were hot on the heels of the likes of Beckford). However, that’s just personal opinion and maybe as far as Hughton and co are concerned, he is serving his purpose?
    To be fair to him, his hold up play is canny. He’s set up a goal or two and seems to put himself about when he’s on the field. Thus far though, his form infront of goal has been “head in hands” stuff so to speak, as all i’ve really seen him do is fall over his own feet. Only time will tell, hopefully he gets a goal soon and the whole “waiting for a bus” cliche kicks in.

    Agree with all other assessments though. Thought Van A was excellent here and was great to hear him talk about his fondness of the short time he spent here. Williamson has pleasantly surprised me, think he looks solid at the back. Looking forward to Routledge returning, think him being fit and fresh will be a boost in that final push to promotion.

  2. Harper will break his duck this season before Best.
    What is Bests ratio now?
    1 in 15?

  3. Pathetic how people are knocking a player we only signed in January. Bendtner had a shocker yesterday, missing around5 gilt edge chances. How did the Arsenal fans react? They sang his name and applauded him off of the pitch as his work rate and willingness to get in the right positions in the first place did not go unnoticed. Why can’t Toon fans be the same? It’s not as if he is costing us points, is it? Give him a chance to find his feet and stop being so fickle.

  4. comp fixed clever s—,bowburn,sjt imo ch needed cover,harewood would cost 350,000 on LOAN till end of season best cost 500,000 at 26 has a sell on value,so sounds like good bus,to me ranger would have been cover but no ex

  5. Dragonera-I agree that he needs real time to settle, i did think yesterday was an excellent chance for him to open his account though. Just a shame that by the time he came on, we’d done the damage and the chances inevitably seemed to dry up a little.

  6. dragonera; I agree, some lads hit the ground running some dont think hes being trying to hard looks tight to me needs to relax i wont judge him yet

  7. I think Best will probably sold in the summer (if anyone will take him!) however should West Ham go down I think we should do a sawp deal for Carlton Cole or perhaps bring back Scotty Parker! I reckon Smith will score a goal before Best next does and I’m banking on Smithy scoring the goal that takes us up!

  8. toonlife love a man with faith m8, sorry but cole would cost 15mill+,scotty seems a bit inj prone nowm8

  9. icedog-Areet mate? Same old boring Sunday like, thought i’d take a browse here and see if owt was going on, been quite quiet recently like.

    Toon4life-Sadly if WH do go down i can see a decent club coming in for Cole. He’s a good striker and i imagine there will be a good few clubs keeping tabs if the hammers end up crocking it.

    Been browsing these fantasy kit design sites and people have came up with some half decent stuff for us as far as the Puma shirts are concerned like. Obviously there’s been some real clangers thrown out there too though,lol. Also, everyone seen the new England away being revealed by Kasabian? Quite amusing if you havent like:

  10. If Carlton Cole became available their would be far better clubs interested in him than us. TI more realistic option would be Piqiuonne of Pompy. He looks a quality player and hasn’t grabbed any headlines yet.

  11. DRAGONERA,told toonsy the same guy this morning about 3mil would get him off adm still is the odd gem about.

  12. ROSS m8 you say its been quite on here,thought world war 3 had broke out on this site,guys diving for the bunkers bombs every where this morning,was only time i was pleased com crached,havent seen new top but will now cheers m8

  13. when best plays we win sometimes scoring is not the only thing since he’s signing carrol has taken the next step so the signing of best maybe the kick in the bum some of our strikers needed

  14. I was just reading this quote from Chris Hughton. – “What Jose did say as he was coming off was he hasn’t pulled it. He thought it was best to come off at that stage.

    “It felt tight and what he didn’t want to do was get to the stage where he possibly might pull it, but we are hoping that’s not too bad.”
    He is talking about Enrique’s hamstring, in case you were wondering!

  15. Nice read bowburn.

    The way I see it is that all of Hughton’s signings have added to the the squad and will continue to add in our promotion charge.

    Routledge – Benn great. Works hard and adds balance to the team.

    Williamson – A good old fashioned defender. solid, good enough with the ball at his feet but also knows to smash it clear when needed.

    Hall – Basically signed for cover whilst Taylor is out in case anything happens to Colo and Williamson. Looked ok so far although not getting much of a look in.

    Best – Still finding his feet I guess but needs to bag a goal before that excuse becomes too tired. Good tem player and has helped set up a few.

    Simpson – Carried on his form from his loan spell.

    van Aanholt – Cracking player, shame he has gone back to Chelsea.

  16. I have it from a very good source that Simpson has been playing with pain killing injections in his ankle so thats why his form has been a bit ordinary but it shows his commitment to the cause, we are yet to see the best of him and also he is a complete gentleman, when you combine both its a very refreshing change from what we had last season.

  17. bbb – Ask his ex about that, I think gentleman is a bit far from the mark. Then again, thats his personal life and he seems to have a decent attitude about him.

  18. Dragonera says:
    March 7, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    I agree. Players might not even they keep getting into position it might not be his day, it is for the manager to judge. We fans just have to keep help them settle into the team as soon as possib. And i believe Newcastle fans are good in singing songs for the players to keep them working hard for the team. And for them the surrounding is still new to them. It will depend how fast they settle down and adapt before providing for the team. Every player adaptablilty is different.

    E.g. Spidiey adapt faster then Colo even though both are Argie.

    Just suppoted them for their work on the field. Manager will know who is the best to be sub during the game and who’s aviliable to be sub.

    If he will willing to fight for the club on the field, the next match, he will still fight for his place and not “play” injury, just like most of our previous players.

  19. tommy says:
    March 8, 2010 at 3:08 am

    It is true that signing Love, might not expected him to score 20 odds goals, infact, mentally, it will inject some conpetition to performance on the attacking side and even rotation on the dry day when the XI striker was not socring.

  20. bowburn , ray ranson told me newcastle paid his club just short of £2 mil for best & i see no reason why he would lie to me.

    …so far he looks a complete waste of money to me & will probably be sold on for yet another loss.

  21. I feel sorry for Best actually, having his head chewed for no good reason.

    Nile Ranger didn’t score for ages, yet everyone still appreciated his work. Is that because he came through our academy and didnt cost us much in the way of cash?

    Why doesn’t everyone just support the lad? Dragonera @ 4 has it bang on.

  22. I would not be surprised if some of the players read these blogs,no good knocking the boy for no good reason,the manager seems happy with best and i would rather trust the manager of the club more than your opinion komfort what do you think best would be thinking if he read this.You would have just knocked the boys confidence for nowt mate.Let the boy find his feet mate, then you might see a few goals out of the guy.

  23. on match days every player gets my support whilst playing for newcastle , i never criticise them i save that for sites like these……now if any of the players happen to read things i have posted and dont like it..

    …tough shit.

  24. TOONARMYBOOT – It’s a secret ;)

    Only kidding, you type : lol : only withouth any spaces.

  25. Best will turn out to be a bit of a waste of money imo.

    I don’t think he’s PL class from what I’ve seen, but having said that I don’t think any of our strikers are.

  26. i couldn,t comment on best personally,as i,ve been too busy recently,so i,ve missed a few games.
    i know john anderson doesn,t rate him at all,after watching him in action for the rep.
    before best signed,anderson was adamant we didn,t sign him.
    i,ve also heard fans from other clubs slate him aswell,me personally i dont know why we signed him,as he is too similar to what we already have.
    best is just another target man,we needed someone who is a bit nippy and agile,dare i say it a kevin phillips sort of striker,i dont think best adds anything to us,not the lads fault though.

  27. Who are those gadjies up there ^?

    Get off Best’s back FFS. Sigh!

    carlton cole-No thanx.
    & this obsession with going backwards (i.e. scott parker, kk, etc) Haddaway man.

  28. could be a case of keep collicini,because he was an ashley signing,pair him with williamson the cheaper centreback,sell taylor to everton for as much as he can get.carroll sold to any prem club who,ll take him,and best the cheaper replacement,wouldn,t put it past him.

  29. I reckon ashley’s the one who injures our players, just to piss us off & ruin our chances of promotion, with his sliding tackles.
    It’ll be in his best interests to sell all our players if we go up & buy Darlo’s over achievers, then spend the money made, on ket.

  30. clint,this is what ashley has done since he,s been here,sell players for what he can get,and replace them with inferior quality.

  31. TOON ARMY BOT – Try it again but put a space in between ‘thank’ and the smiley ;)

  32. In your view trojan, which you’re totally entitled to mate.
    But it doesn’t tell the whole story does it?
    We got relegated with a bunch of under achievers on massive wages.
    & also whiners who put crap out in the press when ever it suited them.
    We’ve got rid of loads of overpaid, moaning, angling, self-interested, wasters.

  33. clint,ryan taylor for nzogbia milner,for guttierez as it turned out,given sold three influential players that could have kept us up. faye one of stokes best performers,milner top assists and doing really well,given doing well at city,bassong sold to tottenham doing okay,bassong being sold p***es on ashley,s blueprint to be honest,you cannot sell your better players and hope to progress,this is why we are where we are.

  34. Rather have Jonas than milner anyday.
    Given was an angler.
    n’zog a whiner.
    bassong wanted to go, so bye.
    kk sold Faye, big mistake, imv.

  35. Bassong – wanted to go
    Beye – wanted to go
    Owen – wanted to go
    Milner – put in a transfer request
    Given – put in a transfer request

    Letting Faye go was a bad move.

  36. TROJAN 69 says:
    March 8, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Your argument’d stand the test had it not been for the fact that Milner, Nzog and Given wanted away along with Beye, Oba et al!

    A minor point but worthy of consideration don’t you think?

  37. lesh – I think the ruling is “trip or intent to trip”. It’s still fecking harsh though :lol:

  38. rather have jonas than milner?sorry milner,s different class to jonas,more end product for a start.
    angling?most wanted to leave because they were sick of the mess ashley was creating.there will be a host of reasons why the players left,but the bottom line is they were allowed to leave for whatever reason finally exposing ashley,s lack of ambition for the club.
    these players left and were replaced with crap,and thats why we,re playing in the second tier.

  39. Toonsy, saw your comment about Danny Simpson, speak as you find, he is a young man and will have made mistakes like we all do.
    But lets not follow the current media trend of trashing these players at every opportunity, they are representative of the society we live in behave accordingly, why get wound up about their personal life when the rest of the country is shagging, snorting and fighting itself into a standstill.

  40. TOONSY@31,think you will like what you see,would!nt put you on to wrong!n,were did they get him?

  41. Milner put in a transfer request, 12 million was a load of cash for him at the time, however he’s came on in leaps and bounds (oh and it was KK that let him go)
    Faye wanted to go as well as his family were all in Bolton (which is neat Stoke for you dimwits out there)
    N’Zogbia put in a transfer request and winged non stop that he was off to Arsenal/Spurs
    Bassong wanted out as soon as we were relegated
    etc etc

    You can’t keep people who want to leave, it’s completely disruptive to the squad

    As for Best – we should get off his back, we need to give him a bit of time to settle in – I dont think he’ll ever be a prolific goal scorer but he seem sto be doing ok in assisting and he’ll def get a couple before season end (if played)

    To be honest we’re looking good especially at home (18 goals in 4 games) and we’re whinging – It’s obvious that Carroll / Lovenkrands are our current first choice strikers so Best/Ranger and Ameobi are effectively backups and I’d imagine one will be shipped out in the summer

  42. @Trojan – its time to move on, I personally can’t be arsed to continuously whinge about Ashley (much as I dislike him)

    No teams are spending money at the moment, you may not have noticed but there’s a bunch of teams ready to go to the wall (i.e. 60% of the prem seem to be in financial trouble)

  43. If anyone thinks that keeping hold of Milner, Given, Owen??, Oba, etc.. would have kept us up then you were obviously watching last season through very fogged eyes.

    When the Milner sale went through everyone was creaming because we got £12m for someone who wasn’t and still isn’t worth anywhere near that.
    When Given left, it was a blow, but loads of people came out saying that Harper was just as good.
    Owen, enough said.
    Beye wanted to leave and now that he might be available again, I don’t see many fans clamouring to get him back, infact it seems the opposite.
    The only person I was gutted to see leave was Bassong. The guy is a brilliant player. Business wise it made sense, but I really wished we could have kept him.

    We are actually very luck to have kept a lot more of our players from last season, as it would have been very easy for them to have joined someone like Hull, Stoke, Bolton or any of the three promoted teams.

  44. milner is doing ok at villa cos he’s being played in the correct position, at last.
    He would always have been seen as a winger here, which he is not, so good luck to the lad.
    £12m top dollar for his ‘actual’ input.

  45. TOONARMYBOOT says:
    March 8, 2010 at 10:22 am

    “dont work”

    It does now Toonarmyboot. You just need a space between the smiley and the surrounding words.

  46. Keegan was starting to play Milner at CM before he left. Problem was we had too many CM and not enough wide players. I think Keegan’s ideal team was:


    THAT team would have kept us up. Unfortunately Beye, Barton, Viduka got injured, Milner and KK left. None of those were really surprises.

    If we start next season with a team of

    we’ll be alright. I liked Loven and Carroll in the Prem, bigger issues were TERRIBLE midfield, no backup fullbacks, Martins sucking. When slating Colo based on his form last season, keep in mind he was playing next to Wingers slotted in at FB and Taylor, whose positional sense was CRAP and hopefully has improved since last season. Even Bassong was brand new to the English game.

  47. Enough with the smiley`s makes the blog look like a kindergarten class.
    Milner, one trick pony, never be worth twelve million.
    Has`nt viibly improved since he broke in as a kid with Leeds.
    If Beye is available come summer and @ a decent price, get him, the guy can play and forget the Roy of the Rovers stuff, this is a business, show business sure, none the less business!

  48. “Gotta go forward if y’wanna go back”.

    Let’s get kk & all the players that got us down last season back.
    Er! Let’s not!

  49. easily pleased that,s all i can say,lets see your optimism next season if we go up.

  50. Smudge, who would that signing be in midfield? Do u think we can really afford someone better then joey barton? At the end of the day i think a new forward is paramount. I still think the defense will struggle in the premiership – any wonder collo has looked good this season? The quality? But anyway, i’m depressing myself now! Awsome performance at the weekend boys!