Strength in depth, at last!

Adding required depth to the squad

Adding required depth to the squad
Adding required depth to the squad
There has been a notable upturn in fortunes since our new arrivals joined the ranks in January.

Of course it’s early days so far, but performances have improved and results have followed along with renewed hope amongst the fan base.

One thing that is spurring on this upturn is undoubtedly competition for places which is one thing the new guys have given in pretty much every department. From defence to attack the whole squad has been strengthened, and with players returning from international duty and injury that competition for places can only get better.

Cheik Tiote will return from the African Cup of Nations having seen his international side eliminated by Nigeria which gives Alan Pardew a problem he probably hasn’t faced during his time at United. Granted the inclusion of Tiote is probably less of a headache for the Tottenham match as I dare say he will be rested and have to make do with a spot on the bench, but beyond that there is a selection dilemma.

It would be unfair to drop James Perch. Like him or loathe him he’s performed well in our back-to-back victories so why should he pay the price? If it’s not broken don’t fix it. It’s similar to the situation Vurnon Anita found himself in when replaced by Perch. The Dutchman didn’t do a lot wrong and probably lost his place unfairly but that’s just the way it goes I guess. Rightly or wrongly.

A fully fit and performing Cheik Tiote will take James Perch’s spot in the side of that there is little doubt, but this isn’t a “who should play” kind of article and this is where I’ll stop that kind of thinking. The point is, we have a hell of a lot of options when it comes to getting into the side now.

It’s not just in midfield either. Look at our defence. Mike Williamson has gone from enforced first choice to fourth choice within the blink of an eye. We have depth at centre-back for the first time in a long time and all it took was the addition of one player and the return to fitness of another.

At full-back we also have plenty of options and can cover most eventualities through either the numbers or versatility of options, and up front the addition of Yoan Gouffran has given us more options. When you add Hatem Ben Arfa in there it boosts us further although I still think we need another striker.

It’s a glorious problem to have. Right throughout the team we have competition for places which is a good thing. It spurs players on to keep their place and they don’t become comfortable. They know if they hit a bad patch they are out of the side and the new player coming in knows he has to play at the top of his game to keep the shirt.

What a problem to have!

215 thoughts on “Strength in depth, at last!

  1. Ice them seem to like his fighting spirit over there like ❓
    I think that fighting spirit is a top class quality but he can go over the top with it at times


  2. Dave-At least your honest πŸ˜†

    As for Good, why would he want to be in our first team when he’s got more chance of winning silverware where he is! πŸ˜‰


  3. My goodness grief. It’s actually snowing outside !

    Toonsy please please close the window. 😯

    Dave, don’t get lulled in mate. He’s crackers! Believe me. πŸ˜‰


  4. Big Dave – I only put you on the spot about the investors AFTER you hounded me to name names of top managers because YOU thought THAT was a FAIR QUESTION, you cracker! πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    Now you say it’s not fair anyway because there are MORE managers than potential investors! πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† Woo hooo! I hate those woo hooos as well, they’re so f*** puerile. πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    Just because I CHOSE not to name one DOES NOT MEAN I couldn’t name one. I gave my perfectly valid reasons for not wishing to get involved in naming any and I won’t be naming any for those reasons. If you want to ridicule me, you should start by criticising those reasons.

    The fact is I don’t NEED to name a single name in order to take the view that I cannot believe, AS YOU SAY – THIS GREAT CLUB OF OURS COULD NOT ATTRACT A BETTER MANAGER IN THE WHOLE WORLD THAN PARDEW WHILST ASHLEY IS HERE. That view is laughable IMO, and it doesn’t need any help from me to demonstrate that. πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    Do you still stand by it, sidekick? What was your reason? Oh yes, that Ashley treats managers, players and fans like dirt. To use your favourite phrase, THAT PROVES TO ME, you’re a cracker. πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    Just because I haven’t answered your question the way you would like me to does not mean that I have not answered your question. As it happens, I would give you a name if you really pushed me. I would stipulate only one reasonable condition: that first, you name one top manager who would come to the club if Ashley wasn’t here and we had one of your top investors in charge (it can be any one of your investors). If you name me one top manager, better than Pards, who would come to NUFC under a different ownership, I will name you a top manager who would come under Ashley. How’s that fella? 😯


  5. Dave, he will misrepresent you so much, fail to answer questions, answer questions with questions, twist, turn, squirm and every other word you can think of which describes a someone who never admits they are wrong.

    The longer you debate the more frustrated you will get.

    I will throw down the challenge to anyone on this blog, that if you debate with him, you will get a 25 page tantrum letter from him telling you he will not speak to you again.

    That’s the measure of a man. And he’s done that to his flesh and blood which is inexcusable.



  6. B+B short and simple straight to the point β€œhe is too tight to spend on a top quality manager.”

    Who on the reality train said that ❓ ❓ ❓
    Or are you going to admit that you made that up ❓ or maybe it was just a throw away comment


  7. Dave @ 150 – Your memory aint that good. When I was asking you the other day to tell me why a top manager wouldn’t come under Ashley, Strumpet jumped in

    SolanosTrumpet says:
    January 25, 2013 at 13:49
    Can’t believe you brought up the manager issue when you refuse to grasp a key point.
    It’s not just β€œare there better managers out there” course there are, but would Ashley pay for them?”

    To be fair, I don’t know whether he’s on your train or not, but he seemed to have a ticket in his hand that day.

    I must stop refusing to grasp key points! Strumpo, he’s like Santii, you got to love him. Wooo hoooo! πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†


  8. Our team is really set up for counter-attacking football.
    ——-Ben Arfa———–Sissoko——-Gouffran—–

    Krul gathers, throws it out to one of the full backs who bursts down the wings, passes it to a CM who lays it off for one of the three charging forward with pace, they pass it to CissΓ© who blasts it into the goal. :mrgreen: We can also bring on Obertan and Marv for anyone who tires, no slouches as you know and even Anita for one of CM who is quick and creative and plays the give and go very well from his time at Ajax who did it all the time. Sissoko can also drop into the CM role.


  9. B+B if you think ST is a passenger on the reality train you really are deluded,
    But you already knew he wasn’t so basically that just proves that you made that up to try to score a cheap point.
    Only you have been caught out this time 😳 😳 😳 I feel for you fella I really do πŸ˜† πŸ˜†


  10. The reality train is puffing so much steam and hot air, you would think it was cold – I suppose it makes a change from blowing smoke up each others arses! The whistle even made a rude noise! πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    Look “choo choo” boys, if you’re not happy to have Strumps on the train, I don’t blame you. Little things like this are easily rectified. He was on the platform, I thought he was boarding. I’m more than happy as always to be corrected. πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    I know your desperate to deflect from the questions, which are still left unanswered, but I don’t think even you would stoop so low as to seek to make political capital out of that one. πŸ˜† πŸ˜†


  11. DAVE just don’t chew yourself up mate,move on and don’t comment there is plenty to debate or have a laugh,no point peeing into the wind


  12. Dave @145. Barton had a year left on his deal but was in talks for a new deal, the club broke off talks (to enormous criticism on this site) and transfer listed him.

    I didn’t say keeping carroll would have put us into adminsitration, only that the squad wouldn’t have been able to be remade without selling him.

    If you sell someone, you lack ambition. If the owner doesn’t go into his own pocket every window (which is essentially forbidden by FFP anyway) he lacks ambition. I guess I’ve always failed to see the “reality” in that philosophy. We funtioned that way for a long time and probably would have ended up in administration if that policy wasn’t altered


  13. two grown men arguing about a thing called the “Reality train” LOL.

    Anywho, anyone on here ever used Sony Vegas Pro 11?


  14. Big DAve @ 162. I’ve never laughed so much for ages!

    “B+B if you think ST is a passenger on the reality train you really are deluded,” Do you mean the imaginary train? Wooo hooo! I’m deluded about the identity of the passengers on a train called the reality train that is an abstract concept of your making? Wooo hoooo! πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

    That is what Strumpo said and I haven’t forgotten. I really don’t care whether he’s on your train or not. It doesn’t matter. Besides, do you think for one moment I thought you would not pull me if it turned out Strumpo hadn’t paid for his ticket?

    There are no hard and defined trains, Dave. These trains of yours are just imaginary, yeah? I fear I’ve just stepped into “buffergate”. It could run and run this one. Toot Toot!

    You’re so indignant! That’s the funny bit. Fantastic. πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†
    So, on a serious note, I must apologise for putting Strumpo on your train. 😳 Taxi for Strumps. πŸ˜†


  15. @Santil

    ;-). To be fair its funny. πŸ˜›

    But I put the challenge to you to have a debate with The Cold Breeze and not pull your hair out.

    He’s definitely mental.


  16. My concern is we are too stacked in midfield and too light upfront. We have (off the top of my head):

    Ben Arfa, Abeid, Sissoko, Cabaya, Tiote, Perch, Jonas, Obertan, Ryan Taylor, Bigi, Gosling, Jonas, Sammy Ameobi, Ferguson and Anita – all of whom you could argue as being first team squad players from number of appearances – all trying to fill 4/5 places. That isn’t even including some of the younger ones like Conor Newton who is on loan and Haris Vuckic who is always hurt.

    We can’t keep them all playing regularly. Some will have to go and hopefully that will go to helping Campbell, Cisse, Ameobi and Gouffran upfront.

    That or the radical idea of making Obertan a permanent striker which still screams the obvious move to me but no one at the club seems to see it.


  17. “The cold breeze” lol

    Its the internet. If you are pulling your hair out this isn’t the place for you πŸ˜€


  18. Got to say. I really can’t bear being on the same blog as The Cold Draught.

    If he had any gonads and stuck by his 25 page letter of ignoring me he would have not been coming on here.

    Au revoir. 😈

    “Only silence is great; all else is weakness” πŸ˜‰


  19. B+B keep taking the medication it might help.

    Ice I know mate I was just doing my bit for the care in the community πŸ˜† and filling in a bit of time till I had to go and pick the wife up from work πŸ˜‰


  20. Dave – Take Ice’s advice @164. Chill man. You don’t need difficult questions to bother about at your stage in life. Actually, this blog can be good for health. They reckon laughter is the best medicine. When your belly aches, you know it’s doing you good! πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†


  21. You mean spurs batty? πŸ˜€

    I think Defoe got injured in their last game and Adebayor is still on acon duty. So i don’t think they have a striker at the minute unless they have some decent kids.


  22. It’s about time we had some depth. Now it’s getting hard to agree on the best team. That’s always a good sign.

    And wow! The reality train smashed to pieces and the passengers bloody and broken all over the place! Shame on you B&B. Just when Le Toon is looking at good times.


  23. PREMANDUP from a previous thread
    I thanks all the real fans for the nice messages i receive. And to all the haters….may god bless you!!! ;- good night.”
    Gentleman. I thanks all the real fans for the nice messages = chelsea surporters And to all the haters = TOON army lol


  24. <<<<<<<<< has good news fellas was out shoping today and stocked up on hankies just in case any1 was still haveing a cry over mr ba nose lmao


  25. @Blackley & Brownlie

    will you please stop bullying BD and Troy, its embarrassing watching them get dusted evertime i tune in πŸ˜‰


  26. Big Dave, watch out for those back stabbers mate, it’s lucky that Ice and I were watching your back πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


  27. Mark – You got to love big Dave! πŸ˜† I’m trying to tell from his avatar whether he’s a lieutenant or a coporal sidekick.:lol:


  28. Please don’t associate me with that train. I’ve been behind the board at the end of every transfer window except the summer just past for a good couple of years now.
    Even in the summer I’ll hold my hands up and say I would’ve been happy with just one more central defender in.
    What unites all the dreamers and neggers at the minute has to be appreciation of the board. Who has had the biggest impact? Sissoko. You’d be hard pushed to find a single soul on here that wanted us to buy a centre mid.
    B&B are you still going on about the manager? You’re reason for wanting Pardew gone was that you claimed history shows managers only have two and a bit years. Well history shows that we have gone for managers that have zero stock – in Kinnear, Hughton, Pardew.
    Why don’t you grow a pair and admit you jumped the gun on wanting Pardew sacked.
    And BD & Troy could man up and say, despite the horrendous gambled they played this year, the board are doing a good job.
    Maybe Troy could go one step further and finally admit there is no restrictive wage cap πŸ˜‰
    Surely the return of Wolfie is imminent.. The Lord Dreamer is needed to lead the optimists.


  29. Referring back to my comment at 52.

    Aussie Magpie Fan
    February 4, 2013 at 12:16

    A lot of people need to put their hand up and admit they were wrong and that Mike and Dekka are the ducks nuts when it comes to great owners/management. Our current line up now shows that their brilliant vision for the club has been realized.

    Now only one person really took it for what it was and that was Newkie and he simply referred to it with a πŸ˜†
    I wrote it from an extreme standpoint to get a reaction as to where my fellow bloggers stand on the regime. It was nice to see there has been some recognition for the regime and it certainly showed there is still some bad blood.
    My real view πŸ˜‰ The summer window apart, I have been more than happy with the players we have been bringing in. We are still standing our ground against greedy agents but we have offset this with some astute buys.. It is nice to see how the team is forming and the future is looking bright. Only a fire sale in the summer can really set us back now 😯 😎


  30. Adebayor, bloody hell, that is going to be some stretch from Collo to kick him in the face… I reckon he could do it tho πŸ˜†


  31. Well, my vote for the most sensible comment of the day goes to Funky Jesus @169

    What I find quite extraordinary is that Toonsy can go to all the trouble of writing a very sensible article about the number of players we’ve got in our squad, and yet NOT ONE PERSON seems to think it might be relevant to mention the 25 man squad rule (or even the home grown player rule, given the number of foreign players we keep on bringing in!).

    I know I’m probably wasting my time posting this on here, but if I were the Toon manager I think my 25 man squad next season would look something like this (assuming Colo, Harper and Simpson all leave).

    note: h = homegrown player

    3 GK… Krul (h), Elliot (h), New GK
    2 RB….Debuchy, Tavernier (h)
    2 LB…..Santon, Dummett (h)
    4 CB….New CB, Yanga-Mbiwa, S Taylor (h), Williamson (h)
    4 DM…Tiote, Anita, Jonas, Perch (h)
    6 AM….HBA, Cabaye, Sissoko, Marveaux, Obertan, Ferguson (h)
    4 ST…..Cisse, New Striker, Gouffran, Shola (h)

    Total = 25 homegrown = 9

    All those players are aged 21 or over, which means that if they weren’t named in the squad they wouldn’t be eligible to play in premier league games next season.

    I would still be left with several other over-age players on the books, but because I had already named the maximum number allowed THERE WOULD NOT BE ENOUGH ROOM to include them in the squad. Those players are Amalfitano, Gosling, Ryan Taylor, Brad Inman, Conor Newton and Nile Ranger. I would need to decide which ones to sell or release and which ones to keep and send out on loan instead.

    The following players would still qualify as under 21s next season and therefore wouldn’t need to be named in the squad:
    CB…Good, Streete
    MF…Abeid, Bigirimana, Yven Moyo, Vuckic
    FW..Sammy Ameobi, Campbell

    I’m sorry if this has sounded like a lecture, but unfortunately there are still so many fans who simply don’t get it.


  32. Chris G says; I’m sorry if this has sounded like a lecture, but unfortunately there are still so many fans who simply don’t get it.

    Chris, maybe most of the fans on here are placing their trust in our management to be aware of the ‘home grown’ ruling and to take the necessary actions to make sure we comply. I am not sure why your stress levels are so high over this πŸ˜‰


  33. Well, well, you have been getting about Troy 😯 πŸ˜† Taken from Eds blog.

    Troy Stavers // Feb 4, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Bonjour Monsieurs,

    I’m new to this blog. Please to meet you.

    I’m 44 yrs old, have followed the Toon since I was a kid and looking forward to reading your views. I will watch from a distance for a while and participate when I feel I have something worthwhile saying.

    Just to point out before we go any further, I’m 5ft 3 inches tall , have a pug nose, pigeon toed and have 3 nipples.

    I hope that doesn’t deter you’s from interacting with me but I thought I better tell all in case you found out via Pug Nose weekly.

    Crack on !


  34. Chris G,

    You are forgetting Ryan Taylor mate.

    So that would be 10 home grown players. Also that Obertan may move on and be replaced with Vuckic, or one of Conor Newton, Brad Inman both of whom are excelling in their midfield positions on loan.

    That would make it 11 home grown in the 25 man squad.


  35. Oh see you mentioned them later.

    I definately don’t think Tav would be ahead of Raylor. He would ideally be off on loan again.
    Ranger will be released. Gosling off on loan, along with the other youngsters. And as mentioned, I think Obertan will be off in search of first team football.

    As you’ve allowed for three new signings and we already have the correct quota for home grown talent I still don’t see a problem.


  36. Aussie @ 197

    I love how Chris states that fans simply don’t get it and it is an issue being overlooked, and then he goes on to explain why it isn’t an issue and that the board do in fact seem to have taken it into consideration as we are well within the rules. While still allowing some talented youngsters to go on loan to develop rather than rot in the reserves or be pushed into the first team when they aren’t ready πŸ˜†


  37. It’s all quiet on here… even Big Dave didn’t bite yesterday πŸ˜‰ .. I have to say the old fella has certainly mellowed recently 😯 It refreshing to see πŸ˜‰ :mrgreen:


  38. Chris G
    We are all pretty aware of it, I wrote an article along the same lines a week or so back. Players WILL be sold in the summer, some we won’t mind and some we will. Several players will want to move on to get more football and we will inevitably receive a bid for one of our stars.


  39. Morning all,

    I’d like to hope a lot of our young fringe players like Tav, Fergie, Sammi and Vuckic get loaned out next season to Championship team where they can get some regular first team competitive football. I think one or two need to prove themselves and won’t do that sat on our bench or playing in the reserves.


  40. Big Dave πŸ˜† tell me that you love Jabba and Dekka and I will be your wing man πŸ˜† πŸ˜†


  41. “Aussie thanks for helping Ice watch my back πŸ˜‰
    πŸ˜† I knew I could count on you, keep up the good work and you could.soon be my wingman”

    What do you call a sidekick’s sidekick? πŸ˜‰


  42. Sharpy,
    I don’t think Sammy is good enough for a championship team.

    Fergie is, Tav is, but I havn’t seen anything in Sammi to suggest he will make it here.


  43. Aussie sorry but I can’t lie 😯

    Sharpy I have been harping on for that for a couple of seasons now, it’s funny out of all our younguns that Bigi has been our best youngun when he gets the chance, and could that be bevause he had regular 1st team footie the season before πŸ˜‰


  44. BD, I knew that, that’s why I felt quite safe that I wouldn’t have to be your wingman πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


  45. JJ – if that proves the case and Sammi isn’t good enough then get rid. The Ameobi family have had enough money out of NUFC for doing very little thanks to Shola, I’d rather not see Sammi follow suit. Same goes for the others. So far Gosling and Vuckic have had good money for mostly being injured. If that’s going to be the case again this season then get rid coz I’ve seen too many players like Dyer and Owen on our books coin it in while sat on a treatment table.
    If we are to be a self sufficient club then everyone has to contribute.

    Dave – I think Bigi is a combination of regular footy at Coventry, but also the knowledge of what the lower leagues are like. Some of our younger a have had the pampering of a premier league club and multi million pound training facilities. Maybe these lads may also benefit from experiencing what they have to loose if they don’t improve.


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