Newcastle United players through the looking glass…

Posted on June 16th, 2011 | 61 Comments |

I'm not so sure...
So at the time of writing, Newcastle United club captain Kevin Nolan, is on his way to join freshly relegated West Ham United.

Before this news broke, I was in the process of gathering some statistical analysis for the past season, focusing on our top 5 performers in the Premier League. What I found was quite interesting, even more so, taking into consideration, recent events.

The statistics I have gathered are from the ‘Actim Index’ found on the official Premier League website. The index, and point scoring, along with a brief explanation from myself, is calculated as follows:-

1) Winning performance

  • Points awarded for time on the pitch in a successful team. More points awarded to individuals if they are on the pitch for a full 90 minutes.

2) Players performance per match

  • Points awarded for positive actions such as shots, tackles, clearances, saves and passes. Points are deducted for negative actions such as shots off target, misplaced passes, fouls and yellow / red cards.

3) Appearances

  • Points awarded per minute on the pitch, divided among players, according to minutes played in a successful team.

4) Goals scored


5) Assists


6) Clean sheets

  • Points awarded to the whole team, more awarded to a GK for example, than a ST.

Right, that is as brief explanation as I can give, so, who were Newcastle’s top performers? The statistics I have collected are based on the index results. I have also compared our players to fellow countrymen, and determined their overall rankings in their respective positions…With that said, lets have a look at the results.

1) Kevin Nolan

The Newcastle skipper was rated as the 16th overall best player with a score of 488, making him the 5th highest rated Englishman behind Baines, Hart, Rooney and Terry. He was the 3rd best overall midfielder behind Malouda and Toure, meaning he was rated as the number one English midfielder, (argue with that one Savage). His 30 appearances bought 12 goals, 2 assists along with 37 fouls and 10 yellow cards.

2) Jonas Gutierrez

Possibly surprising to some, Jonas was rated at 33rd position overall, also making him the 2nd highest Argentinian behind ‘homesick’ Carlos Tevez, with an index score of 423. He was the 12th highest rated midfielder behind Malouda, Toure, Nolan, Nani, Adam, Nasri, Young, Downing, N’Zogbia, Van Der Vaart and Lampard. His 3 goals and 5 assists came from 37 appearances. He also committed 33 fouls resulting in 5 yellow cards. Oddly Gareth Bale is classed as a defender, if Bale was classed as a midfielder, Jonas would slip down one place in the midfield ranking.

3) Joey Barton

Deemed not worthy of a new contract, Joey Barton is listed in 43rd overall position with a score of 410. He is the 14th highest ranked English player and 6th best ranked English midfielder behind Nolan, Young, Downing, Lampard and 20 millions pounds worth of Jordan Henderson… Overall, he is number 18 in the midfielder category. He contributed 4 goals, 9 assists, 39 fouls and 7 yellows in 32 appearances. (If you include Bale, Barton would also slip one place in the overall midfield ranking).

4) Jose Enrique

63rd Overall position with a score of 383, he is the 3rd highest ranked Spaniard behind Reina and David Silva. Baines, Bale, Evra, Cole and Clichy are above him in the left back department…Though I would rather not count Bale in this category. He played 36 times with 4 assists, 15 fouls and 5 yellows.

5) Fabricio Coloccini

Coloccini was 64th with a score of 381. He is the 4th highest Argentinian with Tevez, Jonas and Maxi Rodriquez above him. He was the 14th highest ranked central defender with 35 appearances, 2 goals, 15 fouls and 3 yellows.

So, some interesting results?

If you take into consideration Cheick Tiote, who many would pick as their player of the season not making the top 5. Of course it is up for debate as to how accurate you perceive these rankings to be. I can only assume Tiote suffered due to the amount of fouls (75) and yellow cards (14) he received during the season.

Strangely, Footballer Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year, Scott Parker, did not fair too well either, but again this may be because of how poorly West Ham performed last season, and how the points are accumulated.

Taking all things into consideration, it is undeniable how important Nolan, Jonas, Barton, Enrique and Coloccini were last season. The rankings however don’t tell the story of what goes on in the dressing room and how the need for a strong collective spirit can help overcome adversity. Interestingly, the main architect in the spirit department, also was our number one in the rankings, which of course brings us back to the start of this thread and a certain Kevin Nolan…

I would like to say a thank you and farewell to Kevin, at the time of writing, he has undergone his medical with West Ham and looks certain to leave. Although being here a short time, he has shown great attitude and been a top captain. I will not forget the effort and commitment he showed us every time he pulled on the black and white top and nobody will forget his hat-trick against Sunderland. One of my favourite memories of Kevin donning our colours however, was his backwards chicken dance after he scored the opener at the Stadium of Light. For some reason, that has always stuck in my head, I thought at the time, it was a perfect wind up.

All things considered, I wish him the best at his new club and I, for one, will always welcome him back to St James’ Park.

Sometimes in life you never truly appreciate something until it is gone, this applies to football as well. Hopefully, his departure, will not become another classic example, to all those concerned.

We shall see…

NUFCBlog Author: Jimbob Backpacker extraordinaire and current resident of sunny Sheffield. Loves Marmite, hates peanut butter. Sleeps twice a day, wrestles Polar Bears because he can and regards himself as cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce. Jimbob has written 40 articles on this blog.

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61 Responses

  1. Nicely put. I wish Nolan well and I hope he helps get the Hammers promoted, if only so that we can welcome him back to SJP. Good lad, great captain.

  2. I think it was Vic Reeves who said that 83.7% of statistics are made up on the spot. :)

  3. Interesting subject, various factors that evaluate players.
    The “Oakland A’s” a US baseball team were very sucessful using a similar system to evaluate players.
    In fact the present Fenway group @ Liverpool pride themselves and give credit to their system of selecting the right players for their recent success with the “Boston Red Sox”
    Baseball being a totally different game of course uses different statistics, some of which “Jimbob” (i think)mentions above in regards to football.
    Of course, professional Sports in the US are tied to statistical analysis, have been for ever, unlike football that has changed little over the years.
    Unless you want to look at Barcelona and how they play the game.
    My point, it would be interesting to see how a team built on statistical evaluation of each player to fill a specific position would work out.
    That plus an evaluation of which tactics were successful against a particular side, or is there one particular style fit’s all.
    At present there’s plenty of room for these type of statistical experiments, as there does’nt appear to be much agreement as to which formations work best, lets bring the game into the 21’st. century.
    That goes twofold for the refereeing part, technology’s there but, a bunch of phobic old farts refuse to use it, to the detriment of the game.

  4. Once again we get the upset fans, or actually the crap media attempting to incite the fans when players leave or are sold (sometimes difficult to tell)

    Nolan was a good servant to the side, got his rewards from the crowd and a decent salary, he will now put on the W/Ham strip and kiss the badge at £55k per week.
    Hey that’s fine, Thanks ! and good luck too him.

    Face it last seasons side was anything but exciting and the football was’nt exactly of a very high standard, some games you would think, am i watching the same team ?
    So the changes for me are welcome, looks like we are building a side here that has some skill and the entertainment level should go up.
    Aint that what it’s about being entertained and winning?

  5. Been stated in the press, Liverpool are considering a £22m. bid for both Jonas & Enrique.
    GRAB IT !!!!!
    Could bring in N’Zogbia and Izaguirre plus the PSG striker, for that kinda dosh.

  6. If you ask me to put together a team, I’m selecting Barton long before I even think about Nolan.

    BTW, not only does NUFC sell Nolan, there is little worry of him coming back to Newcastle to wreak havoc next year unless in a League or FA cup tie.

  7. @3

    Yeah, Liverpool do use this system, they are fanatical about statistics, which is why they went in for henderson.

    BeeGuy, I agree, I wouldnt want Nolan or Barton to go though. It’s just interesting how Nolan is ranked at number one, and along with Barton, is a massive influence on the dressing room.

    It also Looks like our top 4 performers could leave this summer, and I very much doubt Colo will get a new contract, once his current one expires, due to the wage he is on.

    Clearly, our management dont look at statistics, unless they believe they can find the same types of players…

  8. Very interesting read JimBob.

    Unfortunately, that top five could all be shipped out. So in a way, it’s statistical reminder of the idiots in charge at the toon!

    Like Joey says… wtfganningonatthebliddytoonman

  9. Just why was Alan Pardew constantly blathering to the media on how important it was to renew the contracts of key players at the club months ago?

    “The most important thing is that you don’t lose your best players, and I think that’s got lost a little bit.” – Alan Pardew

    It certainly has got lost a little bit.

  10. Agree with Chuck @4

    This business with the stats is a funny one. They’re only good for certain things really in my opinion as in football there are so many things that you just can’t stat for, the timing for a players runs, the angle of them, a player’s pace, strength, creativity, seeing a passing opportunity, positioning, all very important attributes that stats can’t show.

    American sports are very closed skill sets in most cases, with players only expected to do one thing, so its a lot easier to register it statistically. With a batter in basebal what do you have to look at apart from his hit % and his RBI/homeruns. They’re clearly defined stats.

    Anyone who watches the NFL regularly like I do will know that the commentators are always mentioning the “unmeasurables” of a player. All their stats are recrded from their height and weight to their jumping height and speed. But as all of the NFL commentators always say, those factors are all well and good, but the great players have a lot more than that. Their determination, will to win leadershp abilities, influence over others etc are all very important aspects of what makes a player great, and you can never prove em with stats.

    Stats are important, don’t get me wrong, if a striker only hits 5% of shots on target then he’s probably not gonna do that well regardless, I’m just saying that there’s a LOT more to it than what you can write down on paper :)

  11. Agree with you Scott, still, the results are quite interesting when you consider how alot of people underestimate the contribution of players such as Nolan and Jonas.

  12. chuck says:
    June 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    “Once again we get the upset fans, or actually the crap media attempting to incite the fans when players leave or are sold (sometimes difficult to tell)”

    What are you refering to? If it is the thread, im not sure why you are interpreting it that way, as at no point does it try to incite anybody, nor does it say whether it was right or wrong for Nolan to leave, It just shows who were our top players last season.

    I agree with those who say it is impossible to count everything that happens, I am not promoting Actim Index, just anaylizing what it shows in regards to our players.

  13. workyticket says:
    June 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    2) Jonas Gutierrez

    Possibly surprising to some

    “True going by what some people say about him, but I can’t understand why?”

    Because some people do not look at the whole picture, sometimes his delivery is not the best, but you cant fault his workrate and overall input in the team…

    Also most good moves we produce originate from Jose and Jonas combined. It is our strongest side by far.

  14. Isn’t this the ‘moneyball’ approach to recruitment?
    Picking up players based on stats rather than cos they’ve been bigged up in the media?

  15. Hence, building a team cheaply that can challenge, a la certain baseball teams?

  16. Nice little (big) 5 year deal for Kev on £5k or so more a week, cool if you can get it like.

  17. mildew is being made to look more and more like a total mug,with each passing can anyone take this bloke seriously,after everything that’s occurred.

  18. Cant blame him though, he is sorted for the next 5 years. I would take the money. When I help with coaching kids football, they always talk to me about why they want to be a footballer. They all want to be ronaldo, messi etc, then as you talk to some of the lads who are slightly older, there thoughts move away from playing for their fave clubs and more into what they can get from it, if they are successful…its seen as a living / job.

    Its all about money these days… it will be hard finding players who would stay at a club just to show loyalty if a bigger, better, financial deal is pushed under there nose, though there may be some exceptions…

  19. There should be a universal wage cap to stop the bigger clubs picking up players from the smaller teams. But it will never happen.

    I blame the agents as well.

  20. jimbob,
    aye, fair enough & all that, but,

    Divn’t gan saying stuff about how you ‘love it here’ etc. & badge kissing if ya’ just gonna split the scene instantly & it is instantly in this case, you don’t get your demands met.
    I can see whammers having a great old moan in years 3, 4 & 5 of Nolan’s nice new deal.

  21. They got to say stuff like that though to appease everybody.

    Badge kissing though is annoying.

    Nolan did not have to leave, not long ago he was close to signing a new deal, which he stated publicly (cant be arsed finding a link).

    Agents dont help either.

    Money talks.

  22. jimbob,
    players are allowed to badge kiss if they’ve earned the right, with years of service, refusal to go elsewhere for money or prestige etc.
    Then & only then, other than if they are truly one of us, born & bred fan from time.

  23. Sly spots reckons Ba is undergoing a medical at SJP.
    Dunno how current that ‘news’ is like.

  24. jimbob,
    btw mate, great blog again man.
    Loving your input, always thought/knew you were a top dude.

    Sorry if i’m embarrassing ya’ man.


  25. Cant stop them kissing the badge though can you?

    Unless you smear some sort of radioactive waste on to it.

  26. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    June 16, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    “Sly spots reckons Ba is undergoing a medical at SJP.
    Dunno how current that ‘news’ is like.”

    He’s been filmed in Newcastle apparently Clint, though I haven’t actually seen it yet.

  27. Thanks Clint, same back at you!

    glad you liked it. Thought it was funny how the results came out, as I was gathering the stats, I got the news about Nolan so it integrated quite nicely.

    Do you forward your work by email or smash away on wordpress?

  28. Or that horrid tasting shit that people dip pens & pencils in to stop bairns chowen ’em?

  29. worky,
    just seen it mate, as one of the ‘top stories’ on ‘slynews’, defo him at SJP in daylight hours, so a while ago.

  30. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    June 16, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    “Sly spots reckons Ba is undergoing a medical at SJP.
    Dunno how current that ‘news’ is like.”

    Could be anyone though. Couple months back I was sure I saw Shola Ameobi in a Mcdonald in Ottawa…

  31. jimbob,
    ta mate.

    I have sent ’em in to worky/hugh, but i generally tap ’em into ‘notepad’ then paste it into WP, though i’m not fully au fait with WP & ‘how to’ everything.
    One of the lads sticks a pic in there & Roberto is ya’ fatha’s bro’.

  32. You could wack some marmite all over it. Some people hate it? Personally I love marmite, especially when on toast with melted cheese.

  33. I can live without the melted cheese like.

    But don’t mind marmite, i’m unusual in as far as i neither love nor hate it.
    Strange eh?

  34. Nolan gone thank god thats over

    West Ham must be in dire straights to give him a 5yr contract at 55k

    Im glad we didn’t give him that. He might deserve that for a season or 2 but will be a 10k a week player in 2 years.

    Also all the ppl saying Pardrew is a puppet for letting him go, and putting quotes of him saying “I want to keep our best players” etc.

    He came in to the club after Hughton was sacked and the players had all the power in the dressing room. Nolan and Barton are the leaders of this group. What was he supposed to say? we weren’t safe from relegation and needed plenty of points from the second half of the season. I would have said whatever they wanted to hear to keep them playing as well.

    Now he has the chance to build his own team he is getting rid of these guys. It may not be the most scrupulous way of going about it but it is the most effective. Imagine these guys knew they were on the outer when he took over? they would have had a sulk and the club “They Love” would have been back in the CCC

    These guys love money. Just because they are English doesnt make them less of a mercanery than any other player in the league. If they loved the club they would stay regardless. Barton would have signed in January. Its not a difference of earning £500 pw when you were getting £700 they are still earning £40,000 pw !!!!!! that is good money to be at a club “you love”

    I commend Pardrew for getting out the players that would question his authority in the dressing room. If he is the gaffer he needs full control. End Of, If players are playing for him and it goes sour then at least he knows he f%^&ed up not that players didnt want to play for him

    Howay the Lads

    Give AP a chance

  35. howay_james, interesting points. Im not surprised Nolan accepted a 5 year deal at that kind of money. Its a bit like when chelsea gave a 5 year deal to Lampard when he was 30, insane. We cant afford to do that. He choose the security of what West Ham offered, so good luck to him. Im not going to slag him off, only wish him well. He will do a great job for them next season.

  36. I think Nolan has been a good player for us over his 91 matches however I dont like players stating they love the club, couldnt imagine leaving, my son is a geordie… etc

    Then jumping ship when the chance arises. Just shut up and do what you want without the BS. Very similar to AC and it wont be

    Ppl can point at Scholes, Giggs, Lampard or examples of player on big contracts till they are 35-36 but there is a difference in that these guys are in sides challenging for the league, Champ League every year. They are motivated to perform by trophies. How much motivation can you get at 34yo when your body is in pain throughout a match when the season aim is a Europa league spot?

    I know that’s a bit of a dreary outlook but these are the facts at the moment

    People upset about Nolan leaving should remember him fondly for his efforts and be glad we got what we have for him when he left.

    Sorry im going on about it but it really gets under my skin all the “love” these guys claim to have for the club and then they leave or slag it off. KN and JB were both offered contracts which they turned down. END OF

    At least Enrique said he will consider a new contract once were safe. No BS just clearly saying I want to be in a top league and wont hang around if were relegated again. Honesty is something I can respect

  37. howay_james says:
    June 17, 2011 at 1:03 am

    “KN and JB were both offered contracts which they turned down. END OF”

    What contracts were they offered James?

  38. howay_james says:
    June 17, 2011 at 1:03 am

    “People upset about Nolan leaving should remember him fondly for his efforts and be glad we got what we have for him when he left”.

    Yeah, I got nothing but good memories of his time here. He was a top captain.

    Alot of, but not all, players state their love for a club only to leave for a better pay day. loyalty is hard to come by these days. Like I said before…Money talks.

  39. Jimbob says:
    June 17, 2011 at 1:16 am

    “Worky I cant view the new thread?”

    Have you tried the posts page? It isn’t published yet.

  40. Yeah, I get to the posts page, then drafts. I can see it, but no options anywhere to view it. I also hover around as it says to do…

    Is it because its got you as the author in ‘drafts’ and it not being in ‘mine’?

    Last night I could view the thread before it was published as it was in ‘mine’

  41. Got it thanks worky. Looks good mate, nice one.

    Ba signing and fixture news tomorrow morning? Maybe unleash it in the afternoon again? Up to you mate.

  42. Jimbob says:
    June 17, 2011 at 1:48 am

    “Ba signing and fixture news tomorrow morning?”

    I was trying to write about that but this blog seems to be knacked today. I’m sick of it!

  43. Jimbob says:
    June 17, 2011 at 1:55 am

    “worky, whats with the ??? at the bottom of the video?”

    Don’t worrt about it, it was just my Alzheimer’s playing up again. 2003 Champion’s League to be filled in.

  44. It has been mentioned in articles on this very blog previously that they were offered contracts.

    Nolan turned down just a week ago

    Barton in January

    Not 5 year contracts but contracts offered by the club and if they wanted they would have signed. Then at the end of those contracts they could have signed again if their performance warranted another offer from the club

    The club decides contracts and that is the only way to move forward IMO. For years we have had players at this club that should have been gone but didnt leave cause no-one would match their wages. It may not seem like it now but in the bigger picture this is the way the club should be going

  45. James, you mean this?

    “The Mirror is attempting to shed some light on Kevin Nolan’s contract situation, although whether that’s the light of truth or some light of their own invention is open to interpretation as no official sources are quoted at all.

    Allegedly the contract Nolan was offered was not due to be activated until the end of next season and would only be viable if Newcastle secure a top seven finish. The contract apparently included a bonus and a £10k/week rise although that, like the contract itself, would only be activated if the team finish in the top seven.”

  46. Kevin Nolan Quotes

    March 12: “I’m just delighted I’m able to play here week-in, week-out and hopefully I’ll be able to do it for a few years…The main thing is to make sure I leave this club and they’re saying, ‘Thanks very much for your service’. If there’s 50,000 fans saying, ‘Thanks very much’ and saying it again when I come back, that’s what I want.”

    April 28: “Negotiations [on a new contract] are at an advanced stage. Most things have been agreed and I would think I will sign next week or the week after…We need to keep important players and sign more, which is what the gaffer intends to do. I am desperate to bring success to St James’ Park…We know we can bring back the good days and go one better by winning a trophy. That is my dream, for it to happen in my time.”

    May 22: “I don’t want to stop here. I want to go on over the next three, four or five years. Being one of the players who has helped get this club back where it belongs, and hoping to take it further, really pleases me.”

    June 1: “To be captain of this club, it really feels a great honour. It’s fantastic and I am absolutely delighted. When my daughter walks round telling everyone I am captain of Newcastle, that’s when you realise it affects a lot of people. Genuinely from the bottom of my heart, I love doing the captaincy bit and I love playing for this club.”

    After which

    June 7: Nolan rejects the club’s contract offer.

    June 15: Nolan travels to West Ham for a medical.

    Pardrew Quote

    “The club made Kevin a good offer to stay, but could not agree over the length of the contract offered.

    “This obviously happens in football and everybody needs to move on.

  47. Nice ode to Nolan at the end.

    As for the stats? The quote “Lies, damn lies and statistics” comes to mind. It’s all very subjective.