If I’m honest I have never been Mike Williamson’s biggest fan. I have criticized and given the lad a lot of flak over the past couple of years.
I usually disagree with fans being overly negative about our players and I would certainly never boo a player in a black and white shirt….I just don’t understand what that achieves? I do however still have my opinion on all things Newcastle United and one of those opinions is that I find Mike Williamson to be a bit of a liability at times.
Chris Hughton brought the defender in for a fee of around £1 million from cash strapped Portsmouth during our Championship campaign. The Stoke born player arrived at Fratton Park from Watford with big expectations and a rather hefty £3 million price tag. However Mike failed to make a first team appearance for Pompey due to issues with additional add on fees- which presumably the club couldn’t afford to pay.
Willo made his switch to the North East to become part of the group that had the responsibility of trying to get Newcastle United back to the big time at the first time of asking. The player saw a lot of playing time following his arrival with Steven Taylor being sidelined with injury for much of the season. Mike arrived at the club with loanee and fellow center back Fitz Hall to plug the gaps and provide a bit of depth to the squad.
I think Williamson looked OK in the second tier but when we got promoted I questioned whether the big defender was of Premier League quality and the right caliber of player. Former Manager Chris Hughton and now boss Alan Pardew both appeared to have faith in Mike and never had any qualms about naming the player in their line ups.
Last season especially I watched Mike quite closely and felt a bit uneasy watching him at times. He seemed very prone to error and just looked quite uncomfortable on the ball, I like a center half to be composed and comfy with the ball at their feet. I think that’s why I like Colo so much, he is a good footballer and has a bit of ability yet he can and will do the basics when required.
Williamson was linked with a summer move to Cardiff to join up with Malky Mackay , his former boss at Watford. It seemed as if the player had slipped down the pecking order at Newcastle following the arrival of Yanga-Mbiwa. Mike struggled to even make the match day squad for the first part of the season and it looked like his dayS on Tyneside were perhaps numbered. However the summer transfer window slammed shut and the defender remained Newcastle player.
Willo kept his head down and continued to work hard and training despite his isolation from the squad on a Saturday afternoon. At Everton Mike got his chance as he was named on the United bench, he then managed to play the second half of the fixture replacing Mbiwa who had a terrible game. Williamson came on and credit to him he played very well in the second half.
Since then he has retained his place at the back, largely due to injuries and suspensions of his fellow defenders. I have to say that Willo has done a good job when called upon this season and you have to give him great credit for that. He was completely frozen out coupled up with the fact he has been criticized heavily at times for inept performances by fans. I actually saw a stat that made me spit my coffee out, it’s as follows:
Since our return to the Barclays Premier League, #NUFC have earned 31 clean sheets – Mike Williamson has played in 21 of these.
For a player that has received so much flack that is quite impressive and that’s coming from someone that really has been hard on the guy at times in the past couple of seasons. I still believe Mike must cut out errors long term as there is no doubting he has looked wobbly at times. But hey stats speak for themselves don’t they?! It looks like Mike will retain his place on Sunday lunch time at White Hart Lane.
Do you feel Willo deserves a run in the team or would you be inclined to make changes when everyone is fit again? For now keep proving me wrong….Iron Mike!