Demba Ba made a swift return to the club that he left yesterday when Chelsea visited St James’ Park, and I think it’s fair to say the reaction he got from a section of fans was way over the top.
Ba was barracked by sections of the crowd for all the time he was on the pitch, and was subjected to ironic cheers when he was withdrawn with padding under his nose after a coming together with Fabricio Coloccini which ultimately resulted in Ba being diagnosed with a broken nose. Mind you, Rafa Benitez is having a laugh claiming it was a red card offence by Colo. It was just one of those things that happen unfortunately…
Obviously I understand that not all fans were party to this tribal behaviour and some will have, quite rightly, applauded him after his efforts for us during his stint at Newcastle. My question is though, what has Ba done to deserve such treatment from fans who used to worship him and begged him to stay?
The facts are that he was always going to leave at some point and I get the feeling that we were just a stepping stone for him. The thing is, it worked for us as we had a striker who scored prolifically for us which gave us the springboard to reach Europe. Put simply it worked for him as much as it worked for us. It was a gamble that paid off for both sides.
Now Ba always remained non-committal when it came to commenting about his future, which tells a story in itself. The presence of that release clause should give you another clue as to what his intentions were from the start. But in fairness there was no badge kissing from Ba, no “boyhood dream” stuff that we heard from another semi-recently departed striker. Basically he didn’t feed us words we wanted to hear and had his own agenda.
People will say that he moved for the money and that’s probably a part of it, but he’s also moved to a club that, despite the fact we beat them yesterday, are always up near the top of the league challenging for honours and are generally good for a cup final appearance at least. Basically he’s got himself a pay rise and will be in with a shout of winning silverware. Can anyone tell me what is wrong with that? Can anyone else say that they wouldn’t do the same if you were playing for a club that you had no real connection with?
I didn’t want to drag the whole Demba Ba thing back up again as it’s history for me, but the stick he got yesterday seems unjust for a player who produced the goods for us time and time again. Yes people can say he was a disruptive influence and caused friction by wanting to be played as a striker, but that’s his position and being truthful it’s a good job he did as we’d have been even shorter on goals if he didn’t.
I just don’t get why he got such a hard time? Andy Carroll did far worse after waffling on about his dreams and moving on shortly after signing a new, long-term contract, yet a lot of fans who dished out stick to Ba would welcome Carroll back with open arms. Baffling.
At the end of the day it’s been and gone now and hopefully people have got that bit of frustration out of their system. Just remember though, Ba was as good for us as we were for him. The marriage between NUFC and Ba wasn’t one of love even though I don’t doubt that he enjoyed his time here, instead it was a one of convenience which both sides ultimately benefited from in one way or another.
It’s just business…