April 5, 2012
What a season we are having! Isn't it great? Some superb football and featuring in the top six pretty much throughout. We can thank a lot of people for this - not least the African contingent in our side. Tiote has been here the longest and battles through each and every game as if his life is at stake. Then in came Demba - now that lad can play and he even brings his friends with him. His Senegal team mate Papiss Cisse has been a tremendous addition to the squad, coming in at a vital time and (at time of writing) averaging a goal per game!
Where did it all start with African footballers coming in to play for NUFC? Not that long ago actually.
Here is a list of all African footballers who have played in the Newcastle United first team, in chronological order (and before you jump in, I have not included Shola who, despite being born in Nigeria has only ever represented England at international levels nor have I included Kaz LuaLua who has yet to commit his future to England or his place of birth, DR Congo)
And as ever - if I have missed someone please let me know!
February 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!:
February 21, 2012
Danny Guthrie's stock has been rising in the opinion of many Newcastle fans recently with some solid Premier League performances.
So how do his numbers stack up vs his two heart-of-the-midfield comrades?
I have taken a look at Danny's stats (individual, team and only looking at games started in the Premier League) this season and compared them to Cabaye and Tiote - there are some interesting learnings:
September 23, 2011
For all of Ossie Ardilesâ€™ faults as Newcastle manager, his legacy was the blooding of some excellent, young, local talent in the first team.
Steve Watson, Steve Howey, Alan Thompson, Lee Clark and stylish left-back Robbie Elliott all got games when most other managers wouldnâ€™t have taken the chance and all of them went on to pick up England honours at one level or another.
It would be easy to argue that these lads represent the best generation of young players we have produced in decades. Encouragingly, the current crop could well surpass those lads but the difference is that, unlike the league of nations players that we enjoy watching today, all of â€˜the Class of 91/ 92â€™ were local.
Robbie made his first team debut in 1991 and went on to make 142 appearances scoring 11 goals over two separate spells â€“ not a bad return for a full-back. He also picked up a couple of England U21 Caps.
Robbie is probably best remembered for his reaction to scoring his first goal for the club in a 3 v 1 win at Filbert Street on the opening day of the 94/ 95 season â€“ The Funky Chicken was born. (If you canâ€™t remember, think of the three goal celebrations Kevin Nolan demonstrated on October 31st 2010!)
These days Robbie is working for Nike and US Soccer. I caught up with him earlier this weekâ€¦..
Nobby and Robbie
August 23, 2011
Kevin Keegan brought Shaka Hislop to Newcastle in August 1995 for a fee of Â£1.575 million from Reading. Shaka went on to make 53 appearances for Newcastle including a number of games during the season when we came oh so close to winning the Premier League title.
He played for Trinidad & Tobago in World Cup 2006 and collected 26 International caps in total (as well as making one appearance for England U21's!)
Shaka can now be seen working on ESPN Press Pass and is a very highly regarded pundit. You can also follow him on Twitter @ShakaHislop
I recently caught up with him to gather his thoughts on The Entertainers, Newcastle United now and a whole lot more.....
Shaka in a rather colourful NUFC keeper shirt
July 9, 2011
One of the most popular talking points amongst Newcastle fans in this off season has been about which keeper should start the season as number 1. It is the only area of the squad in which we have three solid options all vying for one spot.
Opinions vary greatly with each keeper seemingly having their fair share of supporters and critics.
Below I highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each of the candidates - and I would love to hear your thoughts too.
July 6, 2011
Despite having only one outfield player in the England ranks at any level from U16 to senior (Adam Campbell, U16's), the future is bright at the Newcastle United Academy.
There are few things better than seeing an Academy kid make it - especially if the kid is a Geordie.
Over the years you could build a world beating football team from players born on Tyneside - Shearer, the Charlton's, Gazza, Beardo, Milburn, Brian Robson - the list is immense. In recent years the Tyneside World-beater production line has slowed down, though plans are afoot to combat this.
Having said that many of the current crop are adopted Geordie's!
So who will break through into the first team this season? Will anyone? By making the break through I mean feature regularly not just play a couple of games like Fergie did last season.
Here are the likely lads:
One of Newcastle's new crop of youngsters
© Getty Images
July 4, 2011
In a couple of weeks time I will be interviewing Newcastle United's versatile Scouser Ryan Taylor, and I would very much like to base the interview around questions from you, the fans.
If you have a question for Ryan (be as creative as you like, within reason!) then leave them on the comments section below (I wont publish them until after the interview) or on my Twitter account @MarcSDuffy
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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