How mint is Leon Best?

Best attempts to silence the critics.
Leon Best may not have played against Nottingham Forest last night, but there is little doubt that he will be back in the starting XI come the weekend when Blackburn roll up to St James’ Park.

In fact Alan Pardew has even said that much himself. It was along the lines of him keeping on scoring, so he keeps the shirt. I can’t remember the exact words, but they are about what was said. I can’t argue with it either, and I don’t think many others can in all honesty.

Put simply, Leon Best keeps on scoring. He may not be the most flamboyant or skilful striker that we’ve ever had, but he has a canny knack of doing the most important thing, which is being in the right place at the right time and putting the ball in the back of the net.

Best has scored 9 goals in 13 starts and he is yet to complete a full 90 minutes for us which means that his goals per minute ratio is up there with the best. Will it last? Probably not, but there is every reason to be confident that we can score a goal when he is on the pitch.

How far could he go though? I mean he isn’t the type of striker who is going to beat two or three men with skill before planting the ball in the net. He doesn’t have blistering pace although in the interests of balance it’s also worth mentioning that he’s not exactly a slouch either. What can we realistically expect of him?

Personally I feel that with decent service he can go and grab a lot of goals. I’ll not put an estimate on it, but is, say, 15 goals really out of the question? If he can stay fit and firing in front of goal then why not?

It seems strange that I feel that I have to write this. I guess my reasoning for it is that I’ve been really impressed with him first and foremost, and secondly I feel that I have to stick up for him a little bit, even though his ‘goals scored’ should be all the backup he needs.

Besty still attracts the critics, and I don’t know why. Perhaps they are still blinded by the sun shining out of Andy Carroll’s arse? I just don’t know what Leon has to do to get wholesale backing from all fans. He is arguably the only striker who has earned a place in the team through his exploits for us so I don’t see why some have to say things like “fair play, but he’s not the long term answer”. Why not I ask?

The amount of Best doubters has reduced in recent months, but there is still an under current of disdain shown towards him by some. Is his name not fashionable enough? Did he not cost enough? Does it really matter when he is scoring at the rate he is doing?

The top and bottom of it is that Leon Best wants to be here, he wants to prove a point, and he is doing that. Isn’t that what we all want?

Andy Carroll managed 11 goals in 19 Premier League appearances for us last season. Leon Best is on 9 goals in 15 appearances. There is an argument forming to suggest that we’ve actually replaced Carroll in terms of goals if not in terms of effect on the football pitch. Best won’t bully defences like Carroll did, although he is not fairy I’ll add, but when to comes to putting the ball in the back of the net there appears to be little difference between the two.

Leon Best really is mint!

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.

61 thoughts on “How mint is Leon Best?

  1. I have a funny feeling though BA will play instead of him on weekend with HBA the second striker?


  2. Toonsy – aye but with HBA reckon pards could be tempted. What a player to have on the bench if it goes sticky.
    Might actually be better to protect HBA blackburn are a dirty team


  3. Good article, I’ve always had faith in Besty… i hope everyone else jumps on the band wagon. If he keeps growing hopefully in a couple of seasons we can start singing ‘same old besty…. always scoring’… maybe not, we can’t nick gods song.

    Love the title as well.

    Howay The Lads


  4. Excellent article. When I voted against giving Best another chance I was amazed at how many wanted another chance for him.
    Beginning to look like I was wrong they were right.


  5. He is better than that, Toonsy. The speed at which he can turn and hit a shot reminds me of Andy Cole when he was here.


  6. The problem is if Best doesn’t score he provides nothing. So is he a natural goalscorer that will take his chances when presented? Sort of. His record is good and that turn against Fuhlam was amazing but I still think his finishing has been more luck than skill. The first against Fuhlam was into an empty net and he still scuffed it, still went in so fair enough. Last weekend he had the entire goal to aim at from about 3 yards out and managed to head it straight at Given, luckily the ball rebounded to him with Given still on the floor and he smashed it again straight into Given with the entire goal gaping. Still went in but I wonder what Best will be like when his confidence and form dips.


  7. I wrote Best off as soon as he signed for us after watching him for Rep of Ireland , I didnt think he was good enough. But I am happy to admit I was wrong. Leon is simply the Best πŸ™‚ sorry for the cringe worthy play on words πŸ™‚


  8. Here is a question, should Best get about 10 goals between now and Jan, and Ba/HBA get a decent amount during that time as well, will we really need that marquee striker signing that we were denied during the summer? cos at this rate it may look like we wont need him.


  9. The difference for me is the entire team, in theory.

    Carroll was successful because we suited him. A battering ram type forward to supplement a workman like midfield.

    Of course we’ll miss that, but then our midfield has changed so hopefully it will balance out a bit and allow the strikers to do what they should be doing.


  10. As Troy would say,

    He is absolute class… haha.

    He seems a good poacher. And if we get a quality striker in January, I would say we are decent enough up front with Ba and Best.

    Havn’t seen Troy around for a while, things must be going well at NUFC, he got nothing to say. πŸ˜‰


  11. He’s surprised me with his ability to turn and control the ball.
    But can he score with a clean shot from 15-20 yards?
    Is he favourite when through one on one …?

    I’m still not sure, but he certainly deserves a run of games to show us that he can keep scoring.


  12. I’ll tell you why doubts remain – Best’s contributions over 90mins are stikll lacking. I like him, he scores the goals but lacks any real presence up front to be thought of as a longterm answer. The team struggles to build attacks around him as he’s not a no.9 type focal point.

    Picks up the pieces around the box so happy to have him in the mix, but we still miss a striker with presence – think adebayor, etc.


  13. Don’t think Andy Carroll would have fitted in with our new style of play to be honest. But he would be a great option to have regardless.

    I think thats his problem at Liverpool. Carroll is the type of player that needs the team set up around his strengths to make him truely effective. If not he becomes distinctly average.

    I can see Marveaux, Ben Arfa, Obertan, Jonas, Cabaye creating a lot of chances, so Best (our poacher, with some work rate) is almost ideal. And Ba, a poacher with a bit of skill is a good option too.

    Still, if we could get a quality striker with pace, power, and the ability to finish. We’d have genuine attacking quality. And a strong defence, if not one with any depth. But we can always add to it, I hope.


  14. “boater
    September 21, 2011 at 11:51

    I’ll tell you why doubts remain – Best’s contributions over 90mins are stikll lacking. I like him, he scores the goals but lacks any real presence up front to be thought of as a longterm answer. The team struggles to build attacks around him as he’s not a no.9 type focal point.

    Picks up the pieces around the box so happy to have him in the mix, but we still miss a striker with presence – think adebayor, etc.”

    Boater, Barca tried the Number 9 type focal point striker in Ibrahimovic, and it was a bit of a failure because he didn’t fit in with a fluid passing game.

    They went out and got a pacey striker, with skill, and who can try break the offside trap, and finish. David Villa. He is not your tyical “focal point” striker, but he fits the team far better.


  15. I’ve had a positive view on Best since I saw him in a preseason friendly at Carlisle.The 3 most impressive players on the pitch that game were Best , Vuckic and Ferguson. I was disappointed by his inability to score when he first joined us , but he seems to have put that behind him now .What interests me is the type of forward we seemed to be linked with in the summer and whether they would fit with Leon and vice -versa.He seems to fit into the poacher type of role so arguably a bigger target man would be a good pairing for him and I’m not sure that Maiga or Erdinc fall into that category . I hope we get Cisse although I fear MA will decide he is too expensive.


  16. I think he is under rated, especially for his aerial contribution. He is not bad at all in competing for long high balls, and winning the knock down. Unfortunately, we have not been capitalising on those knock downs, partly because they aren’t as accurate as AC’s were, but also because we haven’t had the pacey people around him to be in the right place to receive them. I am sure as people like HBA and Cabaye gel into the team, they will be better prepared and make better use of Best’s knock downs.

    The issue with Best has stemmed from the way he has dealt with Pardew, I feel. There is always a little bit of coldness and reserve when AP speaks of him – and I think that stems from some blunt talking from Best when he has demanded his opportunity. I also think Best probably threw his toys out of the pram and asked to go on transfer list when that rumour started about him going early in the summer – but I reckon that was him saying “you don’t need a new striker, you’ve got me” and Pardew saying “yeah, right, you’re a good squad player, and we want to keep you, but that’s all you are”. I think the continuing tension is because of that. But Besty is winning his argument by doing the thing he is paid to do – scoring goals consistently.
    Go for it Besty!


  17. Seems like in many circumstances Best can’t win, if he was playing magnificently and not scoring people would be on his back and say he should be scoring goals, yet now he is performing well and scoring, what more do people want? and as for the comments saying he provides little else, he’s great in the air and holds the ball up, challenges for everything and chases everything putting the opposition defence under continual pressure, not to mention his attitude is always spot on. May not be a glamorous player, but i’d definitely rather have him in the line up scoring goals than some exotic name who comes in from a foreign league and takes a while to adapt to the pace and toughness of the Premier League. Many won’t like it, but the days of us spending 8 figures on proven goalscorers are over. It may be a bold shout given the history and some of the calibre of players who wore it in the past, but if Best can continue performing well and scoring goals then i’d love to see him wear the number 9 shirt


  18. Happy to admit I have changed my opinion about him. I like him , his attitude, his honesty and his ability much improved over when he first came


  19. I fully agree with JJ @ 15. We were far too one dimensional with a target man CF. Consequently our football style was stifled. Now we have -” “Geordie Geordie Best. La, la la , la la la la .!


  20. JJ – you are right, and I didn’t really mean ‘big man’, even though it sounds like that. Keep on saying it but the magic word is presence – someone with a dynamic range of qualities who can turn a game even when we’re not playing well. I like Best although I don’t really agree with this article – that he is the long-term answer if he keeps scoring, but definitely an important piece of the jigsaw as a poacher, understudy or off the bench.


  21. I agree with the Best praise, he has earned it. In the game against Fulham he was almost living of scraps and got 2 goals. I hope he continues with Ba & Best at the weekend and uses HBA accordingly depending on the situation.

    Alongside Best, i believe another unspectacular memeber of NUFC deserves incredible praise for the job he is doing, and that is Alan Pardew (and JC). He is really getting the best out of the group we have, and has managed to maintain the spirit in the group despite losing some key figures. Excellent job AP, and wouldn’t mind seeing blogs like this encouraging fans to express their gratitude toward AP at St James Park on Saturday, rather than the tiresome “get out of our club” chants aimed at MA.

    Defence will need to be on the ball at the weekend, as Blackburn are scoring for fun at the minute. However, unsuprisingly, i predict a win for the toon. 3-1.



  22. Geoff he hit a beauty against QPR which needed a brilliant save to deny him. Like some are saying, we need to adapt our delivery to suit him.


  23. in terms of playing he’s actually better than carroll as caroll is always bench warming at the mo.

    He’s a basic, no frills striker but is a natural at scoring. He’s definately quicker since he arrived, not speed, his feet! very sharp now on the ball.

    I still miss carroll but his style dictates a certains type of football which has already upset L’pool fans.

    Marv looked sweet last night, would love to see him start v B’burn.


  24. Mark – Nope. He was crap. Didn’t have a lot to do but what he did do was ropey at best. Mind you, Danny Simpson and Danny Guthrie didn’t help one bit.


  25. Gwoerdy85 at number 6

    How dare you say you might be wrong re : Best stand your ground , your supposed to come back saying everyone else is an idiot on here and it s all ashleys fault

    totally agree best is doing well and most of his goals are coming in the six yard box where he is doing exactly what needs to be done long may he continue


  26. Toonsy, left something in the mail.
    Basically my opinion on the type of striker we need, and whether it will follow the number 9 expectations of the supporters.
    Started as a comment and got so long I decided to just send it a a potential thread. Haha.


  27. Boater

    Then we are in agreement.

    For me, Best is an excellent option up front for now. But he still has a lot to prove for the future, and I see him as a great option rather than a stone wall starting number nine.

    That may change. Right now, for me, Ba and Best are our only options up front. Ameobi was never great and he doesn’t fit in with this style of play. Lovenkrans is on the way out and himself is too inconsistant.

    Looking forward to a new type of striker coming in to challenge Ba and Best for a place. Doesn’t have to be big. But must be a presence with pace.


  28. aye, thought so. He seemed to come out a lot for needless balls.

    Guthers will be off in Jan imo. would would suit Norwich or a decent 1st division club.


  29. JJ – Like I say, if we are going to play one up ahead of Arfa – which still may not prove offensive enough for supporters, especially at home – then we need someone like Adebayor for me… pace, technical excellence and commanding in the air. He would be the perfect fit for this side. Maybe Cisse is that type, I don’t know to be honest.

    Best gets the goals, and Shola has stopped scoring again… damnit but still is an able target man- able to hold up play well for onrushing midfielders… Ba could be a mix of the two if he continues to improve.


  30. Boater

    Adebayor unfortunately will be snapped up by either Tottenham or one of the big boys.
    Papis Demba Cisse, just signed a new contract.
    But someone in their mould would be great. Not too many around unfortunately.


  31. never had any trouble at Elland road in all the times I’ve been. Man U on the other hand is terrible. U leave the ground and have a main road in front of you. My mate got a slap there a few yrs ago.


  32. If Leon Best has fifteen by January then we should sell him for a least 40 million to Liverpool, who are prone to paying massively over the odds. He is completely mint, and think about it realistically, FIFTEEN by January!!! That’s like Shearer/Cole standard. How could anybody doubt him? But if he is still on three in Jan then he’ll be replaced by the returning Andy Carroll after he’s fed up warming the bench. (It’ll be considerably less than 35 million given he’ll likely not have scored a goal all season.)


  33. Toonsy,

    Mental eh?

    Crazy when you compare it to a few kids at Darlo and the treatment we got….

    Also in other news,

    “Newcastle supremo Mike Ashley has issued a ‘hand’s off’ warning to Inter Milan in their pursuit of Alan Pardew”


  34. Toonsy,

    I posted on another blog this week regarding Best’s stats so I don’t know if this is interesting to you guys but I went through his Premier league minutes based on his 15 appearances.

    He has never played a full 90 minutes in any of his 15 appearances. In total he has 996 minutes on the pitch which works out at 11.06 full 90 minute periods so based on that stat his goal ratio is, hypothetically speaking, 9 goals in 11.1 matches if you round it up.

    If you also take in to consideration the goals he has had disallowed, and I believe with no bias whatsoever that some of these were incorrectly disallowed, then his ratio should be even better. Possibly nearing one goal a game if luck had gone his way.

    I think he’s decent and is getting better and still only just turning 25. Best years ahead of him!


  35. I might be wrong here but I think to a certain degree Best is poor man’s Lineker while AC is a poor man’s Shearer. Both can score goals, a poacher and a powerful forward.

    Some striker have a knack of scoring against a certain team, Shola Vs mackem, probably due to our team formation or the opponent’s. AC might have some problem against Vidic and Rio but more suitable against Arsenal due to their set piece weakness. A true world class player can play against any team, and the last one for us was Shearer and sadly but realistically, we might never be able to get one expect thru a) bargain like Tiote and Cabaye or b) our youth player. Ideally we need both type of player.

    Credit to AP for altering the way we play sans AC, to a point where Nolan wasn’t missed at all. AC is one of a kind, the only way to get him is by doing a Keane. But I would rather have an honest Best than a greedy AC. It’s only at our club that we can have a player who fought two team mates but still adored as a hero.

    I made a deal with the devil that I will put the pic of MA stripping in a pub in my computer wallpaper if we can land Pieters and Sturridge in Jan.


  36. I think Hes twice as fast now , as he was when he 1st came ,

    I like best , I do be delighted when he scores, especially as it keeps the doubters away for a while


  37. if hes got 15 goals at any stage of the season i will come on here and appologise for not agreeing with you but i dont think leon best is mint and i dont think hell score 10 , and neither will shola or lovenkrands the jury is still out with ba but i think he might do well . A Carroll although young and a piss head is an alround better player a nightmare to defend against can run with the ball hold the ball up score from 1 or 20 yards and with his head and feet , in my opinion you cant compare them , leon does give 100 % and that is great but his link up play and teamwork is poor he cant take on defenders has a poor shot on him from distance and a lot of his goals are against poor opposition 3 against west ham ! 2 against fulham a second bite at the cherry against villa , in my opinion he is not good enough , i dont care how much they cost or what there name is but i think we are in desperate need of a stricker and have been for a long time , and for me last night and the previous round proved we need more strengh and depth in a few positions in the squad however long may i be proven wrong .


  38. When Best plays well he DOES have a presence, look at West Ham last season. He won everything in the air and bullied their centre halfs. When he is having a quieter game he still has managed to nick us a goal! Win win in my book.

    He is definitely a poacher but is also excellent in the air. Two qualities rarely found together for Β£1.5m. His all round game will improve, he still hasn’t been given a prolonged run in the team.


  39. I said a couple of weeks back that Best maybe considered prolific depending on what prolific is !! –
    I’d say a goal every 2 games is the yardstick and hes the man delivering at the mo.
    You never know he might get more yet with HBA and marveaux in the team…

    Laughably the quality of his goals is being now questioned – id rather 2 scruffy goals than 1 20 yarder.
    Scruffy goals are scored by strikers who know where the net is – other strikers dont get in the position to bury them.


  40. i hope he gets 20 scruffy goals that hit of his arse and scores against manu man city and chelsea along the way but i dont think he will because i dont think hes good enough , hope he does tho .


  41. Considering Ba has no goals yet and hasn’t looked up to it, thanks are in order to Best. He will never be a great all round player but as long as he keeps putting away chances he definitely needs to be on the pitch for us. Shola is going through another one of his long spells of being useless. Next thing he will get injured. That’s how he manages to score 4 or 5 league goals a season on average.


  42. He`s a striker, what`s his job? scoring goals, enough said. Some people just want to pick for the sake of it, he is a quality character who wants to pull on the black and white shirt. Can`t ask for anymore, after all how much did we pay for him?


  43. BEst has to start games. It takes him a while to get going. My gut instinct is that most of his goals come in the second half. You know when he’s going to score as he warms himself up with a couple opportunities, usually just after straying offside a couple times.

    Raw striker. Not pretty to watch but ******* effective. Can turn on a sixpence and instinctively knows where the goal is.

    Perhaps HBA and Best is the new version of Pedro and Cole? I’d feel comfortable with him achieving 15 goals without HBA, or even Marveaux.


  44. Best certainly has the knack for scoring. What he needs to take his gamne to the nerxt level is learning how to stay onside. This semms to bea lack of concentration as compared with someone like Ba who gets offside by his teammates not getting the pass off to him quickly. Maybe AP needs to take one of the lads on the bench and use him to call out to Best to get back onside when he drifts out of position.


  45. Good god. So now some people are moaning that he doesn’t score the “right type” of goals? To me the right type are the ones that hit the back of the net…

    I swear some people cold land in a fanny factory and claim that it’s too moist…


  46. I couldn’t give a ****,if he plays with a hard on and whacks them in with his ****, whjen did you start getting more points the better the goal? πŸ™„
    The lad loves playing for Newcastle, he’s worked more on his fitness here than he has ever done, he just wants to try the best he can and be a success here, his job is to score and he’s doing it, that’s good enough for me.


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