So we finally have our new number nine in the form of Papiss Demba Cisse. Great news! Or is it?
Now before I get into the nuts of the article let me just clarify that I’m not rubbishing the transfer or the player and I’m not wishing failure or anything like that. Instead I’m just debating whether or not we should have held back the No9 shirt instead of offering it straight away.
To me the No9 is a special shirt. You only have to look at the players who have worn it over the years to realise that. Shearer, Ferdinand, Cole, Supermac, Milburn are all iconic names associated with Newcastle United which have combined to give the shirt it’s importance. It’s not just a player in a shirt – it’s a figurehead, an idol, someone to look up to and rely upon.
Perhaps I’m being overly romantic in my notions? Perhaps I’m being a bit outdated with my thoughts in this modern game of football that we have right now? All I know is that we’ve just given the next chapter of a book of number nines to someone that may not end up fulfilling it’s own legacy.
To me the shirt must be earned. Of course there are examples where that isn’t the case, but in a game where loyalty is a scarce commodity these days I’d quite like to know what type of player is getting the honour of wearing the number nine shirt and along with that getting the chance to write their own chapter in Newcastle United history.
I mean what was wrong with holding it back until the summer and treating these last few months of the season as a kind of working interview? If Cisse showed he has what it takes then give it to him for the start of the new season. It was the approach used by Chris Hughton when he gave Andy Carroll the number nine shirt and it worked out well, for half a season at least.
Now it’s not all doom and gloom as I can see why Cisse has been given the shirt. His record stands up against some of the most recognised strikers in Europe and he is the type of player who is ideal for the shirt when you look at the way he plays. He works hard for the cause and does the ‘simple’ thing of scoring goals and being in the right place at the right time which is what is needed from the No9.
I just can’t help thinking that we should have waited until the summer to see if he can be a number nine in NUFC colours.