Have we moved forward as a club?

Yohan Cabaye on Europe and pretty football.

Yohan Cabaye - An improvement on Nolan?
With all the doom and gloom that appears to be around regarding NUFC and missing out on transfer targets, it got me thinking about how we were looking at the start of last season.

With us making our return to Premier League football there was of course a lot of uncertainty as to whether we were good enough to stay in the top flight come what May.

A lot of us supporters were divided over certain individuals ability to perform at the top level, given performances by some of them in our previous fateful Premier League season in which we suffered relegation. There were many debates over whether our season in the Championship had done the likes of Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique and possibly Jonas Gutierrez a world of good or whether it simply made them look better because they were playing at “their level”.

Well certainly now it looks like a season in the Championship done that crop of players a good job in settling down in English football, certainly in my opinion anyway and I dare say the general consensus is in agreement with that.

Anyway now on to the discussion point that I am attempting to make…. If we put out our strongest side for the first match of the season from the squad as it stands, would it be stronger or weaker than the side that started against Manchester United at Old Trafford in August 2010?

Our team that Monday night consisted of;

Steve Harper, James Perch, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Wayner Routledge, Alan Smith, Joey Barton, Jonas Gutierrez, Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll.

Now to keep things simple for the likes of Batty and Big Dave, I’ll be using the same formation and highlighting the battles for certain positions.

Goalkeeper – Tim Krul vs Steve Harper: For me the battle would easily be won by young Dutch keeper Tim Krul. For me he has proved that he’s more than capable of playing in goal in the Premier League and although not every aspect of his game is as high as it could be, he certainly looks safer in goal than Steve Harper.

Right back – Danny Simpson vs James Perch: Err, well, it’s Simpson isn’t it?

Centre-back – Mike Williamson vs Steven Taylor: A close contest in my opinion. I don’t see much of a difference in terms of quality between the two.

Right midfield – Joey Barton v Wayne Routledge: Since moving from the centre to the right of midfield, Joey Barton has made that position his own and I can’t see that changing when we go into the new season. It’s well rumoured that Wayne Routledge will soon move on to a different club.

Centre midfield – Yohan Cabaye v Alan Smith: With one position being vacated by Joey Barton’s move to the right of midfield we can safely say that position would be taken by our enforcer Cheick Tiote. This man, as we know, is a colossus in the middle of the park and has brought absolute strength and quality to the centre of midfield.

This would leave the remaining midfield position as a battle between newcomer Yohan Cabaye and Alan Smith. As commendable as Alan Smith is, in the amount of effort and leadership he brings, he just simply does not have anywhere near the quality that Cabaye can bring to the centre of midfield and I’m sure many would agree is a complete no-brainer. Alan Smith is also another player who has been asked to find another club.

Attacking midfield – Hatem Ben Arfa vs Kevin Nolan: I was one of the supporters who always felt that lots of us were incredibly harsh on Kevin Nolan. He was Captain through tough times and scored many important goals and although he wasn’t the most graceful or mobile player, he never lacked effort or leadership and I still believe he will be a big loss.

Having said that Ben Arfa is absolutely shit hot and leadership aside, every aspect of his game completely outclasses that of departed captain Kevin Nolan. I can’t wait to see this lad in action once again and hopefully next time he scores a screamer I won’t be drunk, having a slash and miss it.

Striker – Demba Ba v Andy Carroll: Newcastle’s latest hate figure Andy Carroll made a great impact in his first proper season in the Premier league. He was another player who was questioned about whether or not he could make the step up from the Championship but it wasn’t long before Carroll was scoring regularly and giving the best centre backs in the Premier League good old fashion scrap.

But later in the season Carroll decided that his future lay elsewhere and that probably leaves our strongest striking option as Demba Ba. Ba looked a decent enough player in his time at West Ham and managed to score a few goals in a short space of time playing in the worst side in the Premier League. I think he will do a good enough job for us, but I’d much rather have Andy Carroll as our striker. He doesn’t value that No9 shirt as much as us supporters do obviously, but in terms of quality and being a goal scoring threat Andy Carroll wins this battle hands down for me.

So on the whole I personally feel we are potentially stronger team now than we were at the start of last season, although I see a massive gulf in the quality of our strikers. I still think this is the position where we really need to strengthen because Ba has not spent long in the Premier League and has worrying doubts over his fitness.

If we bring in a decent striker I feel that we’ll be in the position to finish higher than we did last season and will be capable of finishing comfortably in the top half of the Premier league. There is a long time between now and the end of the transfer window and there may be players both coming in and going out but so far so good in my opinion.

So looking back, I feel we have moved forward. Do you?

129 thoughts on “Have we moved forward as a club?

  1. Grow up? Says the one that thinks Lovenkrands is better than Sturridge. You obviously dont know much about football to think that….


  2. Pardon me for wanting good things for the Toon, even if it is unrealistic.
    Why should we have to accept mediocrity. ❓


  3. Sturridge would please me a lot!

    Sturridge, Barnetta, LB in.

    Routledge, Ranger, Lua Lua, Smith out.



  4. BB@66…What I want is a quality recognised striker that will score 20+ goals a season. But I know Ashley wont spend the money required.

    If I was Ashley I wouldn’t spend the money either… 😯 Who would you buy BB ?

    BB I asked you a question @73… πŸ˜‰


  5. Sturridge and Ba would be quality IMHO and top priority must be another quality striker.

    Old ground but if Villa arent playing ball and wigan are after Routledge surely we are holding the cards, Routledge plus Β£6m-Β£7m wave the sell on and that would probs be enough…


  6. BB I also want good things for the toon. But I disagrre with you @70.

    I asked you two questions at 73 and 80 πŸ˜‰


  7. MM – smith, ranger, perch, raylor, xisco just off the top of me head.
    I told you I wouls have gone all out for Gameiro. The supposed number 1 target.


  8. I’ve been listening to talkshite whilst catching up on the comments this morning. They’v mentioned us twice so far : Spanish team interested in signing capt. Collo and we’re interested in wayne bridge….. 😯 😯 Help


  9. I think its also the wages we need to get off the books, Smudger in particular is on big money as is Xisco. I am sure that we can use that money better if he were to loan Sturridge for example Smiths wages would be used and we have a much better player, in a position we need strengthening.

    I would actually like Xisco to have a chance but its too late. Perch, Routledge, McLovin could all go towards this, although they arent on big wages we can lump it all together for a bigger wage for 1 better player.

    As Toonsy said we have a large squad, but lacking a bit in quallity. Dont forget Gosling has come back to push Smith further down the order. I think players like S Ameobi may actually prove better prospects than Ranger, at least he has scored!!

    I have no problem with this sell to buy now. We have alot of players and before taking on more wages, get some off the books.

    I would also like this Jose saga over with. Either sign or sod off. I cant think why he is going to USA if he wants away. And we dont want to lose him on a free next summer so get shot. If we could maybe get Gibbs in from Arsenal and maybe Vela, wouldnt that be a decent compromise?


  10. CC…agree with you regarding Sturridge, but only on loan if we can get away with it.

    Regarding NZogbia…I reckon Villa will pay up now they have 20 million quids from the sale of Downing πŸ˜₯

    There again, maybe it’ll go down to the last week of the transfer window, and Whelan loses his bottle. We know how wor bloke Ashley likes to gamble…he’s done it before πŸ™„

    Routledge is gonna end up as a pawn in some deal..


  11. Its ok to disagree with me, as the crux of my point is that I dont rate sturridge, thats all.


  12. I don’t for a second believe we are after Sturridge. We are obviously looking for a right footed winger/forward a la Erdinc, who won’t mind fighting for his position and provide competition up front and on the right.

    Does Sturridge fit the above criteria? Nope.

    We won’t sign any more quality players, only good competition/squad players.
    Well, unless we lose Barton or Enrique that is.

    Still think we will end up signing Erdinc. Probably just playing a cerebral poker game.


  13. BB@87…aye we know mate. But who else is about on the “cheap” ? πŸ™„

    Do you reckon Gameiro would have came if we had thrown loads of money at him ? 10 mill was being quoted, would you consider that a gamble ?


  14. B1GSTEVE@84….the one that is scaring me most at the moment is that Carlton Cole has rejected Stoke……and Pardew is a secret admirer….and he has loads of mates at West Ham….and West Ham have maybe payed on the never never for Nolan…and….we “need” a new striker… 😯


  15. mm- I think we might have agreed a deal for Gameiro with the club, but not personal terms with him. Probabaly offered him peanuts. πŸ‘Ώ
    If you want a quality goal scorer then you have to pay top dollar.
    Makes it look like Ashley was never serious about him, just putting out the bullsh!t to passify the fans.


  16. Same goes for Gervinho, although I wasn’t overly impressed by him either.
    Arsenal are welcome to him πŸ˜†


  17. munich

    I thought as soon as downing went villa would pay up and get it done, But they are still dawdling, Lerners reluctant to continue running at a loss and bar the january panic buys, They havent really dipped into the market for a while and his player sales would make fat mick proud.

    Just from our experience with carroll, If i was in wigans position would rather a replacement in ready and a couple of million less than Β£10m in the owners arse pocket and a severely weakend team…


  18. I don’t think it really mattered about gameiro he didn’t want to sign wanted to go to spain or stay in france. Granted if we’d offered him silly money he’d probably have came but then he might have crap, he’s only about 5’7 and skinny as. might not have adjusted.


  19. BB – Yeah we bid for Gameiro and it got accepted but he just didnt want to come. It wasnt about money. He said from the start he wanted to either stay in france or go to spain.

    JJ – So does everyone else other than BB πŸ™‚


  20. Notts- your comment @38 smells like pure bs 😯
    What games did you see him play in?
    Hmm quick check of youtube req’d.
    and the answer is………… 😳 😳


  21. @MsiDouglas this morning: “Mike Ashley has told boss Alan Pardew that he must sell to fund further purchases.” #nufc #ffs
    1 hour ago


  22. Lol BB i watched Lilles last to games of tge season online and a also watched a couple of france games πŸ™‚ talking of bs “i would rather play Lovenkrands alongside him than Sturridge” on what grounds? Stuuridge scored 8 in 12 which is better than a goal every game. Lovenkrands probably scored half of sturridge in double the playing time. Are you stupid?


  23. Hitman – To be fair, Douglas also says that that statement is beyond a left back and a striker. So anyone after those two positions basically.

    Just thought I’d highlight the other side of the story πŸ™‚


  24. Notts – ‘Stuuridge scored 8 in 12 which is better than a goal every game’

    Eh ❓

    😳 😳 😳 .


  25. BB@91 you said… ….mm- I think we might have agreed a deal for Gameiro with the club, but not personal terms with him. Probabaly offered him peanuts. πŸ‘Ώ
    If you want a quality goal scorer then you have to pay top dollar.
    Makes it look like Ashley was never serious about him, just putting out the bullsh!t to passify the fans.

    Why do you think Ashley offered him peanuts ?

    You also wouldn’t have Sturridge and would prefer to play Lovenkrands instead of him. You would like a proven striker who can score 20+ goals. Who would you sign ?


  26. why does everyone bang on about sturridge ok he scored 8 in 12 in a short space of time at a club that finished in the top 10 but will cost us 20m but we got ba who scored 7 in 10 starts (and 3 sub apps) who played for the worst team in the league and cost us very little whats the big difference yes hes young but ba (26) aint really a pensioner is he. why is it people always want more and when are you going to be happy, when we have the best strikers in the world sorry it aint gonna happen


  27. CC@95..didn’t Martin O’Neil have an issue with Lerner cos he reckoned he wouldn’t put his hand in his pocket ? Maybe he’s of the same ilk as MA, though he did fork out loads of money for Bent, who probably IS a 20 million striker now (bearing in mind the absolutely inflated prices for English players)… πŸ™„


  28. the way Pardew wants to line us up seems like he’s only looking for 10-13 goals from the lone striker while the rest coming from secondary striker/ mid (HBA ) and wings


  29. Moore83@105…spot on there mate.

    That’s my stance too. If at all I would attempt to bring in Sturridge on loan, and wait and see if and when a striker comes available to buy.

    In the mean time get Sammy Amoebi and young Fergie on a Greggy Pasty and guinness diet, get Ranger slapped around the head and get himself sorted, and in 2 years we have three good bairns from our own academy knocking on the first team door.

    In the mean time spread the goals throughout the team…plus we have Leon Best who to be honest isn’t a complete waste of space !


  30. MM – “Why do you think Ashley offered him peanuts ?” Because he wasn’t serious with his offer perhaps?
    “Who would you sign ?” Good question, I dont know the answer, I’m not a scout nor do I pretend to be.
    Like I say tho if Ashley was serious about Gameiro then he would have paid the going rate. It is only big bucks that will attract these strikers, especially as we have no euro/cl footy to offer.
    It seems like ashley’s cheap skate policy is rubbing off on many.
    He will go for the cheapest option available, regardless of the talent/skill.


  31. BTW think Fergie is the real deal… could be Robert meets Beardsley if he grows to his potential


  32. MM – “plus we have Leon Best who to be honest isn’t a complete waste of space !”

    I agree, so why has he been put up for sale?


  33. OK i used Loverhands tongue in cheek, hence the shock smiley thing, but I could have used Leon Best, who I do rate above sturridge, but Pardwho clearly doesn’t.


  34. BB@91…&109. Then you would have been happy if we had signed Gameiro ?…

    Why do you reckon Ashley is being cheap skate ?
    Until the window closes I’ll give Ashley the benefit of the doubt that he’s playing a cute hand to try and get the best deals at the best price.
    We’ll just have to wait and see what happens… πŸ™„

    Hopefully JB and Jose are still around, then we have a canny squad to start the new season imo..


  35. BB@112…that ones got me baffled too mate… πŸ™„

    Maybe it’s part of Cashley’s smoke and mirrors trick, and he wants to use Best in some sort of player swap deal… but cannot work it out either mate..

    BTW…for the fans out there…just a bit off topic, would you rather have Pardew or McLeish (Villa) as manager ?

    Another question off topic……who would you prefer to be playing with the purse strings of your hard earned wedge….Pardew, Plakka Mag Bruce, or MacLeish ?


  36. MM agree on j.b. but on jose i say get him out of the club quick sharp hes had offers to stay but is takeing the water with the club and fans said before i only want players who want to play for the toon,this can also affect other players at the club


  37. Bang on Icedog,

    Also MM so many questions ha ha . πŸ˜•
    But yes I would have been over the moon with Gameiro at the Toon, even tho it would have cost a packet. Not as much as we made on AC tho.

    Dont like any other managers, Pardwho is wor man at the moment, so gets my support. (for now at least, but the jury’s still out. 😯 )


  38. BB…not too many questions mate…just trying to pin you down … πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ no offence made mate… πŸ˜€

    I personally would rather have Pardew than either of those two radgies at Villa and 5under1land…


  39. Icedog….I watched the highlights of the Darlo game, and the fans were ALLA up for JB. I hope he is still around at the start of the season, then he has a great year, the fans all back him, and he signs a new contract extension at the end of this season. Could happen you reckon ?

    Jose is extracting the urine imo…but thats his perogative to get the best deal possible. Can see the fans turning on him πŸ˜•


  40. Munich Mag
    July 17, 2011 at 12:25

    “BTW…for the fans out there…just a bit off topic, would you rather have Pardew or McLeish (Villa) as manager ?”

    “Another question off topic……who would you prefer to be playing with the purse strings of your hard earned wedge….Pardew, Plakka Mag Bruce, or MacLeish ?”

    1 – Pardew. McCleish spent a fortune at Birmingham, and where did they end up?

    2 – Pardew. For McCleaih read my answer to 1. For the answer to Bruce, look at what he has brought. The only player I’d take from them lot is Gyan. The rest, meh

    Pointless though as you’re assuming Pardew has the purse strings. Wrong, in my opinion πŸ˜‰


  41. Toonsy@122…you’re dead right there regarding Pardew, you got me there…

    Pardew has the purse, but Cashley the purse strings… πŸ˜‰


  42. MM – Aye. To be fair it’s no different to what goes on at any club bar maybe Fergie and Wenger. The rest who think otherwise are just a bit naive πŸ˜‰


  43. Pardue doesn’t even hold the purse, he just does as he is told.
    Fact, he never knew anything about Marveaux until the deal was done.
    You could see the shock in his eyes when he was shaking his hand.
    Embarrassing 😳 😳


  44. @ Beardsleys boots. He really is at this point. Barely has any say over transfers, works out with the players and throws up formations/line ups. Mouth piece for ownership who constantly kicks him under the bus. basic tactics after 1 sub are def above his pay grade as well (not saying Hughton was much better but at least had Judas for a target)


  45. SoCalToon
    July 17, 2011 at 13:13

    “basic tactics after 1 sub are def above his pay grade as well”

    I think they’d be above the pay grade of most managers when all he has to work with are kids plus the like of Kuqi, Raylor, Perch etc etc.


  46. Pardew is a yes man and the club is being run like many European clubs. Pardew has the role of 1st team coach, letting the head scout know which areas in the team need strengthening, who then finds the talent, the owner gets the deal and the 1st team coach gets that player, whom ever it may be, to fill that spot, for the 1st team coach (Pardew) to coach into the roll as required. In other words, the club is acting as if it has a director of football, who in our case appears to be Ashley and his puppet Llambias.


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