Can we survive without … ?

Posted on October 21st, 2011 | 31 Comments |

Is Fabricio Coloccini Newcastle United's key player?
Key player?
Newcastle United appear to have ‘options’ in many areas at the moment as Shola’s substitute appearance last Sunday seemed to prove, but is there any player we simply couldn’t do without?

Remember Ultravox? They were a lively and ‘edgy’ band when John Foxx was driving things but, when Foxx left, Midge Ure introduced a brand of commercial bland that concomitantly ruined their music and launched them to commercial success. ‘Vienna’ was a big success for Ultravox whilst John Foxx skirted the lower borders of the top 40 singing about ‘Underpants’* (click click drum).

The point, though, is that Ultravox survived the change of personnel and it seemed there was no one person without whom they were in the mire. In my warped and befuddled brain, this is just the sort of analogy that leads me on to Newcastle United and whether or not there are key players without whom we’d be rowing up the creek of excrement without any paddle-shaped objects.

We have lost supposed ‘key personnel’ by way of Carroll, Nolan, Barton and Enrique, yet we have survived and even prospered, so the signs are good. Recently John Carver said that the lack of ‘key players’ and ‘big egos’ is in fact one reason why we’ve had such a good start.

There has been much talk of a gap in the front line, one which Alan Pardew seems keen to plug in the January transfer window, yet last weekend when Ba and Best were replaced by Shola and Benny, we scored the goal that got us a point. The Fenham Eusébio really did live up to his diminutive and looked like he’d been given some magic boots to wear.

In midfield we seem to have a lot of options. It could be argued that we’d suffer without the ceaseless work-rate of Tiote, but I think we’d survive that somehow, and we seem to have plenty of options in most of the midfield areas.

Defence is, I think, the area in which we’d suffer most from a lost player, and central defence in particular. I think the loss of either Taylor(S) or Colo would be the most ‘damaging’ to the team at the moment. I think we’ve been pretty good in most areas so far this season but central defence has been the stand-out area for me.

So, given that this is an article that started off going nowhere and then continued to do so, I feel I ought to try and pick the single player who I think would be most missed. At the moment I think that’s Colo. Not just because he’s captain or because he raises the hair follicle to player average so dramatically (despite Obertan’s best efforts to average it back down again), but because I happen to think he’s one of the best central defenders in the Premier League at the moment.

So, in a team where there are generally no key players without whom we’d be in big trouble, I think Coloccini is the key player whose loss would have the greatest impact.

What do you think?

* Well, okay, it was ‘Underpass’ really.

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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31 Responses

  1. I think you have hit the nail on the head about us requiring defenders. I think to lose Coloccini would be a disaster. I still don’t think S Taylor is the answer in the middle. He has played above my expectations of him this season but, I don’t think he reads the game very well and he lacks pace. I think the coaching this season has helped him a lot. He does seem to cover at times when Coloccini goes forward, this is something he has not done before. He regularly leaves the other centre back exposed. I often wondered about all of the centre backs we have had that were deemed to be rubbish playing alongside him. I think he should be replaced and he could be used as cover at centre or right back or even in attack when we need a goal.
    We also need a left back and a striker.

  2. From the games I’ve seen this season I wouldn’t say that our defensive record is down to the defence. There have been quite a few slip ups at the back which would have resulted in quite a few goals if it weren’t for the brilliant Tim Krul

  3. Two best outfield player so far this season IMO are Collo and Tiote, would hate to loose either of them.Tim Krul has also been sensational and I think Saylor has also been very good alongside Collo.

    Aside from them I think Cabey (and Ba recently) have also been superb along with Jonas. Jury is still out on Obertan but I think many bloggers are writing him off far to quickly and that given the time he will come good and fulfill his potential.

    All in all, a great start to the season and much better than I anticipated it would be. Long may it continue HWTL.

  4. Hugh, the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs are quite possibly the strangest words I have ever seen written on here.

    An Ultravox metephor for NUFC, I want some of what you’re smoking.

  5. We have a very solid spine emerging with Krul Colo Saylor Cabaye Tiote Ba add to that the much improved Jonas. If we can continue to add the kind of player ( in tearms of attitude and ability ) I see no reason why in the next two or three seasons we won’t be having to worry about loosing key players to other sides, because we could be up there challanging for european football and having success in the cups. If that scenario develops than the only player who would wish to leave would be mercenary types out for money rather than footballing ambition and of course theres no place for them at the toon.

  6. GS says:
    October 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm (Edit)

    Hugh, the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs are quite possibly the strangest words I have ever seen written on here.

    An Ultravox metephor for NUFC, I want some of what you’re smoking.


    Clearly you haven’t read many of my other posts! I can ramble on pointlessly about all sorts of rubbish.

  7. Remember Ultravox? No.
    Remember Zoot Money & his Big Roll Band down at the Quay Club (under HL Bridge) in the early 60s? Now we’re talking reality!

  8. I remember that Ultravox video with Midge Ure staring off somehwere into the distance. All that stuff was derivative of Kraftwerk anyway.

    95% looking forward to the game tomorrow and it is on live here in the US. 5% uncertain because we are NUFC and anything can happen. But it is Wigan, without N’Zog, for God’s sake!

  9. I don’t think it will be a walkover like many toon fans are saying, I do however think we will win the game by the odd goal or two. Having said this, I would love it if we smashed them 6-0 as it would further boost the teams confidence and keep the feel good factor going strong at the club.

  10. take wigan lightly,at your peril,they are a wounded animal.they can be very dangerous to our unbeaten run,we have in the past been a club,that becomes a sacrificial lamb,to send struggling clubs,on a winning streak.

    i do think the game is ours to lose,but seeing some of the comments,by toon fans on wigan’s board,we should be more magnanimous.
    it has the potential “banana skin” written all over it.if we are not careful.

  11. Supermac @ 7

    And Graham Bond, John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers, Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band, and so many more.

    The Quay Club was good but Club A Gogo was the best. Saw Jimi Hendrix in the lounge. Also Julie Driscol who was the first women not to wear a bra.

    Memories and mamories

  12. Dogs of war against wounded animals? sacrificial lambs?

    Sounds like a Besiktas game.

    I read somewhere that John Foxx is in his sixties now. Shocking.

  13. Kamar says:
    October 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    “Also Julie Driscol who was the first women not to wear a bra.”

    She had very small tits though Kamar.

  14. i just going out into the back garden to cut the lambs throat,and smear the blood on my forehead and football boots,like what happened to sir les ferdinand.

  15. That’s very true Worky as I can confirm as I was at the front of the stage but being the first women seen without a bra it has lived in my memory since !

  16. Have you seen the schedule for the Brazil world cup games? some kick off at 2 am UK time!
    And you can’t stay in one stadium for all group games – there’s 1,000s of miles trevelling involved. Who organised this fiasco?

    Quite honestly, I don’t care too much if we don’t qualify – sod FIFA.

  17. Supermac…I remember the kick off times in the Argy world cup finals were also a bit bizzare. Should be good fun though watching the Brazilian WC..whether England are going to be there or not

  18. Memories and mamories – that would be 67-68ish

    It was about then I first felt I was getting old – I made a bee line for a smart lass in the Maj and sweetly murmured my only (but well honed) chat up line “whee di yee prefor – Cliff or Elvis?” – to be rejected with a look of horror and “What? yer must be joking granddad, piss off”. So I did.

  19. Munich – the Brazilians deserve the finals and will make an incredible party of it. But am I not right remembering the final (fantastic ticker tape snow) was on TV at about 8 pm?

  20. Supermac says:
    October 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm (

    “It was about then I first felt I was getting old – I made a bee line for a smart lass in the Maj and sweetly murmured my only (but well honed) chat up line “whee di yee prefor – Cliff or Elvis?”


    Silly question supermac. I wasn’t even around back then but I know they all preferred the swivel hipped Yank over wor Cliff. Nee contest there!

  21. well this story has put the kiss of death on colo – i see hes a doubt for tomorrow now. and with no obvious replacement (simpson cb?) i couldnt agree more with your conclusion more. a centre back in jan is more important than a striker imo

  22. One has to wonder if Newcastle could do without that hairstyle. There’s a few clubs who’s pay £12 million for curls like that.