Who has been your surprise package of the season so far?

Surprise!!!!!!! This season has been up and down so far, which seems strange to say considering that we are sat in ninth place with only nine games of the season remaining.

Most newly promoted (I hate that term) teams would surely love to be in our position, but as has been said before, we could have actually been a fair bit higher than what we are currently. Still, not to worry as survival was always the name of the game if I’m being honest, and we aren’t even there yet so it would be folly to start talking of being disappointed at not being higher up the league.

There have been some belting games this season for us fans to mull over. The 4-4 with Arsenal, 5-1 against Sunderland, 6-0 against Aston Villa and the 5-0 against West Ham all instantly spring to mind when I think of the season. However, those results could not have been achieved without our players, some of which had huge question marks over their ability to cut it at Premier League level before the season kicked off.

On the whole I’ve been impressed with most of the players at NUFC this season. There is the odd exception to that of course, but I think a lot of those players with points to prove have gone some way to doing that during this campaign. So with that in mind I just wanted to know who you think has improved the most this season?

There are a few players who would get my vote to be honest. I had reservations over Danny Simpson, but has proved me wrong and fully deserves his place in the team. Mike Williamson has done alright without being spectacular as has Kevin Nolan who has been an important source of goals and leadership for us this term.

Those three have surprised me to be fair, but the winner for me has to be Cheik Tiote. We never really knew what to expect with him in the first place as he was just a newcomer with a modest reputation and a modest price tag. Both of those have gone out the window now as Tiote has far exceeded the expectations that any of us could have had for him.

Really though, it’s an easy choice to make such has been the impact of the Ivory Coast international, but the impact, improvement and, in some cases, sheer surprise performances from other players should not be forgotten.

That’s why I had to mention more than just Tiote. I could have quite easily (and to use an Ed’ism) waxed lyrically about the lad for this whole article, but the simple fact is that he isn’t the only one who has turned out to be a surprise package this season.

The three I mentioned earlier get my own personal praise, but it could have quite easily gone to the likes of Joey Barton, Jose Enrique, Leon Best or Fabricio Coloccini, all of whom have been surprising in their own individual way that has benefited Newcastle so far.

So who has done it for you this term? Who has been the one that you had concerns about who has since allayed them? Who is the player you just simply didn’t think would able to cut the mustard in the Premier League but has gone on to surprise you?

Let us know who you are nominating.

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

46 thoughts on “Who has been your surprise package of the season so far?

  1. Performance wise….tiote.

    In general I would say Jose with his lack of injury and suspensions. He is always qcailable and puts a performance in most games.Barton is a close second with the assists and the re-assurance he gave the fans in an interview after CH sacking, meant a lot to hear him come out and say what he did and dispel the concerns I had.

    Colo has also been magnificent as well. Would be surprised if he isn’t being scouted by other clubs unfortunately


  2. Tiote because I had an idea what to expect with him but could tell v Everton how good he “potentially” was and he’s lived up to and exceeded that so far, signing his new contract was a canny surprise too.
    The rest you mentioned have been fantastic too but we had a rough idea what to expect from them. 😉 😀


  3. My biggest surprise was Pardew sending Routledge away! He may not be fantastic but was good cover for the right wing and he had some pace. I’d also like to see a bit more of Lua Lua once he is uninjured. I have been very impressed with Shane Ferguson who has appeared very cool and confident on the ball, speedy with great passing ability. I’d def give him a first team start as he seems to have a real footballing brain. I must admit when I first saw the lad I had my doubts before I saw him play. He looked like he was a 12 year old in stature and face! I was worried he’d get easily knocked off the ball but as soon as I saw him play I knew he was going to do well.


  4. you’re missing the bigger one……the team!

    A couple of seasons ago, wigan at home, would we have come back to get 2-2? Nope. Arsenal, would we have come back from 4-0? Nope. All these away wins? I could go on.

    The team spirit and work ethic was instilled in to the team last season however doubts over whether it would remain in the face of tougher opposition this season have now been diminished.

    It’s this team spirit, work ethic, never say die attitude, willingness to work for each other, whatever you want to call it, that’s been the surprise package for me and it has been a joy to watch and long may it continue.


  5. batty….not “expected” but not surprised either, he was banging them in last season, at a different level granted but he’s always had goals in him so not as surprised with his goals as I was at how great Tiote is 😉 😀


  6. It has to be Leon Best for me.

    Tiote I didn’t know anything about and yes he is a very good player but not a suprise because I had never seen him before. I agree with Batty Nolan has been suprisingly good, Best’s goals in 2011 has been the biggest suprise though by far. I didn’t think he would even get a chance this season but thanks to our gambler, er owner he has and thankfully has started finding the net.


  7. Nice (if rather fluffy) point, ILM!

    For me, if you’re talking about the level of surprise rather than actual achievement or impact over the season, it’s Leon Best. I had zero faith, having seen him consistenly miss barn-door chances and never be in the right place at the right time last season.

    So happy to have been proven wrong. Everything about his play seems to have improved, and while I still expect him to say “Yaarrrrp” I can’t deny he’s delivering for us just when we need him to. Wuddun, fella.


  8. BTW – nice article Toonsy! Really good to have a thread that is always going to bring positive stuff about rather than ranting at this or that.

    Oh, lordy. I’m a hippy. 😆


  9. It is for the people who were waiting for him to be charged so they could add that to the list 😉


  10. I see Sky creaming over judas supposed European debut for them scummy ****s, Neatly forgetting him coming on in Palermo and breaking a 3o year record in the process…

    kin *******s 😡


  11. Tiote going from a complete unknown to easily one of our most crucial members, perhaps just behind Enrique. Really has to be up there for one of the buys of the season, Odemwingie has missed some very vital chances for Brom which has left them struggling..Hernandez hasn’t played enough prem games yet people always harp on about them. Tiote is class every game.


  12. Tiote has been brilliant, but he’s also frustrating at times. Like Jose he has been caught trying fiddy ways out of situations when a one-touch pass or hoof would have been better. That leads to some losses of posession in very dangerous situations.

    But the up-side of it is that where we would otherwise be fighting to be on the end of a long ball, we’re instead passing our way forward in posession and control. Can’t have it both ways, eh. 🙂


  13. Tiote the obvious choice but in terms of surprises from the squad which got promoted, without a doubt Danny Simpson and Leon Best are the major surprises. Simmo could iron out a lot of the mistakes in his game (he was basically at fault for spurs nickin a point off us at home) but he’s been class at the back. Pards should never have shuffled the back four around last week, one of the major reasons we lost to be honest. And Besty has been class, good eye for goal and he’s actually had the ball in the back of the net 9 times, with only 7 being credited as goals. Canny complain there like! Reckon he’ll easily make double figures for this (half a) season which is a class return. Good on him, I reckon we’ve got ourselves a very tidy squad/1st team player for the next five years or so.


  14. I agree Whumpie, every one of our best players this season has been prone to conceding a goal by fannying about un-neccesarily around the edge of the box.


  15. A few surprises, other than the obvious:

    -Best has proven to be a valuable.
    -Nolan’s knack for goal at this level
    -Collo’s poise and re-emergence
    -Just how good Barton really is. I knew he was a good player, but he has been one of the top midfielders in the league this year.


  16. Who has been your surprise package of the season so far?

    NO one mention Mike Ashley? 🙄 😯

    Surprise sacking of CH,surprise acceptance of selling andy carroll,surprise of ditching of singing section?

    Blimeh! He is full of surprises! 😈


  17. To be honest I have been pleasantly surprised with Pardew, when I saw the appointment my initial thought was that we were doomed but he seems to have the respect of the dressing room, got us playing some decent football and most importantly hasn’t disrupted the moral that created by CH and his team.
    Player wise I’d have to say Best, didn’t expect him to bag a goal never mind a blooming hat-trick!
    Have to agree with ‘I love Mike’ @7 the team have been a real surprise for me this season, particularly on the road! Just hope we can fight off any injuries and get a decent finish to the season.


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