The benefit of hindsight

Are we better off without these two?
Hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing. I’m just wondering whether or not now is the time for the benefit of it to be shown?

The summer was a bit a car crash in all honesty. In fact its probably best to define it as “crash, bang, wallop.”

Crash as Jose Enrique left for Liverpool. Bang went Kevin Nolan to recently relegated West Ham. Wallop went Joey Barton to newly promoted Queens Park Rangers. On top of the departure of Andy Carroll in January you can perhaps see why the outlook was gloomy amongst NUFC fans.

However out of the gloom there has appeared a glimmer of hope. An inkling that perhaps all isn’t as bad as was first feared and that, maybe, the decisions to let those players go weren’t so bad after all.

Kevin Nolan scored some important goals for us whilst he was with us, but once Andy Carroll went so did Captain Tugboat’s importance to the team in my view. A return of three goals post Carroll along with a dwindling influence on the team has left me not actually missing Nolan at all.

In hindsight that is….

Yohan Cabaye is a marked improvement on Nolan, even at this early juncture of his NUFC career. We’ve replaced Nolan with a complete midfielder who will work box to box for the team. He may not score as many as Nolan, but his contribution to the team should not be underestimated and Cabaye allows others to go about their jobs instead.

Joey Barton epitomised the Newcastle spirit from the last couple of seasons. He wore his heart on his sleeve and gave his all on the pitch which is all you could ask for. However that spilled over onto Twitter and he soon found himself ostracised from the first team. You can’t criticise your employers and accuse the club of a lack of ambition based in their summer signings when, quite frankly, some of these new players have an honour list that Barton would never ever be capable of achieving.

Anyway, whatever the circumstance Joey was soon off to a new club. It wasn’t the top four club himself and his agent insisted that Barton would be destined for and instead he signed a new lucrative deal at QPR which would ensure a pay rise for the Scouser. Fair enough, although in fairness he is the player that I thought we’d miss the most, even though it turns out that he doesn’t actually miss Newcastle on the basis of him pretty much constantly tweeting how amazing London is.

In hindsight perhaps not. Gabriel Obertan has come into the team and is steadily showing his worth to the club after a summer move from Manchester United. Granted it’s still early days, but I’ve seen enough of Obertan to work out that he has more to his game than Barton did. Pace for one, end product is another. Just because Gabby doesn’t beat his chest it doesn’t mean that he can’t do a job. In my opinion he is doing just fine.

Jose Enrique wanted out for ages. It was abundantly clear for months, so much so that I wasn’t even surprised when he toddled off to Liverpool with Champions League and international aspirations. Still uncapped for Spain, still without a call up in fact, the Spaniard is finding life tough at Anfield. Gone are the glittering performances that he put in for us which is perhaps a sign of not having such a willing worker in front of him like, say, a Jonas Gutierrez maybe?

To be honest this is the big question mark for me. If Davide Santon can show the potential that undoubtedly possesses then I have no worries about us having a suitable replacement for Jose Enrique. Time will tell on that one, but I’m quietly confident.

We can even go back a bit further. Look at Andy Carroll for example. We may not have replaced his battering ram style play, but we could well have stumbled across a replacement for his goals. Demba Ba has a record that, quite frankly, rapes Andy Carroll’s. Granted Carroll is young, but I really can’t see him having a 1 in 2 goal record in four years time.

We’ve replaced a more direct style with a style that is more fluent, more pleasing on the eye, and is getting results on the pitch and we’ve replaced older players with better ones who look to offer more to the team.

Would we have been a better team had all of those players stayed? Undoubtedly. Are we any worse off without them though? To me the answer to that is a big, fat, resounding no.

It’s still early but, perhaps in hidnsight, the summer wasn’t so bad after all?

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.

60 thoughts on “The benefit of hindsight

  1. Fantastic article nothing to add… agree wholeheartedly.
    One point ‘ba rapes carrolls record’ Dont get him confused with bramble toonsy 🙂



  2. Don’t think we can complian at all, everything is looking rosy right now. As you said Toonsy, still unsure about Santon as never seen him play, though I know Zoe is happy no matter what he does on the pitch ha ha! Would have loved to have kept Jose, but never likely to happen as he did want out, but at least he is a left back and can do it in the prem. With any luck our new lad will come up trumps and Raylor can be backup. Lets just hope we can keep it going for a bit longer


  3. Still a little disappointed we don’t have a true winger to beat opponents’ full backs and cross to the box. Some teams still use this to stretch the game and give the ACM and strikers more room. We definitely don’t seem to have the players to do that though. I like Obertan though. His pace and ability on the ball look very promising. Let’s hope he can link up well with Ben Arfa and the strikers. Has he got a decent shot? Not sure yet. Hopefully we get to see it in some upcoming games. Excellent article.


  4. Toonsy positive! I can only agree with everything. As you know I was never one of the doom and gloomers but the way the team spirit is at mo I’m alowing a teeny spark of optimism to glimmer in the dark. Oh no! Past experience says a hammering against Wolves will be the result of a tiny bit of confidence. I’ve been a supporter a long time!


  5. “Would we have been a better team had all of those players stayed? Undoubtedly.”

    says it all for me

    ambitious clubs want to build and add to what they have..
    so i have to accept the fact thta under this regime we are not an ambitious club



  6. G85 – I’ve been hammered for months for being positive. I get called a dreamer, told I live on fluffy clouds and many many more derogatory things for it. I don’t get this notion that I’ve only just turned positive, especially when I have over 1,000 ‘blogs to back me up???


  7. toonsy says:
    September 28, 2011 at 17:06
    GeordieTwo – Marveaux can do that. He can beat a man and get to the byline, as can Obertan.

    that doesnt mean anything if you cant deliver!


  8. doitforsirbobby
    September 28, 2011 at 17:18

    “ambitious clubs want to build and add to what they have..
    so i have to accept the fact thta under this regime we are not an ambitious club


    Not really. Jose wanted out. Carroll was prepared to jack it all in. Nolan isn’t missed one bit, and Joey quite clearly had an agenda to his twitter ranting.

    How is losing any of them the clubs fault?


  9. Only flaw in the argument is that both Nolan & Barton would never have stayed or been satisfied to be back up players and keep the happy clappy club spirit if they were stuck on the bench. .
    Also a bit harsh on Enrique’s performances. He’s been pretty good from what I’ve seen and it would have been a plus if he’d stayed. We could then have had Santon at RB. That would be a top defence.
    No all in all it’s worked out fine…New style, clean break, “good men” left as Colo said.


  10. doitforsirbobby
    September 28, 2011 at 17:19

    “that doesnt mean anything if you cant deliver!”

    You mean like both of them did just last week? I do believe Marveuax put in a pinpoint cross which resulted in a goal, as did Obertan. Two crosses. Two goals.

    But they can’t deliver…..


  11. STB
    September 28, 2011 at 17:20

    “New style, clean break, “good men” left as Colo said.”

    Exactly. We have good men here according to the Captain. Not snivelling little ****s who cry when they don’t get that extra dubloon 🙂


  12. G85 pipe down with doom monger business. devenaa what you mean. some fans exected nowt from ashley in terms of signings and thought this would have a negative effect on the team aka “the doom mongers”

    some fans expected ashley to spend carroll money and bring in a quality striker to replace carroll aka “the dreamers”

    end of day we are all newcastle fans with different outlooks – would not class aneone as a dreamer or doom monger

    In fact, the ‘dreamers’ and the ‘doom mongers’ were both wrong in their predictions

    he didnt spend a great deal, and it hasnt had a negative effect on team (yet)


  13. I don’t think the idea of us being a better team with Nolan, Barton and Enrique still around isn’t all that cut and dried. I personally can’t see either Nolan or Barton being in the starting lineup right now, and I also can’t see either of them being happy about it. To me, it’s a pretty big hypothetical that they would have been willing to shut up and play a supporting role from the bench.


  14. fair enough Thad – ive just had to readjust my expectations as a fan..leon best is now my hero

    before it was shearer and tino and sir les

    but thats where we are as a club now i guess

    not complaining


  15. A good article Toonsy, positive but realistic….I am enjoying having a squad with the “problem” of whether to drop one of two in form strikers or bench ben arfa or marveaux, plus Gosling on the bench. Some rotation may be coming….good problems. Maybe Wolves away is 4-5-1 time though?


  16. toonsy dont start making out obertan to have good delivery of the ball because he never has had that in his locker and i dont expect that from him either…many qalities he does but that aint one and you would be kidding yaself if you thought he did


  17. Doitforsirbobby – And you’re ideally placed to write Obertan’s delivery off because????

    a) A handful of games for us

    b) A handful of game for Manchester United

    c) A handful of games for Bordeaux

    That cross I watched when in the crowd in the City Ground, the one which was pinpoint for Colo to nod home from home, must have been a pure figment of my imagination…

    Not saying he will do that everytime, but it’s there. That fact he done it shows that he does indeed “have it in his locker” for if there was nothing there he wouldn’t have done it would he. surely?


  18. And even if Obertan’s delivery is pap, he still offers pace, which is more than Barton. His crossing went way off the boil after Carroll.


  19. On the Obertan point…he doesnt have a great rep for delivery, but as has been said that is based on a few games for Man U as sub and I bet not many of us saw him play in France! His cross for captain Colo the other night was class…give him a chance! Saying that, it doesnt mean maybe not trying Jonas and Marveux wide soon?!


  20. hes just never been that player pal. From french national youth ranks and up he was never that, he was a direct attcking goalscoring winger/forward. never was he really an assist via crosses into the box merchant.

    so i dont expect that now. even you could put in a good cross once in a while, it doesnt mean you would be consistently good at it at it.

    And listen, im not too fussed, i love jonas and he cant cross for toffee, as long as they are being productive in other ways thats the main thing


  21. Do we really have to go over the facts of why Nolan, Barton, and Jose are gone? Greedy & useless now. Annoying as hell & arrogant. Didnt want to give the club a chance, probably listening to Joey too much actually.

    We have brought in quality players.

    Wingers that run down the byline to hit a cross to a target man is a tactic that is starting to die in football. The best wingers today are incisive, going towards goal for a shot or a much more accurate pass to a team mate.

    No offense, but a lot of English fans seem sort of stuck wanting crosses to big center forwards. That tactic can never be fully effective. Passing the ball on the ground, maintaining possession, etc. Is the way forward


  22. Sure hindsight is a wonderful means of presenting an argument, lets see what Christmas brings ?
    As of now things are going better than anyone could have expected, but we all know this is unlikely to last and as an example, look at Citeh’s result at Fulham, Man. U at Stoke etc.
    Plus we were fortunate to get a draw from the QPR game (as for Joey he’s doing the job there, his example and leadership sometimes means more than scoring)
    So whats my point, well as stated lets see what hindsight brings come the holiday season ?
    Hey i’m not criticizing, kinda like the idea of watching some decent football as played by our French legion, beats the hell out of hoof ball.
    Think we got three decent signings in Marveaux, Cabaye and Obertan, who i don’t think was given an opportunity at Man. U. and with each outing improves his game.
    Hopefully both Ba and Best can between, (both being opportunists) get a bunch of goals, not to mention those expected from our midfielders.
    But on saying that , the PL is as we all know a tough league and seeing how awful we looked via QPR, not looking forward to going to the Stokes, Evertons, etc never mind the regular top six.
    Do this one again come Jan 1st.


  23. Got to agter with toonsy on obertan. He has good delivery and he has shown that at forest. He has deadly pace and can get to the byline, but also skilled at cutting inside and has great dribbling. I also wrote in the other thread that i think he is growing in confidence and will only get better.


  24. axel i was born in 85 so youl have to educate me on messrs Billy whitehurst and Tony Cunningham!


  25. Let me try this again:

    Enrique/Barton/Nolan/Carroll. Not a one of them wanted to be here and not a one of them are missed. Simples 🙂


  26. @33- it’s not a hard thing to look up really…

    They had 7 points fromtheir first 6 league matches with a -5 GD:

    4-0 win over Wigam
    6-0 loss to Arsenal
    2-2 Fulma,
    2-0 win over NUFC
    4-0 loss to Chelsea
    2-1 loss to Blackburn


  27. DOITFORSIRBOBBY they both had a couple of seasons with us around the time you were born ,if i remember rightly under mcfaul . They were both strikers that could just not score , Whitehurst was like a poor mans Ducan Ferguson and the less said about Cunningham the better .


  28. Can i just point out one glaring omission from the above? The fleet-footed star that was Wayne Routledge. What a miss he is to us. Would be in the champios League now if Pards had kept him last season……just me? 🙂

    Nah the only one we miss at the moment is Enrique and hopefully that’ll be forgotten when Santon gets in. Nothing we couldve done about him leaving though.

    One fallacy about this whole barton thing that irks me. People keep saying hes had a couple of good seasons for us. He didnt even have that. Was he really that great in the CCC when he was injured until there was about five games left? One season. Did well but not for two years, one if you dont count for the drop off post Carroll. I’m not a hater, that just annoys me….


  29. All the big players starting for the reserves. I think kadar might be playing right back again. Hardly fair on the kid, seeing as how he prefers to play center back on the left side.

    But with santon on the left with ferguson in front of him, along with Gosling and Abeid in the center, this should be a good warm up for Santon to get used to playing in England.

    I have no idea what kind of test Swansea reserves could be though.

    Ranger starting too


  30. Dpesn’t dummet play on the right? kadar could be at CB.

    that’s a pretty strong reserve team by the way. Good to see Gosling behind the loan striker.


  31. Chuck @ 27 – Well we can always do another one in January. In hindsight our start to the season was pointless/we’ve done Ok. Delete as appropriate 🙂

    DoitforSirBobby @ 24 – Fair enough. Personally I’m judging him on the now and not what he’s don in a sprinkling of appearances previously. If he does turnout to be the type of player you describe then it’s an indication of how we are going to be playing football. How would a winger feel when his crosses either find Demba Ba or nobody? We don’t have a Carroll in there any more to make a difference so perhaps the wingers cutting in is going to be a feature for us.

    Zoe – I’m on it 🙂


  32. Could be MDS. I would really appreciate kadar getting the chance to shine in his preferred position. From what I remember about his displays in the championship, he should be a solid deputy for us there by now. Granted, his injuries have probably gotten in his way a bit


  33. A little research and you are right Zoe, he is listed as a LB. But I think he played RB on the US tour after replacing Simpson.

    Just saw a Carver interview where he says he plays LB and CB.


  34. Toonsy,
    Can’t believe that you did not rate Paul (Sarge) Goddard, he was a good hard working forward who was instrumental in keeping us up during the 1986/87 season….Sheesh


  35. I have heard a rumour that the club are not happy with Kadar’s fitness record and are actively looking to offload him.


  36. I think dummet is like santon in that he is comfortable playing the opposite side. Santon will be starting on the left in order to prepare for starring there for the first team


  37. Hi Guys im newcomer in this forum, Im from Senegal and I live in france now. Im a great Newcastle Fan. Exuse me if my english’s not that good. I know well those players who came from France because I watched the Ligue1 since i was kid. I think that you cannot compare those 2 teams, Last year Joey Barton was our only inspiration, This year we have Cabaye Ben Arfa Marveaux and Obertan. In this team Barton wouldn’t have a place because even if hes my favourite player cabaye is better technicaly but Barton is a true leader and shows more passion than everyone in this team. With joey barton we would have to change our system in a 433 with Tioté Cabaye and Barton at midfield. The difference between Cabaye and Nolan is this: Cabaye is a box to box player and Nolan has a presence in the box, Cabaye is an assist player and Nolan is a scorer. I think that the difference between now and last season is the fact that last season we had a coca cola championship team and (Barton,Nolan, Jonas, Colo Saylor Harps and Campbell who is a veteran last year were the only players who were established in PL or expexperienced player, Smudger is not the same since 2006, Ben Arfa played only 4 matches and Jose Enrique Tioté and Carroll were a true a true sensation last year even if they were at that level in championship) and we did some great things with this team, another team would’nt have done it if they hadn’t a great Locker room we have to admit that last year we were too much hurted by injuries; hurted by Carroll’s departure (Especially when leon best was injured and we had to play with Strolla and Lover) and hurted by a lack a regularity. We lost too much points at home because we were’nt 100% concentrated in those games (Wigan,Blackburn, Fulham, Bolton, WBA, Tottenham, Arsenal because we cannot conceed 4 goals in 25 minutes, Manchester City because we cannot conceed 2 goals in 5 minutes, Blackpool and Stoke City). This season we have a more creativity , that’s the difference and the defense have improve since last year and I’m waiting for the debuts of Santon. I think that Joey have his could have make our team stronger more competitive and add some steel but for Nolan, I think that with the arrival of Cabaye and with Tioté, Im sorry to say this because hes a great figure at the club but I think that i would be on the bench. And I would add that HBA can put us on the next level, I can’t wait his partnership with cabaye. This season if we are regular against teams like blackburn we’ll be in the top 7 and we can even be in the race for the 4th place against arsenal tottenham and liverpool. Howay the Lads. Proud to be A NEWCASTLE FAN!!!!


  38. The thing to remember is ashley and his mates dident make those decisions to make the squad younger or faster or to make the dressing room more sensible they did it to make money and they have made money , but lets give the scouts credit what they have brought in looks great . As for the players we would be a much better side with carroll hes not just a battering ram he can play so we would be better with him (and the money is still not spent ) hes better than any centreforward on our books , nolan i would also like to have stayed again he could pass and play but mostly could score and goalscoring midfielders are hard to find and he continued to score after carroll left in difficult circumstances as for barton theres a relief now hes gone and as has been said hose wanted away so best to get rid . with very little spend we could have an even better squad than we have now but maybe thats just me being greedy im over the moon at the goings on so far and long may it last .


  39. Blackbartoon – Don’t worry about your English fella. It’s better than a lot of English peoples English 🙂


  40. keith
    September 28, 2011 at 18:56

    “nolan i would also like to have stayed again he could pass and play but mostly could score and goalscoring midfielders are hard to find and he continued to score after carroll left in difficult circumstances”

    Three goals in 19 appearances since Carroll left. Hardly the swash-buckling goalscoring that is being made out…


  41. Tgs, that would be really hard on the lad as his injuries are mostly impact related rather than an ongoing problem with a particular muscle.
    I’m with MDS in thinking that he should be our 4th choice cb for the first team. Granted, we haven’t seen much of him since the championship season.

    They should be looking to actively get rid of ranger!


  42. toonsey @56

    he was our leading goalscorer !!!!
    how many goals did the rest of the midfield score in those 19 games !!!

    yep he was a swash-buckling goalscoring midfielder for the toon .


  43. Sorry. Not buying that. The fat tub of lard scored the same amount of goals as Steven Taylor once Carroll left. Perspective needed.


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