Leon Best is Mint!

I think most fans would agree that Leon Best has surpassed any expectations we have had in his ability over the last few months. He was required to step up to the plate and that’s exactly what he has done and he is now one of the first names on the team sheet when it comes to our attacking options.

Of course, some would say that this is a selection by default as we are currently so limited with our attacking options up front, but Leon has proved he is worth selecting and has responded to the gauntlet set down with gusto.

I was extremely impressed with Leon in pre-season until a nasty cruciate injury set him back months and was sceptical when he appeared on the bench later on in the season due to him struggling to make an impact on Tyneside in our Championship winning campaign. He seemed to be in the same category as the signings of Perch and Routledge in that he had found his level in the Championship and just wasn’t good enough for the big stage. I thought he would always be a backup player and would only get a chance if injuries took their toll.

In his first Premier League start with the club, Leon was a surprise selection against West Ham United. Alan Pardew explained to journalists that Leon Best had been beating down his door for a chance to prove himself and that’s the sort of attitude he wanted to see from his players, so Leon was gifted his chance in the big time.

Many fans were having a laugh about the selection of Best and weren’t confident he could deliver the goods. They were wrong. We all hoped he would have a good game but I don’t think anyone could hold their hands up and admit that they expected Leon Best to come out with a hat-trick on his first Premier League start. Having scored a hat-trick and added goals against Arsenal and Brimingham to his tally, he now has a scoring rate of a goal every two games in 2011.

Leon is a skillful guy with the ball at his feet and from what we hear about the clubs recent ‘training’ break in Portugal, he is also the best at any other mini sport you can think of. He also demonstrated recently against Fulham that he can find the back of the net with his heed as well. Let’s be honest though, this boy has been around a while now and it’s about time he started making a name for himself. He made his debut against Newcastle on his 18th birthday and his most prolific spell of his career was at Yeovil Town on loan from Southampton.

He has proved he has the hunger and desire and can score goals against good defences as he was unlucky not to get two against Arsenal having been wrongly flagged offside. His next challenge is to keep the spot he has earned ahead of the returning Shola Ameobi and promising youngster Nile Ranger, whilst keeping Lovenkrands firmly in his shadow.

I currently feel he is our best chance of getting goals against Everton at the weekend and really wish the boy well as he comes across as a lad with a great personality.

MarkToon wrote a cracking article a couple of weeks ago singling out Leon best as one of our top performers of late and rightly said that Leon was a confidence player. How much more confidence do you need knowing that the Toon faithful are behind you 100%?

If Leon continues at this rate he should be in double figures at the end of the season which I would personally be delighted with.

Do you think Leon has what it takes to play at this level for years to come or is this just a flash in the pan? Would you pick him over any of our current crop of strikers or should he make way for Ameobi?

About Moreno

Raised in Tyneside and now spreading the Gospel of Shola down in shandyland! Follow @MorenoToon on Twitter !

108 thoughts on “Leon Best is Mint!

  1. and The Sun have either just picked this up yesterday from ‘somewhere’ or they have had it a while and choose today to release it?
    Just smells a bit fishy though doesn’t it?

    Why is it that we are targeted and clubs attempt to screw us on a daily basis?
    Do you ever see as much rubbish printed about any other club in the tabloids? Even a fraction?


  2. ‘Why is it that we are targeted and clubs attempt to screw us on a daily basis?’

    Typo, meant papers not clubs….


  3. I thought most of those numbers were known…looks like quoted sales prices for those who left, and if Ashley was eager to save on wages, then he’d half to sacrifice sale value to the buying club. There’s only a handful of clubs that can pay ridiculous sales prices and then match ridiculous wage demands too, correct?

    Interesting read. Seems we’re the better for some of those deals not going through.


  4. This is why Ashley needs to learn from him mistakes (he seems to be this season) and have us in a position where we have the strength (more strikers) to be nowhere near the bottom 5 in the table.


  5. As for the Europe question, I am one who believes that the team should always be striving for that. To play just for survival is too risky IMO. Take tomorrow’s results for instance. We win, there’s a chance we can capture 6th. Survival is almost assured in that position, but in reality, it’s mathematically not. So, the club needs to keep pushing as if Europe is the goal. Strive for the best. Never settle for mediocrity. That’s not what the Premier League is about. Teams don’t get here by being the average at what they do…

    If it gets to the point where the team is mathematically safe and Europe is unattainable…then start playing for fun…throw in the young ones. But, if we’re always pushing for that 6th place, and it’s still a possibility to get…then I don’t think they should ever stop trying.

    As others said, more money and the attraction of players are all positives for the club. And for selfish reasons…more games to watch.


  6. Moreno…must be cos we’re a “big” club πŸ˜† cya mate.

    DJG….aye ya right mate, but I have adopted the tactic of not believing owt he says until it’s proved otherwise πŸ˜‰


  7. I am a beer and wine kind of guy, except that the one hard alcohol i enjoy is vodka.


  8. Vodka used to have me walking along railway lines wi big lights coming towards me…..strictly lager when I’m oot and usually red wine in the house….unless I’m full then may have the odd vodka…..and the occasional shot :mrgreen:


  9. Yeah, me too. The only spirits I really drink are gin and vodka. My pal who got it said just drink it neat. Er no thanks Im mixing it with Lemonade. πŸ™‚


  10. toonsy- You have me on that one I’ll admit.

    The point I was making though is that it has been detrimental to their league form. What are they doing now?

    I think we should build. With enough persuasion and signings Im sure our current players will stay. And if they don’t f### em. Im still waiting for N’Zogbia, Bassong and Milner to lift the champions league.


  11. wait, you’re mixing an orange vodka with lemonade? Does that work? I’d think there would be a serious citrus battle going on there.


  12. DJG….how do you know it was detrimanetal to their league form?
    Teams can do well one season and crap the next, with or without Europe.That’s football.
    So if on the last day of the season we’d qualify for Europe if we won and wouldn’t if we lost you’d be praying for a win?


  13. DJG, they are on course to finish mid table….as they do every year….can’t see it’s effected them that much


  14. Richie, you need to get yourself a “smart phone” and download some apps. A couple of quick touches and i get the league results for BPL, Serie A, La Liga and others.


  15. so we shouldn’t go in the cups then?
    players get injured at any time, we’ve done crap in the cups and still had injuries, that’s football and still nae proof europe makes you have a worse season.

    Norcal…nae good having a “smart” phone, if the person operating it is an idiot πŸ˜‰

    Whey I’m away, early flight, neet lads.


  16. Rich – Will do πŸ™‚

    DJG – I get what you’re saying. Sometimes the burden can be too much, but other times a club can deal with it. With Fulham its hard to judge as they have not long changed managers so that could have been why they started so poorly.

    Besides, if the took had more games it would give me and the boys more articles to do and would help this place in becoming number one blog. πŸ˜‰


  17. Nice blog Moreno. For me, we should be starting with Best and Ranger with Lovenkrands and Ameobi as subs.


  18. Thanks Jill. I like your no nonsense approach to answering the question!

    I agree with you on that selection 100%


  19. Leon Best is a good player, but needs plenty of service coming into the box from the wings. This is our problem. We need Jonas to be more frequent and consistent with his crosses. Besty has shown he has great aerial ability, unlike shola, but we need to get Nolan further into the center of the box to get his knock downs as Lovenkranks tends to keep to left side too much.
    We need a decent rightwinger too. Or simmo needs to improve his crosses too.
    If we can improve this we can win today, but I’m not convinced. Although its great for the players to have the incentive of going 6th with a win. If that doesn’t get them fired up, nothing will.
    Think it will be a tight game, just hope we can keep it clean and no more red cards ffs.
    Any news on Joey B?


  20. I really like him. He gives his all every single game, you can see that usually when he can hardly walk at the end of the match – couldn’t say that about any of our players the season we went down.

    He’s proved he can score goals at this level, what more do we want?


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