How important is an English spine to Newcastle United?

Posted on September 12th, 2011 | 14 Comments |

French flair or English doggedness?
French flair or English doggedness?
How important is an English spine to a Football Club?

The thought crossed my mind the other day, after pondering the comings and goings from this transfer window:

“Just how important is an English spine to NUFC?”

Many sports pundits have criticized Arsenal over the years for a weak English showing in their teams, and cite this reason for the failure over recent years. On the same sort of note how will our recent shift to cheap foreign imports play out in the long run?

I have to admit, last year looking at the group of Carroll, Barton, Nolan and Harper (to name a few) I always felt that we would stay up. The guys had been through the relegation, bonded in the Championship and knew what had to be done in order secure our Premier League status. But now with the French Revolution going on with the club, how much passion and desire do these guys have?

The flip side of the coin is that players like Ben Arfa can offer a level of skill that might not be found in an English player within our price range. Dare I say it, but the danger is that he could easily become sulky and disillusioned with life on Tyneside, having a proven record of le sulks with his time in France.

I did have concerns over Modibo Maiga being linked with NUFC, going on strike and refusing to turn up for training to try and force the move. That is not the kind of player with need. Likewise with Mevlüt Erdinç, by all accounts if he had signed for the Toon it would have been for cash, as he made it clear he didn’t want to move to Tyneside.

Moving into the future, I think providing we continue to be sensible in the transfer market and avoid ageing superstars after a last final pay check then I think we should be ok. I see players such as Tim Krul and Cabaye future leaders of the club; Tim loves the Toon and just goes to show that nationality has no bearing on passion.

Pardew has brought in foreign players with something to prove, both Obertan and Santon are young talents that have floundered in recent seasons. Hopefully they still have that desire and are ready to prove themselves with a second chance at NUFC.

How to wrap this up then? Well my main view is that regardless of nationality we need a strong core of players who have Premier League Experience coupled with passion and knowledge of the club.

Steps have to be put in place to ensure we don’t have a rapid turnover of personnel, as we came dangerously close to this over the summer. Otherwise we risk losing the heartbeat of the club.

NUFCBlog Author: Mick toons Mick toons is a proud nufc fan hailing from Durham. He now lives in Yorkshire with another group of hard done by fans... Leeds United Mick toons has written 13 articles on this blog.

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14 Responses

  1. It’s extremely import to have players who understand the footballing mentality of players from the British Isles but they certainly don’t have to be English. You wouldn’t take Ashley Cole into the trenches with you….not suggesting anything homophobic but looking at how he played against Wales he buckled over continental style at every Welsh shoulder barge. Same for Ashley young

  2. Mick, good article.

    I think a team needs to have both. The enforcer at Arsenal was a Frenchman, Viera. The talisman at ManU was Cantona. Chelsea in recent times had a good mixture with Terry and Lampard as the rocks. ManCity seem to be doing alright with their large contingent of foreigners.

    It’s all down to character.

    Like you I think Krul and Cabaye will become leaders. Saylor is already a born leader. The French players appear to look up to Ben Arfa. Whether it’s because he was at the club first or whether he has the personality and character I don’t know. Santon, once he learns English, has the potential to be a leader as he captained the Italian team.

    The thing that makes it easier is confidence and winning games.

  3. Just get some Scots in the squad, Ne good on the pitch,But the players would be safe on nights out.

  4. I don’t really care where the players come from, so long as they wanna be here & play & give 101% for the Toon.

    It just seems that english players have the skill schooled outta them or are just cloggers by nature, generally.
    Pedro, Gazza & a few others stick out as exceptions obviously.
    You’re right though Mick, the quality you get from abroad, for the cash has gotta be worth it.

  5. I think any spine is good-we built one based on grit with a point to prove now we are looking at players to gel quick and get accustomed and start from scratch.

    Player wise not just spine-Cabaye looks decent but I am still not convinced by Ben Arfa’s fitness,Marveux undecided as yet,BA worried,Tiote off the pace will get suspensions,Ben Arfa….worried as he has hardly played and was supposed to be who the team was going to revolve around…hmmmm.

    Very silly move by NUFC though to split the team up that was looking sturdy-should have sorted contracts,nipped the twitter stuff in the bud and bought a number 9 as well.
    My main concern is Attacking and creating good chances…anyone got the stat on how many shot on goal we have had in the opening games including Scunny?
    I don’t think you will need more than 2 hands.

  6. Of our recent starting 11, I count (Saylor, Simmo, Raylor, Best, Sammy) as app 5 British players, and it’s our best start to a season since 1995/96.

    So i’d say the proof’s in the pudding, in these early days…but who knows how we’ll play, when the winter sets in, and the other teams settle into form.

    But i agree with others, if the players has leadership, Cababye, then they can be from Figi for all i care.

  7. Are most people expecting Santon not to start? I actually think it could be a good one for him, but if not a guess Raylor:


    As much as i like the idea of Marv starting, and playing 4-2-3-1, i just don’t see it as likely, and so if its a classic 4-4-2, then lets see if Ba and Best can link up again: for all we know, they could become a great partnership!

  8. Scunthorpe United Newcastle United
    16(9) Shots (on Goal) 24(10)
    20 Fouls 17
    7 Corner Kicks 7
    2 Offsides 4
    44% Time of Possession 56%
    1 Yellow Cards 3
    0 Red Cards 0
    8 Saves 8

    Sorry, only the 24 shots v scunny.

  9. Scinthorpe United Newcastle United
    16(9) Shots (on Goal) 24(10)
    20 Fouls 17
    7 Corner Kicks 7
    2 Offsides 4
    44% Time of Possession 56%
    1 Yellow Cards 3
    0 Red Cards 0
    8 Saves 8

    Sorry, only the 24 shots v scunny.