The worst £115m we’ve ever spent? – The ultimate XI of NUFC flops..

It would be pretty safe to say that Newcastle have signed a few stinkers over the years, so we thought what better to do than stick them in an all-time starting line-up for your own enjoyment!

Lining up in a tragic 3-4-3 formation, these players are bound to have had smoke blowing out of your ears at some point during your time as a fan…

STARTING 11:

GK – Matz Sels (£5m)

Signed ahead of the Championship season in 16/17, Sels was bought from Belgian side Gent for a reported £6.5million. One of Rafa Benitez’s worst signings, it didn’t take him long to lose the trust of the Spaniard. A calamitous error late on at Villa Park caused the Geordie faithful to turn on Sels just nine games into the campaign, with shot-stopper Karl Darlow proving a success for the remainder of the season. The Belgian’s career has since improved, as he is earning plaudits between the sticks for French side Strasbourg.

CB – Jean-Alain Boumsong (£8m)

A truly shocking signing, Boumsong was signed for £8million despite Rangers acquiring his services on a free transfer just five months earlier. The pick of a bad bunch of signings made during Graeme Souness’ time at the club, a string of poor performances saw Boumsong swiftly shifted out the door at St James’ Park just 18 months after his arrival, with Juventus – playing in Italy’s second tier after relegation due to match-fixing – stumping up £3million to take him off our hands. Terrible business!

CB – Titus Bramble (£5m)

Sir Bobby persuaded Freddy Shepherd to depart with £5million for Bramble back in July 2002, only for him to be voted ‘worst player in the Premier League’ by football newsletter The Fiver the following season. Boumsong’s partner in crime, Bramble helped create quite the comical double act during the mid-naughties for rival fans. One follower on our Facebook page claims he even saw opposition supporters celebrate when he came on as a sub! Bramble did go some way to make it up to us a few years later, however, when he got sent off in a Sunderland shirt for a tackle on Andy Carroll in that memorable 5-1 thrashing back in October 2010.

CB – Marcelino (£6m)

Signed for a whopping £5.8million back in 1999, it would be hard to find a Premier League centre-half made of glass more than Marcelino. We paid a hefty sum of money for his services considering the time period, and Marcelino repaid that faith by managing just 17 appearances in four seasons to cement his spot in our ‘Flop XI.’ He will best be remembered for damaging a tendon in his finger, which ruled him out of action for three months and caused hysterics on Tyneside at the time, with the Spaniard having the cheek in recently to say he was treated unfairly during his spell at the club!

RM – Remy Cabella (£10m)

Signed by Alan Pardew in 2014 for £12million, fans had hoped that Cabella’s style would see a mouth-watering blend of Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa who came before him, but what we really got was a player who just couldn’t be bothered in a black and white shirt. It is hard to believe he made 34 appearances in his only season for us, as he literally did nothing worthy of note while he played here. Now on the wrong side of 30, Cabella currently plys his trade for Russian club Krasnodar, where he once again struggles to make an impact… playing just twice since his 2019 arrival.

CM – Henri Saviet (£5m)

It’s crazy to think that Saviet is still contracted to the club, with his current deal not expected to end until summer 2021. A clear downside of the club’s ‘long contract’ policy, his £45k a week wages mean that the Senegal international has cost the club around £14million since his arrival – for just five appearances in return! The sooner this man is moved on the better.

CM – Ignacio González (Loan)

Who? You might ask. Well, considering he made just two loan appearances Gonzales certainly had a major impact on the fortunes of our club – only for the worse. When Dennis Wise signed Gonzales – despite only watching him play on YouTube – above Keegan’s head it proved the final straw for King Kev, who had just had to watch James Milner sold to Aston Villa without having a voice. Keegan claimed in his autobiography that this deal was made as a ‘favour’ to two South American agents, which just sounds like pure corruption to us. Following Keegan’s departure, we would go on to have another three managers in a season that would ultimately end in relegation. A costly mistake to say the least!

LM – Florian Thauvin (£13m)

Brought in as part of the deal that saw Remy Cabella end his disastrous spell at the club, Thauvin proved to be every bit as bad as his French compatriot. We could easily just cut-and-paste the above section about Cabella and place it in here, as his influence on Tyneside was almost identical, with Thauvin even wearing the same shirt number! He managed just six months in the North-East, before being sent back to Marseille on loan, where he has been ever since. He states that criticism he received for wearing a tuxedo on match-days severely affected his performances, yeah right! The annoying thing is, he has turned out to be quite some player since his return to France, earning his way into the national squad. In truth, he clearly has talent, but never wanted to be here and proved to be a real waste of money and time.

RF – Xisco (£6m)

One of the worst pieces of business in the Mike Ashley era, Xisco was brought in by Dennis Wise alongside the previously mentioned Gonzales. Signed for £6million and on a 5-year contract worth a ridiculous £60,000 a week, the Spanish striker actually scored on his debut, a 2-1 defeat to Hull City, but that was all we got. He struggled in his next eight appearances and spent the remaining four years of his time here on loan, costing us a disgusting £14million in the process. Add that to the £6million paid for his services, and you can bet that the signing of XIsco isn’t the wisest £20million Mike Ashley has spent! The Chronicle rightly named him as one of Newcastle United’s worst-ever strikers back in 2013.

ST – Michael Owen (£17m)

Easily the most disliked player on this list, Owen spent the majority of his time here either injured, or wishing he was back at Liverpool. A club-record signing, Owen was expected to fill the void left by the ageing Alan Shearer once he retired, but all Toon fans got in return was a player who literally bled the club dry. £110,000 a week makes him the highest-paid player in our club’s history, yet all he has done since his departure is tear into the club’s fanbase while openly admitting he chose not to play in our crunch clash with Aston Villa on the final day of the 08/09 season. Figures estimate that his time at the club cost us around £45million, with him leaving to join Manchester United on a free following relegation. So aye, thanks for absolutely nothing, Michael!

LF – Joelinton (£40M)

It may seem harsh to include the Brazillian at this stage, as he still has the opportunity to turn his life around at St James’ Park, especially given his age. But £40million is just too much of a price tag to ignore. Given the fact we have never spent this sort of money on a player before, a goal return of 1 in 29 Premier League appearances blows every other contender out the park for a spot in this team. Everyone reading this obviously wishes for Joelinton’s fortunes to change at the club, but for now, at least, he must accept his place up front!

Manager – Steve McClaren

The only manager that Mike Ashley has truly backed at St James’ Park, Steve McClaren is an absolute shoo-in to be the man leading this Newcastle side out. He was given a whopping £80million to assemble a side with the likes of Gini Wijnaldum, Jonjo Shelvey, Andros Townsend and Aleksandr Mitrovic but still couldn’t keep us up! Most Newcastle fans gave him a chance despite a wobbly CV, probably with blinded optimism following the depressing reign of John Carver. Rafa Benitez eventually took us down despite going undefeated in our last five league games, with everybody who knows anything about football attributing that relegation down to McClaren.

SUBS:

John Karlese – Signed by Rudd Gullit for £1million in 1998, the goalkeeper made three appearances for us, conceding four on his debut against Southampton. A real waste of what was good money back then!

Yanga-Mbiwa – Billed as the future of our defence when signed in 2013 after captaining Montpellier to Ligue 1 glory, the Frenchman didn’t get anywhere close to expectations.

Siem De Jong – Another injury-ravaged player to steal a living at our club, Siem De Jong played 22 times in three years, scoring one goal. His brother, Luuk, was just as bad!

Albert Luque – Ironically, his name is still sung due to his late hammer blow to ‘wrap up’ a 4-1 win over Sunderland in 2006. This proved to be his only league goal for the club after a £9million move.

Stephane Guivarch – Big things were expected from the 1998 World Cup winner, but he proved to be another flop. 1 solitary goal against Liverpool is all he did in a Newcastle shirt before being sold to Rangers 4 months after his arrival.

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

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