Is Ciaran Clark worthy of the Toon?

Since news broke last night that Newcastle United had met the release clause of Championship rivals Aston Villa’s Ciaran Clark, many fans have commented that the player appears to be universally dismissed as a liability by his current employers supporters. Understandably this raises concerns about his ability to add genuine depth of quality to the back line of NUFC. As a result I have set out to compare his stats with those of severl other players in order to establish if the words of many Villa fans rings true, or if he will actually be a shrewd signing.

So how it will work is simple. Ciaran Clark will be directly compared against Jamaal Lascelles, Chancel Mbemba and Fabricio Coloccini based on their average stats per 90 minutes completed in the Premier League last season. John Stones will be added into the mix just to give us an idea of where our defenders are compared to a mid table Premier League defender currently being touted for a move to Manchester City somewhere in the region of 40 to 50 million pounds. For every field, 10 points goes to the winner, 7 for second, 5 for 3rd, 3 points for 4th and zero for last place. Lets get started then.

Goals scored: Both Mbemba and Stones failed to score last season, meaning they share 4th place with 3 points each. In third is Coloccini with 0.04 per 90. 2nd place goes to Clark with 0.06 per 90 and winner by some margin is Lascelles with 0.15.

Chances created: Coloccini and Mbemba tie for 4th on 0.12. Winner is Clark on 0.25. Second is Stones on 0.19 and 3rd falls with Lascelles on 0.15.

Pass Completion: An important field here, mastered by John Stones with 89%. As you might expect Fabricio Coloccini performs well on 83%. Jamaal Lascelles shows he is neat and tidy with 80%. whilst there is not lot to separate Mbemba and Clark with 77 and 76% respectively.

Aerial Duels: There is huge contrast in this one, with a whopping 29.3% separating first and last place. Lascelles is crowned victor here with 76.36%. Bringing up the rear is Mbemba with… have you worked it out yet?! A shocking 47.06% for a CB. In 4th is Coloccini with a marginally better 49.23%. 2nd for Stones on 63.75 and third place earnt by Clark with 61.54%.

Take-on totals: 10 points for Stones with 74.19%. 7 points for Clark on 29.23%. 5 points for both Mbemba and Coloccini winning 66.67%, leaving poor Lascelles pointless on a measly 60%.

Total Duels won: This is another area where you want your CB to dominate. Everton’s Stones does just that with 63.26%. Showing how not to win a battle is Coloccini with a very poor 46.67% of battles won. Lascelles is no pushover, winning 59.34%. Clark is next up with 55.13% and Mbemba is fairly weak again with 51.82%.

Tackles won/lost, average per 90: Congolese Mbemba finally shows us what he bring to the table, with an average of +0.46. Coloccini performed poorly with -0.47. Stones did well on +0.17. Clark managed -0.25 and Lascelles was not great with -0.39.

Fouls committed vs Free kicks earnt, averages: So does the player draw more fouls than he gives away? Stones does, with +0.48 per 90. Coloccini balanced out on zero, which is not a bad thing. Clark averaged -0.19 for 3rd place. Next up is Mbemba with -0.28 and in last place is Lascelles with -0.62 falling far behind his rivals.

Defensive errors: Very few made by Coloccini, with 0.04 per 90. Clark again performs well with 0.06, Mbemba manages 0.09, Stones 0.13 and Lascelles 0.15.

Defensive errors leading to goals per 90: Both Coloccini and Clark made no fatal errors last term, earning them 10 points each. Joint third is Lascelles and Mbemba with 0.06 whilst Stones proves to be most error prone with 0.1.

Yellow cards: Who is most likely to be banned due to cumulative cards? I have not included red cards because they were very rare (only 2 all season between all 5 players). Clark likes a card with 0.37 per 90. Mbemba managed 0.15. Stones had 0.1 whilst both Lascelles and Coloccini kept their noses clean with 0.08.

Blocks: Coloccini managed 1.14 per 90. Stones performed well with 1.13. Lascelles did 1.01, Clark had 0.81 and Mbemba 0.77.

Clearances: Ciaran Clark is a monster here with 8.27. Coloccini managed only 4.28. Stones had 4.47. Lascelles did OK with 6.04 and Mbemba scored high with 7.27.

Interceptions: This is the last category. Mbemba was the the best reader of the game here with 2.96 per 90. Clark was a close 2nd with 2.92. Coloccini averaged 2.4, Lasclees 2.17 and Stones only 1.81.

Total Points: As you might imagine, John Stones is in demand for a reason and he tops the billing here with a mighty 87 points. Jamaal Lascelles came in at 4th place with 68 points. Despite Coloccini’s decline, he still managed 75 points. Now prepare to be shocked. Many said Chancel Mbemba was one of our better players last season. Well the stats say otherwise. He was by far the weakest of the above 5 defenders, managing only 60 points overall. Now Villa fans think they are flogging Newcastle a ‘duffer in Ciaran Clark’ and claim they are committing daylight robbery by taking 5 million pounds from the Magpies. The stats say othrwise though. He came in with a very strong performance, netting 81 points and earning 2nd place – well above the existing Newcastle defenders.

It is clear that the Irishman is partial to a yellow card, but he is a strong overall defender that will enhance Newcastle’s back line and add real competition and strength in depth for the first time in an absolute age. Villa fans should be crying into their cornflakes at the thought of losing this player and giving him a barrage of abuse all over social media should hopefully only push him further out the door and into the warm Geordie embrace.

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About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

118 thoughts on “Is Ciaran Clark worthy of the Toon?

  1. This is a fantastic article. Hope to read analysis like this over the coming season. Well done, Shamrock.

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  2. very interesting read mate,must have took some work well done,i watched him a couple of times and actually he seemed the only player putting in a 100% effort,its harder to judge fairly as their team was a mess when that happens some players try covering their weak points in the team which makes their own game look poor,lets see with him plus ime sure Rafa will improve the lad,in Rafa we trust

    well done SHAM

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  3. Sham – I like these articles you do mate. I don’t know where you draw the info from or how long it takes you but they are really informative.

    I think based on those stats & considering how badly Villa performed last season, he did OK.

    Is he a good signing? – well those stats suggest he certainly wouldn’t be a bad one – so I guess somewhere in between

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  4. Great work Sham , well compiled and what an eye opener, particularly where Mbemba is concerned. I guess,as I have said in the past that chemistry plays a huge part, put the right mix/balance of players in the team and off you go. Could be that the Villa defence was so bad last season that none of them looked good. It also explains Clarks clearance stats being outstanding, they were under so much pressure and shipping so many goals it’s little wonder he made so many.

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  5. Kimtoon:
    Sham , Be nice to see a few more threads like this comparing some of our other players.

    i think its a top top thread imo,he knows the the writing game does SHAM

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  6. Nice work, Sham. It’s always interesting to see a direct statistical comparison.

    Disappointing that Mbemba ranks as low as he does, but the most interesting thing to me is what the stats say about potential balance in a CB pairing. Mbemba is clearly weak in the air, and that was compounded last year by Coloccini sharing the same weakness. With Lascelles, on the other hand, it’s one of his strengths. Conversely, Mbemba is strong with tackles and interceptions. That makes me optimistic that they can form a good partnership – Lascelles bringing the physicality, Mbemba reading the game. I think I would be concerned if Lascelles, Mbemba and Clark all displayed similar strengths and weaknesses.

    And if Mbemba isn’t cutting it, Hanley and Clark should provide good competition, with Dummett and Hayden both able to fill in at CB in an emergency.

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  7. So SSN reporting that Pritchard is close to joining Brighton – I wonder if that will then free up Knockeart?.

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  8. After Diame and Clark do we really need more players? I’m a bit concerned that Rafas building a new team here and after doing so well in the last 6 PL games – is that necessary? It can take a long time to gel and it’s imperative we start strongly. Niggly worry.

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  9. You said Colo didn’t make any fatal errors, sorry mate but did you not watch the 5-1 against Chelsea???

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  10. Georgio-

    With all the midweek games we’ll have this year, I think depth can only be a good thing. Especially with the number of injuries we usually pick up.

    I’d be more concerned about the number of players we’re bringing in if we were doing so at the expense of established players. But of the players we’ve let go or are probably letting go, Wijnaldum is the only one I’m sad to lose. And even he was far from dependable last year.

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  11. icedog: i hope so mate

    I hope so, too. I can’t say I know much about either of them, but from what I’ve read, Pritchard is overpriced and injury prone, while Knockaert is proven to be a productive Championship-level player.

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  12. Georgio:
    After Diame and Clark do we really need more players? I’m a bit concerned that Rafas building a new team here and after doing so well in the last 6 PL games – is that necessary? It can take a long time to gel and it’s imperative we start strongly. Niggly worry.

    Georgio – I would still have concerns about our left side at the moment mate. Dummett & Aarons are decent players, but if either are injured do we have adequate back?

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  13. Good read and those stats make a mockery of all the critisism that the villa fans are throwing at the lad on social media . The lad has given them a good few years of loyal service and now wants out of the nut house that is villa park , joining us will give him a chance of improving under a world class manager ,playing in front of massive crowds and getting him back to the premiership . They are so sad its unbelivable ,childish b@st@rds .

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  14. Charlie Prince: I hope so, too. I can’t say I know much about either of them, but from what I’ve read, Pritchard is overpriced and injury prone, while Knockaert is proven to be a productive Championship-level player.

    heard a whisper he failed medical here,could be just a storey like

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  15. Matt Burn:
    You said Colo didn’t make any fatal errors, sorry mate but did you not watch the 5-1 against Chelsea???

    Pretty sure these aren’t Shamrock’s personal statistics – you can only work with what’s available. It does bring into question how the stat keepers count things like fatal errors, though. Does Coloccini’s penalty + red card against Sunderland not count as a fatal error? What could be more fatal than that?

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  16. And yes, as Sharpy says, I think we’re woefully short of depth on the left side. At this point, I’d expect to see players like Anita and Gamez logging time over there. They may be able to do a job, but it’s far from ideal.

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  17. Charlie Prince: Pretty sure these aren’t Shamrock’s personal statistics – you can only work with what’s available. It does bring into question how the stat keepers count things like fatal errors, though. Does Coloccini’s penalty + red card against Sunderland not count as a fatal error? What could be more fatal than that?

    Thanks for the feedback all. I will do a couple of similar threads as the season goes on, covering various positions.

    Matt Burn. First welcome to you and other new posters. Second, I did watch the Chelsea game and have just rewatched it.

    I will explain what ‘fatal error’ means. It means defensive errors putting the opposition through on goal (and resulting in a goal).

    In the Chelsea game, Coloccini was abysmal just like the rest of the team. But only 2 or the 5 conceded were as a result of a fatal error. The first being Rolando Aarons, whose misplaced back pass put a Chelsea striker clean through on goal. The other was Steven Taylor, who completely missed a header and allowed a Chelsea striker clean through. Colo was guilty of some bad positiong but in the lead up to the Townsend goal it was actually his well read interception and pass that brought the goal about.

    Charlie, regarding the Sunderland game. The player was already clean through on goal. Colo fouled him to prevent him scoring. Because he was already clean through, this does not fit the ‘fatal error’ definition, whilst his red card was overturned.

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  18. Interesting, thanks for the extra info, Sham. I guess it’s fair to say that Coloccini was put in a bad situation against Sunderland, and that stopping Fletcher from scoring was far from a routine play. I also think that goes to show how complex football is, and how difficult it can be to analyze, even through objective stats.

    Even so, the volume of data over the course of the season makes the stats useful, as we can see from your write-up.

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  19. Villa are desperate. They don’t have a squad. Somebody said Gueye was rubbish too – not sure if that was more Villa fans being quoted or a poster here – but he had more successful tackles last season than anybody bar Kante.

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  20. off topic but if it’s true Palace want Sissoko then I hope they get him. If ever two people deserved each other it’s Pardoop and Sissy.

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  21. Good effort, Sham.

    Seems we’re building a team to get us out of the league and then Rafa will worry about the PL if and when we get there.

    Still need a left back and a striker imo.

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  22. Cyrus Varten:
    This is a fantastic article. Hope to read analysis like this over the coming season. Well done, Shamrock.

    Thanks Cyrus. Welcome to the blog commenters’ family. Do pop on often – it’s refreshing to read comments from ‘noobies’ and its always good to have more opinion.

    Andy, I see you have found one of your target markets – 5pm!

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  23. Stuart79:
    Good effort, Sham.

    Seems we’re building a team to get us out of the league and then Rafa will worry about the PL if and when we get there.

    Still need a left back and a striker imo.

    agree Stu, we need a potent forward, we realistically need to get 70 odd goals over the season to reach the playoffs and likely 90 odd to win it with a conceded total below 45.

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  24. Excellent stats piece Sham. We needed this to really know whether Clark is a decent buy. And he is. I think he’ll steady the defense. Now we have 4 CB’s who each offer something. Lascelles is decent in the air and has leadership skills and can score now and then. Mbemba seems to need to improve the most. Both Clark and Hanley are experienced and a good size. It will be interesting which partnerships get established.

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  25. Really want to see some outgoings as well, just to complete the ‘fresh’ feeling. Agree with most in that we need a LW and STR. In an ideal world we would still bring in an AM and LB.

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  26. Strange goings on with Thaujam. Spend all that time setting up a deal to ship him to Italy for some fresh pasta and virgin olive oil and then he sulks and says he doesn’t want to go? Bollocks…..

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  27. I’m a bit worried about 4-2-3-1 as well lads. Unless Aarons stays healthy and really shines we may need another winger to pair up with Ritchie.

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  28. Who stands in on the right if Ritchie gets injured? Janmaat if not sold? He probably will be sold. Callum Roberts going to get given a chance? Perez or Gayle?

    For me, Armstrong has done OK this summer – but im not sure he is ready to be in the 1st team squad carrying us to the title. He will probably get little plying time if he stays, as he would be 4th choice forward. I’d like to see him get regular game time – at Championship level. Perhaps at one of the clubs expected to finish in mid table? Blackburn, Preston, Wolves, Forest, Wigan etc?

    I think this Tony Xia is a Charlatan. He said 30 to 40 million would be available. So far they have spent 3 and sold their best players. Their fans must be in despair. Cant see them finishing in the top 10. Maybe even a relegation dog fight. Dont feel sorry for them though after their chants at us. It would be hilarious to see them go down again.

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  29. Well they seem done deals , just seen photo of Clark at The training ground and Diame at the freeman .Both medicals done then but will these 2 be the last incoming ? I still think we need another Lb a left winger and possibly a striker .

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  30. The one thing McCormack gives you is guarantee of goals at this level. Considering we spent that much on Gayle and Ritchie it’s probably not a bad bit of business.

    Assume us not going in for him Means Rafa has got someone else lined up.

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  31. If we finally sell Sissoko possibly we’ll go after McCormack again? I think he would be the perfect fit for us.

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  32. G2 I think Thauvin is a total softy. Never took to him. He has no determination and is a pushover. Lazio give him a way out and he is even too scared to take that move because it’s unfamiliar ground to him and his Mrs is telling him to go back to France. He is not cut out for Newcastle and we need to get shot.

    I’d take McCormack too. He would make us stronger. End of. If he’s not coming here then like has already been said, Rafa must have another striker lined up.

    Hull must be gutted. Lose their best player to a team in a lower league. Manager walks out and really disappointing summer in terms of incomings. They will get spanked this year.

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  33. We’re getting close to being strong enough and deep enough to win this thing lads. Another striker, LB, LW, AMF, utility forward, utility defender, spare utility forward/defender and spare utility GK/defender and we’ll have taken care of business. 😆

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  34. Of course that’s not a complete list of what we need above. We can pick up the rest in the January window…

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  35. icedog:
    so we have no futher interest in Brighton player so say ssn,who then i wonder???

    Nobby Solano’s was spotted at SJP the other day Ice… ?

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  36. GeordieTwo:
    We’re getting close to being strong enough and deep enough to win this thing lads. Another striker, LB, LW, AMF, utility forward, utility defender, spare utility forward/defender and spare utility GK/defender and we’ll have taken care of business.

    GeordieTwo you missed a Back-up kit man and a second tea lady ,these positions should never be over looked . I think the kit man got pardewd and is still off form . 😉

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  37. Life is Black and White:
    Well they seem done deals , just seen photo of Clark at The training ground and Diame at the freeman .Both medicalsdone then but will these 2 be the last incoming ? I still think we need another Lb a leftwinger and possibly a striker .

    Caulkin at the times reckons 4 in mate

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  38. Yeah Nobby was invited down to our last friendly where he spoke with players and Rafa. Nice touch set up by Rafa and they will be inviting past players regularly now I understand. This is something that happens at other clubs and it’s nice to see us do it too. Rafa is having an amazing effect on public relations. isn’t it amazing what happens once a proper football man gets involved and gets free reign.

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  39. GeordieTwo:
    Who are the four ice mate?

    dont know mate,its the guy at the Times saying four to come in those two today plus another two,whos the other two i want to know

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  40. Kimtoon i wonder if the other 2 are the loans that Madrid want too offer in the Sissoko deal . We need to get him and Thauvin out the club quick before it starts disrupting the Squad.

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  41. Just been thinking ,whats happende too Toney ?i would of thought he might have had a little bit of game time pre season .

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  42. Interesting info Shamrock. I saw that Clark only started 16 games last year and was wondering if he was injured or they preferred players like Lescott ahead of him (who the Villa fans hate as well BTW). Anyway, on whoscored.com he rated a 6.87 which is actually OK. I am surprised it was that high as Villa had the worst defensive record in the league I think.

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  43. Sham, good post mate regarding Thauvin “He is not cut out for Newcastle “… the bloke is not cut out for football full stop… He’s let down so many clubs… get rid asap, and give the rocket scientist at the toon who recruited him, despite the fact that he was voted flop of the year by French punters…give him a slap too as he is on his way out…

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  44. Would anybody else find it funny for Sissoko to go to Madrid for 30 mil and sit on the bench for a year (9 sub appearances) before going to play for his mate at Palace after his reputation had returned to what it was at NUFC before his 3 good games at the Euros? I don’t really wish ill on him as he had a few good games for us but I think it would be deserving because of the way he has spouted off about how good he is so often.

    I would also take either of the players mentioned at Real Madrid on loan. Rafa must know them and maybe we can get a loan to buy deal done, even if there is a buy-back like with Morata. I think Madrid B play in the second division so the quality of football should have been good.

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  45. Just looked it up and Real Madrid B are in the Segunda B which is equivalent to the English League 1.

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  46. Before the Euros weren’t we asking 20 mil for Sissoko and other teams put his valuation at around 12 mil? I seem to remember West Brom were considering an offer at 12, but I could be wrong.

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  47. Life is Black and White:
    Kimtoon i wonder if the other 2 are the loans that Madrid want too offer in the Sissoko deal . We need to get him and Thauvin out the club quick before it starts disrupting the Squad.

    I don’t know , all I read was 4 in, and we weren’t pursuing the Knockheart deal.

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  48. Shamrock:
    http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11688/10519166/who-will-be-the-sky-bet-championships-top-scorer-for-the-201617-season

    Scroll down to the video of all our goals last time we were in the Championship. Would be nice to have a Kevin Nolan again, I must admit.

    Sham, this is the only thing bothering me, we still lack a Nolan or Carroll type player. I am wondering where we’ll get 90 goals from which is likely what we’ll need to win it. 70 will get us the playoffs probably. Can’t concede more than 45 either

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  49. Thauvin’s Mrs is having way too much input on where he plays as well. At the end of the day she should be backing him not putting hurdles in the way of potential moves.

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  50. This is what Caulkin posted yesterday

    George Caulkin Verified account 
    ‏@CaulkinTheTimes
    Except to say that #Nufc still looking for a striker, midfielder, winger and possibly a left-back.

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  51. Interview with Steven Taylor in his new Portland shirt. He says a few interesting things like he was in a comfort zone at NUFC and that is why he wasn’t doing as well as he could have. Also, said that NUFC offered him a 1 year pay as you play deal that didn’t offer him the security he needed. He forgets that he was injured so much and had fallen down the pecking order so that was really the reason he was offered that deal. Finally, the sponsors for Portland are a company called SIMPLE and it is on Taylor’s shirt. I might be childish but I find it funny that he is wearing a shirt with “simple” on it as he was rumoured to not have a lot upstairs.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2016/08/02/steven-taylor-i-was-in-a-comfort-zone-at-newcastle-but-now-i-hav/

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  52. Do we really need 2 out and out wingers playing at the same time? We have Ritchie but why couldn’t Shelvey play out wide in a sort of Solano role or how Beckham played for Man U. Obviously, he is not of their quality but neither of them had pace.

    We would also have Aarons as backup as an out and out winger (if fit) and Perez, Riviere or even Janmaat could fill in on the flank but not as a pure winger.

    What I would like to see is Aarons remain fit because I think he would solve this problem, but I also think we have many options if we don’t buy another winger. Maybe Thauvin will have no takers?

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  53. I see an article on this site referring to Mick Quinn as a “club legend”. Didn’t he play only 2 or 3 seasons in the second division? I think I would have a higher standard for “club legend”.

    I know the Chronicle label him that way but that is because he is a columnist and I certainly wouldn’t want to be taking any lead from Ryder and his cronies.

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  54. Kimtoon:
    This is what Caulkin posted yesterday

    George Caulkin Verified account 
    ‏@CaulkinTheTimes
    Except to say that #Nufc still looking for a striker, midfielder, winger and possibly a left-back.

    Kim – Caulkin is normally quite good, but I think most of those would be off the back of someone leaving to create space in the squad – I’m not saying like for like replacement, but players will need to leave first I reckon.

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  55. Sharpy, yep pretty sure a few would have to go too. Reckon , Sissy and Tiote could go and I still think Thauvin will go out . The Sissy cash should cover a couple in.

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