Who are the unsung heroes of this season?

Guthrie has given Pardew a headache

Danny's done well.
Now that we can wave goodbye to another Premier League season the attention can turn towards who we will sign and whether or not we’ll splash the ash, sorry I mean cash!

It’s also time for various awards and accolades such as Player of the Year, Goal of the Season and so on to be decided. It’s all much of a muchness though so I’d like to take an entirely different route. How about; Most Under-appreciated Player of the Year?

We have all had, at some point, a player that we have appreciated only for other fans to deride. The player that nobody notices but helps to get the job done basically. In my time we’ve had Darren Peacock – the only one that seemed to like defending in the Keegan team of the 90’s, David Batty – no frills but we missed him no end when he was unavailable, and Gary Speed – another player you only really miss when they’ve gone.

I’ve always been a fan of the underdog, the one that no-one wanted to succeed. It’s probably why I ended up supporting Newcastle! When looking at the current crop of players we are not exactly blessed with the players that we once were. The Ginola’s, Shearer’s and Beardsley’s are long gone, but what we have got left is a good squad of honest hard working lads.

Due to the lack of inspirational quality and the hard-working nature of our side and the once in a lifetime relatively stress free end to the season, I thought that this would the perfect time to do an under-appreciated Player of the Year award.

To start with I’d like to give an honourable mention to two players who didn’t quite make my top five. Sol Campbell was brought in as cover and unfortunately proved that he was exactly that. I do believe however that his presence has not gone unnoticed and that he has helped us to look far more solid at the back with his experience on the training ground this campaign.

Secondly to Jonas Gutierrez. Can’t cross a ball to save his life but plays with a smile on his face and wins countless free kicks with his ‘European’ style of play. Now down to the all important top five.

5 – Danny Guthrie: Many people think that he is useless and brings nothing to the side but for me he is a consummate pro, never complains and is an incredibly tidy footballer. The boy can pass a ball and has shown this when given a run in the side. He has generally had the unenviable task of replacing the seemingly irreplaceable Cheik Tiote. He’ll never be a star, but he is a very handy squad player.

4 – Joey Barton: Barton has always shown himself to be an able and intelligent player on the pitch, but for me it’s his improvements off the field that has catapulted him into the top five. He has became tea-total, settled down with his missus, and has also played the best football of his career supplying most of the balls early on for Andy Carroll’s goals. His maturing off the field has allowed him to grow on the field, and he is growing with every game into a real leader. His attitude more than ability is what I feel has been under-appreciated.

3 – Mike Williamson: A Championship centre-half at best? Can’t get in the Portsmouth team? Not on his showing this season! Aside from games against Liverpool and Bolton (both times the whole side were poor) he has shown himself to be a real class act. I believe that his ability has allowed Fabricio Coloccini to flourish and look like a real top draw centre-half. Calls for Steven Taylor always echo when we lose but when Williamson has been missing I have felt we’ve really missed him. Under-appreciated? I think so.

2 – Kevin Nolan: What can I say? The man epitomises leadership. I like everything about Nolan, his attitude, organising team bonding events, his desire to become a legend on Tyneside. Even his day care centre in January was successful for a while!

Without his knack of being in the right place at the right time who knows where we would be this season. The one question I do wonder when watching Nolan is… Why has he always played midfield? A couple of pounds lighter and he’d be an exceptional front man. The role he played in holding the side together through the sacking of one boss and sale of Andy Carroll must not be under-appreciated.

1 -Danny Simpson: And finally we’ve reached what you’ve all been waiting for… Newcastle’s most under-appreciated player of the year… Danny Simpson. At the start of the season I felt our two main areas of weakness would be scoring goals and our right-back. Simpson seemed to me to be a decent full-back who had looked steady in the Championship but had also struggled in the Premier League previously.

I’ll admit that he’s still improving and has some flaws in his game (backing away from attackers) but if you’d said to me that there would be disappointment from fans and the player himself that he hadn’t received an England call-up I would have laughed in your face. I think this just shows how far the lad has come. He improves week on week and will only get better. He is, for me, the most under-appreciated player of this season.

As I said at the start of the article, the great thing about under-appreciation is that every fan can see player in a different way. Many will say that I’m an idiot for choosing such players, some will agree, but the beauty is that we all have an opinion and not one of us is really right when it comes to things like this.

I just hope that every year we can continue to have a list of players that have surprised us or done a job well enough that some of us can recognise it.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @Rorycn.

Note from Toonsy: Thank you to regular reader Rorycn for writing this article and giving us something to have a chat about.

116 thoughts on “Who are the unsung heroes of this season?

  1. been collect me cash from the bookies ,the woman behind the counter tryed too tell me we had finished 9th 😆 😆


  2. See the crap I get for you lot! Anyway, Manchester is boring. Been wandering around for two hours now and found nothing to do that doesn’t involve alcohol 🙁


  3. Richie-

    Bein’ as that I’m 29 and unwilling to admit that I turn 30 this year… yes. 😉



    considering nolan gets a lot of stick for supposedly being over weight and lazy when it suits some fans, id have to say he is one of the sort of unsung heroes………………simply because nolan is a classic doommonger fans outlet to vent frustration at if we get beat or have a stinker of a game………its usually certain fans….on the FM board that will say…we got beat because nolan cant run ..nolan cant do this and that ,hes overweight etc………its crackers man…some fans expect to see all players looking like rocky balboa in physique, but the truth is….some players are naturally heavily built…..nolan is one and titus bramble is another….theres many many more …………….

    people used to rib micky quinn years ago , but he done the business didnt he….

    tim krul is another unsung hero for a few reasons…….firstly..he was thrown in raw and done himself and the team justice for most part…making the odd mistake here and tehre, but all keepers do that…………………….then he lost his place again to harper which could have knocked his confidence to hell….but he came back in and has looked fairly assured for the length of time hes played top level…also you can actually see hes learning from certain errors….

    i think jonas has to come into this category as well, because he seems to be another player that seems to cop for stick if we dont create too many chances or play too well………….i do admit id love to see him just add that little bit to his game as in more end product….but the thing is….what he gives us on the pitch has been priceless in terms of us actually holding our own against the bigger teams……….im willing to bet that if you asked many players of teams we have played…who was most annoying to play against for causing mayhem and problems….i bet jonas’s name would crop up time and again…

    i think the lads class and i also think he can get better ……..he also has a hell of an engine on him and tracks back very well harrassing players.

    peter lovenkrands ……now theres a name that wont fall off peoples lips to complimentary……… but lets look at the bigger picture……… in a fair few of the games that hes played….we as a team have not provided him with anything to work from…and many times he has simply looked out of place ….especially in away games where our attack was basically conservative, making him look innefective,which he was …but can we blame him…..imo…NO…
    im not saying hes a world beater, but hes certainly a player that i would give another years contract to as back up because ..played in the right team with the right service…this lad knows where the goal is…

    for me, these players dont get the credit they deserve mainly due to a certain proportion of fans not quite seeing the bigger picture and basically overlooking their contributions over the full match. 🙂


  5. OH…it’s all downhill from there mate, ask Ice, when he hit the 30’s……mind that was the 1930’s 😉 😆


  6. Can we concentrate on this summer and the new season now?

    I’m bored of talking about last season.


  7. stu you seem very upbeat 🙂 but iam sure you will be back too ya normal self as the transfer window goes on ,best players oot and replace them with shite 😆


  8. wolfie
    Posted May 23, 2011 at 4:44 PM
    it only finished yesterday stuart lol

    I know but although the achievement was ok I really have higher expectations and hopefully next season can go some way to fullfilling them.

    I have a fair bit of optimism regarding this summer and next season. Although I do accept that each time I’ve had this feeling Ashley has come along and shit on me from a great height. Here’s hoping…


  9. Just saw that Sylvain Marveaux is available on a free. Mostly plays in the center and on the left, but could still be useful for us. He’s only 25.


  10. Richie-

    that’s why I’m countin’ backwards from now on hehehe :mrgreen:


    What was life like during the great depression? Also, I’d like to get your perspective on historical warfare. I think it’d be interesting to have some dialogue with someone who’s survived every war of the 20th Century. 😉


  11. stuart…dont worry about ashley mate…im also optimistic and i have a feeling that we are starting to take off again as a club and soon enough we will be up amongst the elite 😀

    i know a lot of people dont like ashley and llambias but you have to admit….as has been said before , hes made mistakes but hes adone a hell of a lot in putting this club back onto a stable footing and dragging it back from the depths of despair…which thats where it was heading…

    too much emphasis has been put onto hating ashley in my opinion and its took the shine of anything the team or manager seems to achieve…

    we as fans need to really just concentrate on the team and wait and hope that we gain the required signings needed to take that next tentative step….

    what we dont need ,is a knee jerk transfer feast based on appeasing everyone just for the sake of it………………….. shepherd in good faith tried all that and it nerly crippled us…

    ashley is astute…hes nobodys fool and hes proved hes strong willed and focused…..any lesser man would have packed up and left well before now….

    i believe ashley can see the good times ahead for this club and i also believe he will spend the required money needed to eventually make us not only stable..but competitively stable in time to come…

    i know ill get called mad and an ashley arse licker and such…but thats been my stance from day one looking at the wider picture …

    i also know every other fan will have their own opinions and some will always hate him, some will never forgive him, some will wait and see and some like me say…..water under the bridge and lets move on instead of dwelling and lets trust that things will happen for the good of the club..

    this summer will go a long way in my opinion….of where the clubs stands in terms of adding the required quality to take us to that next step…i firmly believe it will happen and im also optimistic that alan pardew will have already identified 90% of his targets…

    the first step for pardew, is to find out who is staying and who is going…..once that happens, i think we will have a clear idea as to what route this club is heading …………because if pardew has talked to the players about his plans and what hes gonna add in terms of quality…………..i think thats when you see how many of our star players nail theur colours to the mast and shout….we want some of that. 😀 obviously thats only my opinion and what i believe will happen. 😀


  12. Hugh

    Thanks fella, but the right thing to do was once he had raised enough to cover the expenses he needed to, was to either not take any more or put it aside to be used for the same purpose in the future.

    As I said it left you exposed hence youre dragged into this, trouble is many of us see he is hiding behind you. That’s what he does – hides behind whatever to avert the focus on him. In this case he is using you as a shield however I so understand you are willingly standing by a man you feel is your friend.

    I also understand you’ve been counselling him – just be careful as he will be using you, as with myself, BBM, Deb, Toonsy, Dave we have moved away as he reveals himself – some of us have had many lies made up by him about us and or were similarly used (like the donators).

    Good luck fella, time alone will let him reveal the real Paul to you – but I wish the likes of yourself and Clint well.


  13. @cwarr07
    Colin Ashley now directly involved with Gervinho deal pushing for an answer or will move onto other targets. Gervinho keen but advisors stalling.

    I don’t trust this man at all, just like to see the things he tweets, wonder if this is true or another made up story from him.


  14. Stu-

    Seriously? That sucks. He’d have been a good one, and I hate seeing the bindippers get good players lol…


  15. He also said Gervinho has a release clause which has been met along with personal terms but his advisors are stopping him.

    I personally think he’s just using the advisors bit to cover himself when it doesnt happen, in January he claimed about 6 different players would be singing and he got one right.


  16. Andy-

    Let’s hope he’s right about Gervinho. That would be a hell of an acquisition. He’d fit in pretty well. He, Tiote, and Ben Arfa would probably have a good understanding being as that they all speak french as a first language. Reminiscent of Jose and Jonas, hopefully.


  17. Imagine having Gervinho and Menez as first choice wingers with Ben Arfa playing behind Sturridge! Baring in mind both Menez and Gervinho can play as strikers when called upon. With subs/squad players like Nolan, Wijnaldum, Nzog, Wanyama and Besty to bring on/rotate. HA! If Roma asked to do a swap with Menez for Jonas and a couple mil, what would everyone think?

    ————Ben Arfa———–

    Change/rotate to:


    With youngsters like Vuckic, Kadar, Ferguson, Lua Lua and Ranger coming through/on loan. That team would be unbelievable, and certainly could be assembled for around 40mil.
    I know I’m dreaming and I know these fantasy teams are pointless, but it’s fun typing them out! 😀


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