It’s fair to say that Shefki Kuqi is perhaps not the best signing we’ve ever made.
Mind you, when saying that it’s worth bearing in mind that Kuqi wasn’t brought in as a replacement for Andy Carroll. He wasn’t brought in to lead the line or start a game either to be fair. Instead he was brought in as cover, to make up the numbers, bulk up the squad, whichever way you choose to look at it. On that front he has done a job.
However, there have been many reports from players and staff regarding just how well liked Kuqi is at the training ground. He is a rare breed these days in the sense that he feels fortunate to be in the position that he is in. Kuqi himself knew that he wasn’t going to be starting any games barring a major injury crisis to our remaining strikeforce, but he is happy to take a back seat and play his part behind the scenes.
Pardew has been talking to the Sunday Sun today about the role and influence of Shefki Kuqi at the club and the attitude of the player ahead of him being released from the club in the summer.
“I don’t need to recommend him to anyone else. His attitude speaks for itself. He’s a player who is fortunate to be here and you know what, he accepts that. His mum would say ‘You’re lucky to be here’ and he’d say ‘Yeah, you’re right’. But he’s got the character to make the most of it.”
“It would be great – absolutely brilliant – if he got a goal. It might be another scenario – we’re defending a lead and he’s marking a centre half and he heads it away. Anything like that, I’ll be the first one to jump on him.”
Pardew then went on to explain just why he brought him to the club in the first place:
“When I brought him to the football club we were short of strikers, we didn’t have many options,” Pardew recalled. “In some ways people assumed it was a player that I had just picked and brought in to make the numbers.”
“But it was much more than that, it was his character as a person that I brought to the club. It wasn’t so much his playing ability. And he has been absolutely brilliant around this training ground – ask any player about his attitude, his application, the way he has approached it.”
“He certainly deserves to get something between now and the end of the season. I will hopefully – although I’m not a sentimentalist – give him a little part of a game where he gets a chance to score. And if he scores I think we’ll all go mad.”
One thing that sticks in my mind about Kuqi, both from seeing pictures of him and seeing him close up, is that the lad always has a smile on his face. He probably knows that he is fortunate to be at Newcastle United, but he knows his place and revels in it. If he manages to grab a goal between now and the end of the season, Alan Pardew and Co won’t be the only ones to go mental as I’ll be joining them. I do have a soft spot for Kuqi for some reason.
It’s inevitable that he will be gone in the summer although I doubt we’ll miss his footballing ability. One thing I will miss though, is his attitude. It’s top class and very refreshing to see these days. He is a lad who wants to play football, and he is one of a rare breed who feel fortunate to do so.
Best of luck Shefki!
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.