I always get the feeling with Cheik Tiote that he is just mere seconds away from disaster, and the Tyne-Wear derby with Sunderland yesterday only highlighted that fact.
His sending off will be debated amongst fans for some time yet. Some say it wasn’t that bad and was a yellow at best, some will cite other incidents within the match (namely Seb Larsson’s clavicle kick on Shola Ameobi) that went unpunished whilst others will suggest that the referee pandered to the him crowd and failed to apply any common sense. There is also a portion of fans who believe the right decision was made at the time and that Tiote has nobody but himself to blame.
For me it was probably a harsh card but I can see why he was given it. I understand fully that the whistle had blown for a free-kick to us just prior to the incident and that Tiote was being pulled back after that, but then it just becomes an off the ball incident or, as has been indicated by the FA, violent conduct which carries with it a three game suspension.
None of what happened yesterday matters now It’s been and gone and it seems as though Alan Pardew and his coaching team, none of whom have questioned the red card, seem unlikely to appeal Tiote’s dismissal. Perhaps that is the biggest clue as to whether or not the red card was a worth punishment for the infringement?
However it can’t continue to happen. Cheik Tiote is getting himself a reputation and will be treat accordingly by officials. He will be targeted by opposing teams so if he wants to continue being an important part of our team then he needs to wise up and realise that he can’t go charging round like a bull in a china shop.
The problem is that aggression is part of Cheik Tiote’s game and if you take that out then you may well lose a bit of what Cheik Tiote is all about. All the same it is something that needs curbing as it is going to end up costing us more and more. People will mention Roy Keane, who Manchester United tried to calm down but soon gave up when they realised that by trying to calm him they took away a part of the player, and there are similarities, but for me they end there. Remember Roy Keane had world-class players able to fill the void his madness left behind. We don’t.
It’s not just about red cards though. Tiote has racked up the suspension since he has been at Newcastle United. He averages a yellow card every other game which equates to 19 in the Premier League alone and would be enough to see him miss six games through yellow card suspensions without any further through red card infringements.
Is that acceptable? Is that enough discounting any injuries or participation in mid-season competitions such as the African Cup of Nations,for us to paper over with our squad? Probably now we have Gael Bigirimana, James Perch and Vurnon Anita, but we need all of our purples on the pitch at one time if we want to push on, and Tiote is that category.
He just needs to chill a bit I reckon. Anyone agree?