ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - Newcastle United
soccernet blog
Newcastle United
Posted by Marc Duffy on 02/24/2012

Settling into the Premier League proves to be tough for many footballers when arriving from overseas. Sometimes they settle after a rough spell - Colo and Enrique are great examples of that, but other times they are gone before we really even noticed they were here.

Over the years we have endured more than our fair share of imported flops and here is a team that pound for pound are arguably the worst of them!:


John Karelse

£900K, signed by Ruud Gullit from NAC Breda
Nationality: Dutch
Played: 3

Maybe a bit harsh since he cost under a million, but we have been lucky with goalkeepers over the years. John Careless had a bit of a 'mare in his debut vs Southampton shipping in 4 goals. Our disastrous start to the season continued and after a few games we never heard from him again.


Alessandro Pistone

£4.5m, signed by Kenny Dalglish from Internazionale
Nationality: Italian
Played: 46 (1 goal)

Pistone had a lot of ability but little heart, as was allegedly acknowledged at a team Christmas party when a team mate gave him a sheeps heart in the Secret Santa. He made a decent start to life at NUFC, but never progressed and was loaned out before permanently making a move to Everton.

Didier Domi

£4m, signed by Ruud Gullit from PSG
Nationality: French
Played: 55 (3 goals including 1 v the mackems)

Another young player who looked the part at first only to never quite progress. Possibly a case of poor handling, he complained of homesickness and ended up going back to PSG before coming back to England on loan at Leeds.


£5.8m, signed by Ruud Gullit from Real Mallorca
Nationality: Spanish
Played: 17

The first of my our truly woeful players in this team. Marcelino had looked pretty good in a Mallorca team who were promoted to La Liga, finished 5th in their first season and made the final of the European Cup Winners Cup in their second. However at Newcastle he was absolutely shocking. Almost constantly injured (including several months out with an injured finger) Marcelino never settled. My main memory of him (other than often seeing him on the Quayside) was of him attempting to header clear a long ball - the ball bounced up as he bent forwards and it hit him in the face.

Jean Alain Boumsong

£8m, signed by Graeme Souness from Rangers a few months after they signed him on a free and at a time when they really needed the money..... (though not as much as they do now)
Nationality: French
Played: 47

I saw him play at Highbury in one of his first (if not his first) games. He looked excellent. He wasn't. To be fair to Mr Boumsong he did play alongside Titus Bramble quite often, but he was just woeful. Big, powerful and fairly quick, he had all of what he required to be a success other than actual footballing ability. He was often caught out and looked clumsy most of the time. One of the worst signings in the history of our football club. Thanks Souness.


Cristian Bassedas

£4.5m, signed by Sir Bobby Robson fom Velez Sarsfield
Nationality: Argentinian
Played: 24 (1 goal)

Bassedas picked up a broken bone in his foot in a pre season game. This left him out of the picture for a while and when he finally got a run out he never really got going. He failed to adapt to life in the Premier League and departed after only 24 games.

Silvio Maric

£4m, signed by Ruud Gullit from Croatia Zagreb
Nationality: Croatian
Played: 23

Many of us were quite excited by the prospect of signing Maric. Rumours were that he was a firm fan-favourite in his homeland and was a bit of a footballer. Either the Croatian league was absolutely abysmal at the time or the rumours were invented to maximise a transfer fee. He was very poor and he also struggled to cope with the pace and physical nature of the game.

Hugo Viana

£8m, signed by Sir Bobby Robson from Sporting Lisbon
Nationality: Portuguese
Played: 39 (2 goals)

Hugo should have been a banker of a signing having just won European U21 Footballer of the Year, but the transfer was further proof that there are no guarantees in the game. He showed some class at times but he wasn't the quickest. He didn't like a tackle either and appeared not to enjoy himself too much. He scores poorly on investment vs return.

Albert Luque

£10.5m, signed by Graeme Souness from Deportivo (yes, that is about £19,000,000 Souness spent on Luque and Boumsong)
Nationality: Spanish
Played: 21 (3 goals, 1 in the league which was against the mackems in a 4 v 1 rout at their place)

TEN. MILLION. POUNDS. How? Perhaps Shepherd and Souness scouted him on YouTube on which he looked very good. He cost about £10.4m more than his true worth. He went off to Ajax on loan and had a bit of a fight with Suarez, which is understandable.



£5.7m, signed by Dennis Wise from Deportivo
Nationality: Spanish
Played: 9 (1 goal)

Some supporters could argue that Xisco has never really been given a chance at the club and there may be some truth in that, though when he has turned out he has been poor. Deportivo have taken us to the cleaners over the years and that is where Xisco currently resides on loan, though he hardly ever features as he is usually injured

Obafemi Martins

£10.2m, signed by Glenn Roeder from Internazionale
Nationality: Nigerian
Played: 88 (28 goals)

I already know that some of you will disagree with this selection. Oba has quite a few fans out there, me included, but the fact is that he cost an awful lot of money, was inconsistent and played a part in the relegation season. Some of his goals were spectacular - not least the goal at Spurs, but he was never a £10m player as he has proven since drifting from club to club and always under delivering.


Andreas Andersson, Sweden, £3m from AC Milan signed by Dalglish
Stephane Guivarc'h, France, £4.5m from Auxerre signed by Dalglish
David Rozehnal, Czech Republic, £3m from PSG signed by Allardyce

So that first XI cost a grand total of over £65,000,000, or £175,940 per appearance not including wages. Well over £1,600,000 per goal scored.

Compare that to the combined total of approximately £31m spent on the starting XI who beat Manchester united 3 v 0 this season.....

I have a nagging feeling that I have left a high profile player or two out of this side - perhaps you could remind me?

Follow ESPNsoccernetFC on Twitter


Posted by Mike on 02/25/2012

Since we brought him in from Real, does Owen count as an import?

On a more serious note, N'Zogbia and Onyewu would be my additions.

Posted by nufcman on 02/25/2012

Michael Owen!

Posted by VanCanToonFan on 02/25/2012


Posted by sprout on 02/25/2012

you missed Alain Goma and Patrick Kluivert

Posted by Chris on 02/25/2012

Michael Owen, Geremi and Alan Smith come to mind. Honourable mention goes to Lee Bowyer for his on field actions.

Posted by Gavin Smith on 02/25/2012

Errrr... Michael Owen.

Posted by Peter on 02/25/2012

What about amdy Faye who was actually the worst footballer ive ever seen?

Posted by Chris Torino on 02/25/2012

Alan Smith (6 mil + huge amount in wages)
Kieron Dyer
Joey Barton

Posted by Kazenga on 02/25/2012

Good List but how about a certain J D Tomasson, which actually has become a disease on our team that has effected quite a few of our strikers.

Posted by julle on 02/25/2012

why is Micheal owen not on this list..if Oba is on it Owen should be as well, he was with NUFC for longer and played fewer matches..and don't say because he was injured because when he wasn't he fully fit he would jump at England and get injured on In International duty over and over again

Posted by ToonSG on 02/25/2012

Jon Dahl Tomasson? Not a flop but for a player of his calibre I guess he underperformed.

Posted by Damian on 02/25/2012

Jon Dahl Tomasson?

Posted by J M on 02/25/2012

Surprised to see no mention of either Cacapa or Beye. Both were well-regarded for their career experience, with Cacapa having leadership history too. Yet both players were pretty shocking, it has to be said.

I'd have probably used Michael Owen instead of Obafemi Martins too. Owen cost the club a ridiculous amount of money, both in transfer fees and wages. A figure that, with how little he actually played, he never really payed back.

Posted by Louis on 02/26/2012

Michael Owen has to go on the list, immense talent back then but never lasted more than 3 consecutive games for Newcastle.

Posted by kelechi on 02/26/2012

How on earth is obafemi in your list,a return of a goal every 3 games,wit him outwide durin da relegation scrap unda roeder and shearer,micheal owen alan smith cost huge sums and did nothing why did u put him dia,he played in a scrap newcastle team

Posted by davidif on 02/26/2012

Seriously?????? you put Oba on the list?!!! what of the several mediocre strikers you mentioned like Stephane Guivarc'h??

Posted by Adam Sharp on 02/27/2012

That was a great article Marc!

Not sure who would be considered worst in the transfer market based on those players Rudd Gullit or Graeme Souness?

Both had quite the mare really when you look at there overall record with expensive overseas signings. Its like the seemed to make all there decisions based on playing Championship Manager.

I remember Gullit seemed obsessed with signing up unknown overseas goalkeeper that would play once and then never be heard of again.

And this was when they had Shay Given on there books!
Absolute rubbish as a manager.

Its lucky the list is restricted to only those players that were imported from outside the UK otherwise it would be never ending. Micheal Owen, Damien Duff, Mark Viduka, Alan Smith, Kieron Dyer, Duncan Ferguson, Sol Campbell ect...

Posted by Alcoom on 02/27/2012

What about Alan Smith?

Posted by Ed on 02/27/2012

Micheal Owen, Patrick kluivert

Posted by marcus on 02/27/2012

if this list included british players then the first person on my list would be titus bramble.

Posted by Marc on 02/27/2012

Thanks for all of the comments folks. A coup,e of points to respond to:

As Owen was an England player from Cheshire I didn't count him as an import.

Alan Smith is from Yorkshire and we signed him from Lancashire - DEFINITELY NOT an import!

I did mention Guivarc'h

Faye, Geremi, Babyaro played in the league - we didn't import them

I left Tomasson out on the grounds that he went on to great things, thought he is a good suggestion

Cacrapa and Kluivert were free transfers therefore not bad compared to some

I thought Beye was excellent when he was here. Goma was decent too.

Still - its all about opinions and I appreciate all of yours

Posted by Chris Taylor1983 on 02/28/2012

How about Carl Cort, Des Hamilton and Stephen Glass. Who cares if they're not import, they were as bad as any Newcastle signings in the clubs history.

Posted by rackun on 02/28/2012

Faustino Asprilla, Newcastle was 12 points ahead of Man U when he was signed. His inability to live up to expectations cost Newcastle a Premiership title

Posted by malfurious on 02/28/2012

Even though Cacrapa was a free, I'll never forget that game against Portsmouth when he was subbed after like 20 minutes... we got hammered that game

Posted by Dan oz on 02/28/2012

Wow there are a lot of rtards on here. The title quite clearly says "imported" line-up.

I would say Daniel Cordone.

Beye was fantastic, a standout in a sh*te season.

Geremi? He was ok in small doses.

Sylvain Distin was fairly poo.

Fumaca, what the hell happened to him?

Nacho Gonzalez...Dennis Wise really knows how to pick them.

You should do a best imported now. That should be difficult in some cases :D

Demba Ba FTW though :D

Posted by Edwin Teo on 02/28/2012

Asprilla and temuri ketsbaia if you know them. Asprilla break the chemistry of a winning team and ketsbaia is er... Forgettable

Posted by drew on 02/28/2012

Would you consider a certain Daniel Cordone? He only played half a season and was shipped back to Argentina. However, i think it's hard to "out-do" Luque.

Posted by Marc on 02/28/2012

Thanks folks, some more responses: yep, we have certainly signed some domestic rubbish, no denying that. Good old Disco Des Hamilton.

Cordone was abysmal, but as a loan I didn't include him. I should have.

Fumanca is possibly the worst player I've ever seen.

Cacrapa. My brother came home from New York for that Portsmouth game. It is probably the worst individual performance I've seen. Benjani destroyed him. BENJANI!

I don't buy into the theory that Tino cost us the league. Not at all.

Cheers again.

Posted by david baxter on 02/28/2012

what about Gavilan?

Posted by david baxter on 02/28/2012

Laurent Charvet, Franck Dumas, George Georgiadis, Lionel Perez and what about that useless German Dietmar Hamman didnt he go on strike because he WANTED to join the scouse rats?

Posted by Daniel Costello on 02/29/2012

Claudio cacapa was terrible, as was Ignacio Gonzales, who never really had a game. Geremi was a pile of sh*t as well. It thought that Kluivert was ok. WTF are people mentioning Owen and Smith for though, they are clearly English.

Posted by Nidzam on 02/29/2012

Franck Dumas, Diego Gavilan

Posted by fabio on 03/01/2012

Clarence Acuna, anyone???
God, my grandpa thought he could have outplayed that fellow in midfield. My grandpa was 70 years old. Like Acuna, he wasn't able to run much too.

Posted by fendyoasis on 03/02/2012

Just wanna say..

Asprilla and Beye were one of Newcastles best players..especially Asprilla.

Posted by Patrick Connolly on 03/02/2012

In an interview with then Chelsea manager Jose Morinho when asked about Geremi's recent move to Newcastle he wryly smiled and simply replied, "No legs, next question."

Posted by Robert on 03/05/2012

Owen and Alan Smith are not in the list because they are not footballers from overseas. Read the title "the worst IMPORTED lineup in our history"

Posted by Kyle on 03/30/2012

Definately Alan Smith, what a waste! I can't believe someone mentioned Habib Beye! He was one of our better players in that horrible horrible season.

  Post your comment
Email Address:
characters left
Marc Duffy Marc Duffy is a National Account Manager in the alcoholic drinks industry - a career in alcohol was obviously the natural step after following Newcastle United for all of his 32 years. Marc blames his father for his obsession with Newcastle United - since attending his first game at the age of 4 Marc has endured many ups and downs, and despite the lack of silverware remains positive that a trophy will be won at some point in his lifetime! (Wait, does the Intertoto cup not count?) Follow Marc on Twitter @MarcSDuffy

RSS feed

Recent Posts