Fringe Player Focus – James Perch

James Perch - Quality in reserve?

The Mansfield Zanetti
So far in this series we’ve looked at Danny Guthrie, Haris Vuckic, Shola Ameobi, Shane Ferguson and Tamas Kadar.

It’s been a while since I wrote one of these articles, so today we discuss and vote on ex-Nottingham Forest star and current NUFC utility man James Perch. He was signed by Chris Hughton, probably tipped off by our Assistant Manager at the time Colin Calderwood, who used to manage Forest.

I expect opinion to be divided on this lad due to a rocky beginning to his Newcastle career, particularly whilst paying at right back where needless fouls and poor timing led to a ban for getting booked in the first consecutive Premier League games of the 2010-2011 season – a Premier League record by the way!

This, on top of unconvincing performances, meant that many fans were calling for him to be dropped to the Reserves and sold on at the first opportunity. His team-mates even christened him ‘Chopper’ for goodness sake! Upon his return from suspension he gifted Stoke a win at St James’ Park courtesy of an own goal and then he handed West Brom a goal in a 2-2 draw. That error ensured he was dropped and we saw little of him again until this season.

This season he has made 11 appearances, including five starts. Our defence prior to the Steven Taylor injury was heralded as amongst the most stubborn in the Country and since Mike Williamson came back it seems to be resuming that status. However, for a three game period, ‘Chopper’ had to cover in the middle. He also has two starts to his name in the League Cup. Is it a coincidence that the Magpies shipped in 14 goals in the five games Perch stared?

At 5’11” and 11st, 3lbs he is not exactly tiny although it is pretty clear that most top central defenders are usually over 6′ tall and a bit heavier.

Some said he actually played well whilst he covered for those few games. I would disagree. Fabricio Coloccini was all over the place trying to cover for Perch as he repeatedly failed to read plays in front of him, head the ball or communicate effectively with his team-mates.

Now it can be argued that he was out of position for some of those games so he can be forgiven. Fair enough, the lad did a job for us when called upon and did not complain. However, it did show us that Perch is not made for that position and should probably not be considered an option there again.

Chopper was always billed as a defender that can play in midfield if required. At Championship level, he may well be convincing at right back or centre half, but to be honest I’d rather we looked at other options should Danny Simpson get injured. He has demonstrated to us time and again that he does not have the timing, discipline, confidence or intelligence to be a success in defence in the Premier League.

For a neutral article, I am all too aware this is sounding a little negative. It is an honest assessment of his time with us so far though and if there were more positives about his defensive displays with us, I’d happily list them. Pro’s about his game would be that he has a bit of pace, he’s a hard worker and good professional, his passing is not bad and he can make a decent recovery tackle. Negatives would be that he fails to read the game convincingly at this level, meaning he makes rash tackles. He can be guilty of ball watching, he is not great in the air and his first touch is dodgy at times.

Moving onto this seasons positives and I will invite you to consider how Alan Pardew has used the lad from the bench this season. He has been taken off the bench and put into a withdrawn defensive midfielder position for the last 10 minutes of no less than five games so far this season. From this position, Perch has done a good job in fairness. He has demonstrated that whilst in the thick of it, he will put his body on the line and rough the opposition up. His passing is usually pretty tidy from there and he gives the defence behind him time to manoeuvre.

Finally, I believe we have found a position that he can be consistently effective from. The trouble is, how often is he actually going to be required for this role and does it justify his place in the squad and drain on our resources? Cheick Tiote is our leading defensive midfielder, whilst Yohan Cabaye will do a more than adequate job there. Danny Guthrie has already shown that he is a capable deputy for the times that Tiote is injured or suspended, but questions about whether he will get a new contract by the summer remain.

Dan Gosling is a fairly new signing who will play through the middle, whilst we know that Pardew rates young Mehdi Abeid highly in the same position. We seem pretty well covered for the immediate and long term with regards to central/defensive midfield, so is there really space for James Perch to justify his place in our squad? Is there some other position we could utilise him in or is it simply time to consider moving him on this summer? At 26-years-old he is not likely to change his game radically, so what we see now is more or less what we should expect in the future.

What do you readers think about the lad? Let us know how you view his ability and contribution to Newcastle United’s cause and have a vote on whether you believe he is worth hanging on to until his contract expires in 2014.

Is James Perch a decent enough squad option that should be retained at NUFC?

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49 thoughts on “Fringe Player Focus – James Perch

  1. He’s not gonna start hopefully. Useful off the bench. Sell in the summer. Open to offers now. More important to extend Guthries contract.


  2. First of all, Perch isn’t the most naturally gifted players and is not what anyone could class as top top quality.
    What you get from the lad , is a confidence to accept any role afforded to him, without question.
    He isn’t shy of mixing it and always gives 100% although I do agree he sometimes gets over enthusiastic .

    What I have seen of Perch though, since he first signed, is a kid that has matured and has got better in a more solid way who isn’t bullied in th game.

    I happen to think he has done a decent job in 90% of games he’s been asked to perform in and I have no qualms whatsoever about him being a cover player when we need him.

    Perch is one of those unsung players that all teams need in the trenches, who normally takes the flack but gets on with the job and actually helps us see out games that otherwise we might have collapsed in when we are holding on.

    It all depends on how fans view him in terms of magnifying mistakes he makes that get punished, against mistakes our better players make that get punished but are swept under the carpet quickly, due to the player being of better quality .

    Fans can be over critical and over expectant, even when we as a team played well below average, so someone has to take the flack and Perch was a perfect whipping boy.

    I don’t know whether we will keep him or sell him on but , should he stay, I’m quite happy to have a confident player like him as back up to cover many positions.
    He’s worth more to the team than people think , in my opinion, just in terms of his willingness to be at the ready when the call comes, without fuss and all good teams need those players because you cannot keep a full squad of technically gifted footballers happy…you need your warhorses. πŸ˜€


  3. ………”He has demonstrated to us time and again that he does not have the timing, discipline, confidence or intelligence to be a success in defence in the Premier League. For a neutral article….”

    :mrgreen: πŸ˜† πŸ˜€

    …well, at least you tried mate! πŸ˜†


  4. Rod!!!

    I was laid off in May 2010 and didn’t get back to work till the November. It’s horrible, Keep plugging away though mate, if you’re anything like me you’ll have good weeks and bad weeks.

    Out of interest (don’t answer if you don’t want to) what type of work you looking for. If you don’t want to say anything on here i’d be happy for you to give you an old email address of mine to get in contact with me as I know a few companies that are taking on at the moment but I won’t share them to the general public.


  5. On Perch – i think he’s good to have on the bench… i.e when we’re winning and it’s the 75th minute we can take a forward off for him to add to our defense.

    He should never be a starter though (Sorry Perchy!)


  6. I actually think when he comes on and plays defensive mid he does well and the exact job we need.
    Still dont really rate him as good enough but for that role he could be far worse 😎


  7. Nobs, cheers for the words mate, yeah it is up and down. Not the best time of the year really, December-January, but I’m hoping things pick up again soon. I’m a Graphic Designer with 13 years industry experience, but I don’t live in Newcastle so I doubt your contacts would be of any help. Thanks anyway though mate.


  8. Is Guthrie made of glass or something?

    On Perch, actually not too shabby in defensive midfield. Not one for the long term though hopefully πŸ˜•


  9. @11 hahaha, everyone thinks it’s easy, it’s not for me! I suppose it depends how hard you think, and how high you set your standards, and mine are high as fook 😎 ….I could do it from home though, and am looking into the freelance route. Anyway, I’m off for now, got to do a bit of rooting, laters………


  10. Toonsy – I voted ‘yes’ πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    Just becuase i think he’s an ok SQUAD player though… he’s never a starter.


  11. Wolfie—I suspect you are the agent of Perch or have some personal connection. He is a third rate player like so many of Chris Hughtons signings, Routledge, Simpson and Best to name a few


  12. Simpson and Best 3rd rate? If that was the case then Simpson wouldn’t be able to defend in this league (but he does) and Best wouldn’t score any goals (which he does).


  13. Rodz, when I sat down to do this article I thought: ”Keep it fair on the lad Sham, give him a chance and see what everybody else thinks.” Problem was – not a lot nice to say about him during his time here!

    He can do a decent job as defensive midfielder I reckon, but as part of a 5 man midfield. That means he should only be used to close games out occasionally and only when we have injuries, suspensions etc – so for me he does not quite justify a place in our squad.

    Toonsy – Re: the one sided pole – I could always do Alan Smith next?! πŸ˜†
    Next up for this series peeps, will be Dan Gosling.


  14. I think “ex Forest Star” is a bit strong, one of my mates supports Forest and he found it hilarious we’d bought Perch, especially for right back where he assured me he was shit…Chris Gunter would have been a great buy though…unfortunately.

    Anyway, Perchy for closing a game down in a defensive mid is alright, he can hack away for a good 15 mins and take a yellow that would otherwise go to Cabaye πŸ˜€ In all seriousness he’s not too bad in the middle of the park, still don’t fancy him for right or centre back, at all really.


  15. Newkie – I did think that as I wrote it actually, but then every Nottingham Forest fan knew his name and every young aspiring footballer would kill to trade places with him, which makes him a star or sorts, so I kept it in. Kind of like someone from Big Brother can be described as a ‘celebrity’. Does not make it right, I know, but that’s Britain for you. πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚


  16. Pardew talking about the CL clubs can come and take our players. Why can they? None of the players have been mkaing noises about wanting to move and we can always just reject any offer can’t we?


  17. Shamrock-Fair enough buddy πŸ˜€ I did remind my mate whenever he tries to rub it in that at least Perchy is playing in the Premier League whereas Forest might be in league one soon enough :mrgreen:


  18. Stu, I think you’ll find what he actually said was, “We are still vulnerable to the Champions’ League clubs…” “I see us keeping the same squad together but there is no guarantee.”

    Is that not furry muff?


  19. Haha, it’s strange with Forest. They are a ‘big’ club, but just seem to always stepping backwards these days. They must have been one of the favourites for Promotion this season? Personally, I’d like to see them, Leeds and Leicester back in the Prem where they belong. So we can whoop them :mrgreen:

    But WestHam can stay where they are. They just think they are a big club. Cant stand them.


  20. @Nobby

    gis a job, i can do that πŸ˜€

    @Rod I used to be a graphic designer for yrs at a huge NE company πŸ˜†

    loved playing with photoshop, Fireworks etc but then they asked me to be a VB Scripter, writing web pages…my tiny brain melted after 3 yrs πŸ˜€ so I left and I now pick up boxes for a living with my own removal company 😯 lifes like a box of chocolates an al that

    good luck anyway dude


  21. Yeah its hilarious, I knew McClaren going there was only going to end badly. Billy Davies did pretty well I thought, but Forest are just psychologically damaged now when it comes to play offs or making the push for them πŸ˜†

    Would definitely like to see them and Leeds back in the prem, so we could trash them and they do offer a bit more class than certain teams *cough* Norwich *cough.* Leicester can stay where they are as far as I care, only good thing is they have a more embarrassing stadium name than ourselves.


  22. @Shamrock

    I love Forest. Great old stadium. I remember going there on a mid-week evening game to see us surrender our lead to ManU πŸ™ Ian woan scored a corker I think. (12points lead season)

    Some black dude, tried to jack my mates car at a red-light b4 the game, tried to get in so we jumped the lights and sped off 😯 ..scarey shit it was.


  23. Toon Chicken, I was referring to this quote actually.

    Slightly worrying.

    β€œThe top Champions League clubs could still come in and take one of our players.

    β€œWe have to be on guard. Having said that as long as we react as we have been doing and replace with as β€˜as good as’ if not better, then we will be all right. It’s when you replace with β€˜not so good’ you have a problem.”


  24. Mark@34, Im amazed at the demise of Forest, they had everything at one time with Clougie but maybe they were living a lie by paying out wages and fees to sustain success they couldnt afford and have suffered ever since.
    They are, like Leeds, a warning to clubs that over extend and i can see something similar happening to Man United who recklessly continue to try and compete financially with City and Chelsea who both have bottomless pits of cash.


  25. Robert – I think Man Utd will be fine. May have to curb spending a little, but they have a well established global brand now with a massive fanbase thanks to years upon years of continued success.


  26. just got back from work from an early knowck and wor lass hasn’t done the dishes…. big beats coming πŸ˜†

    (I jest… please don’t hurt me sweetheart)


  27. Yeah united will be fine….Unless they continue to buy shit players :mrgreen: Would love for it to happen to Cesspool but they seem happy to blow their money anyway, bring back hicks and gilletes loans!


  28. Liverpool can’t afford to just blow money. They might appear that they can , due to the last window but in reality they have to offload if they want to buy and were lucky that Chelsea were mad enough to spunk 50 million on Torres.

    Gillette tried all that with them and then he realised he was out of his depth and this owner will do the same in a few years or less if he doesn;t get them up to speed.


  29. Shamrock, Forest and Leeds fans always thought they would be fine too, last financial news i saw re ManU was that the interest payments on the loans the owners took out to buy the club with accounted for their profits for a season and that the rates were due to increase, they are currently looking for new investment in the far east.
    The only 2 clubs who can safely say they are secure are Chelsea and City, the rest of us, including Man U, will pay a catastrophic price if they attempt to keep pace with their spending.
    No one is immune, look at the Kodak announcement today, another iconic brand going tits up, Man U could be in for a rude awakening if they dont get their finances in order.


  30. Forest & Leeds were never at the level Man Utd are now though. Both successwise & financially. The game has moved on big time with regards to maximising profit and merchandising and Man Utd made sure they were on that boat from the very beginning. They have roots all over the world now, ensuring long term stability. Forest and more recently Leeds neverhad that.

    Man Utd are a completely different animal to those teams.


  31. I don’t dislike or hate Perch, I just don’t think he’s good enough. When he came on for Best against QPR I wasn’t left thinking, great that will stop them getting through.
    I’m all for players who can cover different positions but there has to be a quality about them to keep them there. Raylor for example at LB, he did well enough but you also thought, if theres a freekick on the edge of the box he’ll score.
    We have a squad with too many average players and squad players take up squad numbers. If we are to progress as a club, it’s time to be ruthless and there’s 8-9 players there we should be looking to offload IMO


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