Matt Ritchie: The heartbeat of this Newcastle United side

Newcastle took a huge step towards a return to the top flight on Saturday, with Matt Ritchie’s second half header being enough to take all 3 points.

Aside from yesterday’s heroics, Matt Ritchie has proved to be an inspired signing and a player fast becoming a crowd favourite at St. James’ Park.

Bought from Bournemouth last summer, the £12m man arrived with a wealth of Championship know-how, scoring 15 and assisting 17 in Bournemouth’s title winning promotion campaign in 2014/15. Newcastle fans will have therefore been more than aware of his proven ability at this level.

With 14 goals and 9 assists in all competitions, the winger has certainly chipped in offensively, however, the stats don’t do him justice. He is technically sound, with a solid range of passing, the ability to cross a ball and an eye for goal via his wand of a left foot.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Ritchie, however, is his energy, character and heart. He is relentless in his running, showing constant persistence and pressure both defensively and offensively.



On Saturday for example, it was the 90th minute and Wigan were pressing for the equaliser. While most of the side were out on their feet, Ritchie continued to lead by example, tearing around to prevent Wigan attacks in an attempt to regain possession. This sums up Ritchie and his defensive work, however his goal on Saturday also outlined his never say die attitude offensively. His initial shot struck the post, but as ever, he was alive and alert, reacting first to the rebound, allowing the quick-witted winger to head home the winner. His celebration that followed was also typical of the man, running over to smash into the corner flag and celebrate ferociously with the elated crowd – Ritchie has fire in his belly and a passion that is adored by the St. James’ Park faithful.

He is the heartbeat of this Newcastle United side, not only contributing to 23 goals but offering the sort of endeavour, tenacity and character that every fan and manager dreams of in a player.

While he may not possess the silky skills and ability to take on a man like the Ben Arfa’s and Ginola’s of yesteryear, his quality on the ball is undoubted, his energy is unparalleled and he has the heart of a lion.

A player worthy of the captain’s armband and a rightful contender for our player of the season, Ritchie has been a breath of fresh air and all things considered, Newcastle’s signing of the summer.

(Fancy having your say? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan – he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

21 thoughts on “Matt Ritchie: The heartbeat of this Newcastle United side

  1. Thank you Olly, I would agree he’s been an excellent acquisition for us, I could be wrong but I think his father in law is a Geordie, or is that Murphy ? Anyhow it will be an added incentive to do well, you don’t wanna go upsetting the father in law. 😉
    He will probably be player of the season if Gayle doesn’t get it for his goal scoring prowess. Mind you Shelvey has also been excellent and we are not the same without him. I also really rate Anita, very under rated imo, such an intelligent player.

  2. Olly luurves Matt Ritchie. I think Scotland won their last game but I did think it was strange that Strachan left him out of the team. It is not as if they are loaded with PL talent.

  3. Talking of wingers, I also see that Townsend has had a bit of a resurgence at Palace. Fatman should have given Rafa the money to buy him in January when Andros was still Pardewed.

  4. I don’t understand Moyes. He has looked a defeated man since the start of the season. His body language expresses fear and that must transfer to the players. He comes off like he has no answers and as I have said those furrows on his brow are getting deeper – Gordon Ramseyesque before botox. The two of them are like reverse Dorian Gray’s where every bit of anger and despair is shown in the lines on their face and the picture on their CV is still boyish.

    Moyes has said many, many times this season that Sunderland have deserved more from games. Actually, if it wasn’t for Jordan Pickford they would have been down already and their GD would probably be 20 worse.

  5. Talking of pickled walnuts. Even though I didn’t rate him and thought he had an inflated opinion of himself, at least Ugly John kept going even when he was dealt as bad a hand as Moyes.

  6. Richie is excellent. I was gutted when Townsend jumped ship claiming he wanted to play at the highest level.. Palace? he spent 80% of his career in the championship on loan. 😳

    Richie signing here proved its not all about top flight status but the size of the project and the pull of the might mags 😀 Townsends loss is our gain, I wouldnt swap them at all.

    If we get the right paring for the left (shame its not Aarons) we should have a good balance next season.

    Different between some of the wingers we’ve had, Richie is consistent with what we need. he can score, create,has a bit of pace, tracks back and a great attitude. a lot of our recent wingers had one or more of these attributes missing.

  7. Eric Sykes:
    I don’t understand Moyes. He has looked a defeated man since the start of the season. His body language expresses fear and that must transfer to the players. He comes off like he has no answers and as I have said those furrows on his brow are getting deeper – Gordon Ramseyesque before botox. The two of them are like reverse Dorian Gray’s where every bit of anger and despair is shown in the lines on their face and the picture on their CV is still boyish.

    Moyes has said many, many times this season that Sunderland have deserved more from games. Actually, if it wasn’t for Jordan Pickford they would have been down already and their GD would probably be 20 worse.

    he made a daft comment to a female reporter who actually laughed at the time.. then put in a complaint. bit of a dinosaur comment tbh, imagine Wenger making a comment like that lol

  8. Olly good thread singling out Ritchie. He is a work horse. Reminds me of Milner with his wort rate. Definitely need more like him in he squad.

  9. Gashley: he made a daft comment to a female reporter who actually laughed at the time.. then put in a complaint.bit of a dinosaur comment tbh, imagine Wenger making a comment like that lol

    Moyes comments a storm in a tea cup. Media as usual stirring up a nothing story. Watch the video everybody joking and laughing including the interviewer. What has happened to a sense of humour? Remarks could have just as easily made to a man.

  10. Shamrock:
    Olly good thread singling out Ritchie. He is a work horse. Reminds me of Milner with his wort rate. Definitely need more like him in he squad.

    Agreed, he stands for everything we’ve lacked for a while now.

    It’s often said ‘we don’t demand a team that wins, we demand a team that tries’, but if we had more players like Matt Ritchie going forward, I think we’d do both!

  11. Sham, I have a lot of respect for you as a blog member (poster and contributor) but I feel like you are well out of line with your comments toward Olly. I know he can defend himself and I am not here to do that for him.
    I really feel that your comments are misplaced and the real frustration is born from the dramatic changes to the site and to the thing you had a big part in maintaining and running for so long.
    As some old Greek geezer said – Change is the only constant in life 😉 😉 :mrgreen:

  12. Aussie your comment was intended to either defend Olly or have a pop at me. Either way I dont really care. I voiced my opinion and we moved on and left it in the last thread. Dont need to go over old ground. Some agree with me, some disagree. Thats life. Dont you ever talk football? 😄

  13. Olly Hawkins: Agreed, he stands for everything we’ve lacked for a while now.

    It’s often said ‘we don’t demand a team that wins, we demand a team that tries’, but if we had more players like Matt Ritchie going forward, I think we’d do both!

    Yes, talking a big game on social media and in interviews counts for nothing if a player then goes on to shy away from tackles and stroll half arsed around a pitch. We have had so many players like that at this club over the past few years and that’s a big contributor to our decline. We need to build a strong foundation based on a strong work ethic and then blend the right level of skill and maverick characters in from there. I have no doubt Rafa will try his best to make that happen, but will he be backed in the market in order to make it happen?

  14. That’s the burning question Shamrock. Apparently the discussion has been had (about transfer budget) and Rafa’s OK with the outcome. That may not mean the end of the story for another discussion is to be held at the end of the season. I guess that’s when the real numbers will be crunched. If Ashley messes that one up he and everyone else will pay for it. Personally I think peace will be maintained. I’m quite impressed with the new attitude to fans that the club have developed. Free Radio streams, free beamback of the Ipswich game, extended highlights and full 90 mins on the website, welcoming foodbank collections and supporting Gallowgate flags. Maybe Charnleys’ more savvy than we thought.

    After our long discussions yesterday about writing – someone spashed out £19 to get me Martin Hardy’s Tunnel of Love. I’m not a real fan of his writing (although his description of the 5-0 and Barca games takes some beating) but there’s stuff on nearly every page that I knew little about. Very interesting read.
    Nice thread Olly – leave it up for a while please.

  15. Eric – did you see that pic of Chicago fans with Ryan Taylor about a month ago? Were you in there mate? Schweinstiegger too. Did Taylor sign?

  16. There was a news article yesterday saying Rafa was definitely staying on next season, so initial transfer talks must of gone well. That should keep West Ham away and anyone else hopefully for a while. Of course all that will go out the window should Ashley fail to give Rafa the tools he needs for the job. Doesn’t have to be a team of mega bucks players , just the ones he feels are required to consolidate or even do better . As has been said, we need a blend of workers with pace and the odd flair player but really we must have two proven goal scorers of the best calibre we can afford. Boro have shown that with out goals you will inevitably struggle to survive , like wise Sunderland who without Defoe are lost.

  17. Shamrock:
    Aussie your comment was intended to either defend Olly or have a pop at me. Either way I dont really care. I voiced my opinion and we moved on and left it in the last thread. Dont need to go over old ground. Some agree with me, some disagree. Thats life. Dont you ever talk football?

    Wow you were only just saying (complaining) how quickly the threads change 😂😂 football is going to well to talk about mate! The gunners, now that is a different story! 👊👊

  18. Indeed Aussie. Wenger has been a great servant to that club, but it’s hard to argue his corner now that Spurs have trounced them this season and the Gunners have seemingly gone backwards. He needed to make a play for the title to prove his doubters wrong and instead might not reach the CL. Maybe fresh ideas are required at the club.

  19. Shamrock: Yes, talking a big game on social media and in interviews counts for nothing if a player then goes on to shy away from tackles and stroll half arsed around a pitch. We have had so many players like that at this club over the past few years and that’s a big contributor to our decline. We need to build a strong foundation based on a strong work ethic and then blend the right level of skill and maverick characters in from there. I have no doubt Rafa will try his best to make that happen, but will he be backed in the market in order to make it happen?

    Totally agree and I have little doubt Rafa to bring in exactly what’s required, should he get the full backing he deserves.

    There’s been plenty to suggest that transfer meetings are going well, so considering the uncertain feeling January left us with, I’d say there’s reason to be optimistic this summer re. transfers/Rafa.

    You just never know with Mike Ashley however, but he’s got a good thing going here and he’d be a fool to ruin that.

  20. He would indeed Olly but we’ve seen before especially with his treatment of Keegan and then Shearer that he can play the fool very very well. I agree with you though as I think he just wants an easy life with NUFC until he decides to sell up.
    Nice to see you in among the comments. Maybe that’s the way forward for you. Put up an interesting article then join in the fun.

    Aussie you old stirrer – what’s Arsenal got to with anything north of the Tyne?

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