Fringe players getting the job done

Defensive clinic yesterday

Defensive clinic yesterday

Wearing the black and white stripes for Newcastle United is an honour. Many players have donned the uniform of the Toon and represented the team admirably. Generally, I think a player needs to be of a certain standard before he steps out wearing the black and white stripes but as long as you give 100% every game, you are OK by my book.

This brings me on to Mike Williamson. I do not think Mike Williamson is good enough to represent Newcastle United. I didn’t think he was good enough when he came off the bench at Goodison Park, I didn’t think he was good enough when he lined out against Liverpool. I didn’t think he was good enough in our 2 wins against Spurs and Chelsea, and even after his master-class yesterday in the 2-1 win against West Brom, I still do not think he is good enough.

I am not saying that I do not appreciate his endeavour. I really do, and if his commitment and energy could rub off on our more talented players, they would be the better for it. I want the club to retain the services of Willo as I think he would be an excellent bench option to have to plug gaps when injuries or suspensions affect the first team, but the very fact that Williamson is being spoken of as our No. 1 centre-half surely goes to show how weak we have become in this area?

There is a saying ‘hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard’ and I think Willo is one of the hardest working players we have in the squad, it is just a shame he doesn’t have a little bit more talent.

I am not one to forget dross performances purely because of a decent run of form, and while it may sound harsh or critical, it is not intended to come off as such. If he can do it for the rest of the season then perhaps I will alter my view. After 4 games? Bit premature – the same can be said for Shola, Santon and Tiote.

Just want to emphasise the fact that I am delighted that these players have improved upon their recent mediocre performances and are actually contributing to the team. However, that is the least we should expect from them as professional footballers. So in short, I am delighted things are improving. I am delighted that some of our fringe players have stepped up to the mark. I am delighted that we have now won 4 on the bounce. If we have a semi-decent December we could find ourselves comfortably top half coming into January where we would need to sign another dominant centre half to upgrade upon Mike Williamson, and a dominant centre forward to upgrade upon Ameobi.

While some of you may be thinking ‘but they are playing so well, we can’t replace them’ to this I would say, stop being so damn sentimental and think of the long-term good of the team. Ameobi and Williamson are not the future of this great club. We can take their decent performances when they come, but we need not rely on them.

As always, your views are welcome.



  1. There is just no satisfying some people Willo has been been different class since he has been back in the team he does the ugly side of the game like heading the ball and clearing the ball so other players can shine.


  2. You’re supporting the wrong club mate. You sound like you’d be happier supporting Manchester Utd. Making condescending remarks about the likes of Williamson who has played out of his skin, and has proved that at the top of his game, he is good enough for the Prem, is a poor way of showing support. We have always had players like this – Aaron Hughes, Andy O’Brien, Ryan Taylor etc . Unshowy, do the dirty work, never give less than 100%; every club has them, every club needs them. The secret is to have lots of skilful players as well. Biggest secret is playing as a team – skilled and less skilled together. That’s what we have at the moment.


  3. The Mike Williamson and Shola Ameobi of 2013-14 are contributing greatly to the current team effort and performance. Who cares what they have or haven’t done in the past? They have helped to get us to 6th in the league which is far beyond the expectations of most fans.


    1. On current form they deserve to keep their places, but past form would indicate that we need to sign better players in order to progress – that is my point. While they have been excellent in recent games, past form would seem to indicate that it will not last. I’m not slating them as both men were superb yesterday, but I am merely stating a fact.


        1. I love whole hearted debate, a frank exchange of differing views is great. I will never tell someone I disagree with that they’re stupid or wrong. My own views are even open to changing as well. If Willo can keep up this form and prove that it is not a flash in the pan but evidence of him upping his game consistently then I am all for it and will gladly write an article swallowing a big piece of humble pie.

          I slated Tiote, called for him to be dropped and even sold, but recent performances have shown that he is improving as a player. The same can be said for Santon as well. So I may have to write apology pieces for those 2 if they keep up their recent form! Haha

          I have very strong opinions and I verbalise these opinions, but like all opinions, they are prone to bias, poor judgement and could be entirely wrong!

          It’s not the outcome of right and wrong that I am concerned with, but the process of debating the issue.


  4. Ciaran, I don’t see any explanation as to why you don’t think Williamson isn’t good enough. You just sound like a deluded armchair critic repeating a load of empty cliches which you can’t substantiate.

    You suggest that all of his performnaces until now have been “dross,” do you actually realise how ignorant and uninformed that soumds? We came fifth with Williamson at the heart of out defence, his clean sheet record has been remarkable and we would have been lost without his aerial abilty as Colo is weak in that area. You were totally wrong about Vurnon Anita too.

    When you know nothing, it’s best to keep it to yourself. 😉


    1. Worky

      Take a step back before you jump the gun. I haven’t stated that all of his performances have been dross though he has been prone to some shocking performances.

      In the season we finished 5th he played just over 20 league games, and that was only because Saylor was out injured, so to claim he was ‘at the heart of the defence’ is an overstatement.

      He is a very limited defender. His passing is very poor (though improving) and his reading of the game is average at best.

      Also as far as using the clean sheet record, while it makes for interesting reading does not automatically mean Williamson is our best defender.

      As for being wrong about Anita, what was I wrong about? As a blog writer you more than most should know that all we are doing is offering opinions, not attempting to best each other.

      Must say, I’ve lost a lot of respect for you with your patronising and frankly rude comment.


      1. “As a blog writer you more than most should know that all we are doing is offering opinions”

        Opnions are like arseholes, everybody has one as they say, but they’re pretty worthless if you don’t know anything about your subject. Why isn’t Williamson good enough to represent the team? at least try to explain. If you don’t know, then why are you writing about it, or about football in general for that matter?


  5. Whilst Williamson, Colo and MBiwa can make a tackle, Williamson has about the best concentration of anyone in the Newcastle United team and none of the other defenders have come close at aerial duels in defence. Colo has never been too good in the air and Mapou has left alot to be desired in that area so far too

    Newcastle United don’t have a perfect defender, we need Williamson for the qualities I mentioned above plus a Coloccini or Yanga MBiwa who are a bit better than Williamson when it comes to playing the ball out of defence on the floor. Together, Williamson alongside one of the other two I’ve mentioned work together well, that’s how football works. It’s isn’t just about about putting the 11 players with the biggest names out there as some fans seem to think.

    I told them to buy Jan Vertonghen but they said he was too dear, now he’s worth twice what Spurs paid for him. They should go for Fabian Schär now but as things are, Williamson is probably our most indispensible central defender. If Yanga MBiwa can continue to iron out his early difficulties and get better in the air that might change but for now,,,


    1. I agree that aerially he is the best we have at the club, but instead of lauding him as the one to perform this role week in week out for us, I recommend we buy another centre half who can perform this role even better. Which is why I was surprised that we did not go in for Douglas. Didn’t make sense to me.

      Surely then having M’biwa, who plays the ball out of defence, coupled with a dominant centre half who is of better quality than Williamson, would make the ideal centre half pairing.

      I am not saying Williamson does not have a role to play at the club, rather pointing out that at the moment we are relying of previously derided players to step up to the plate, and recent form would indicate that they cannot maintain this standard of performance and therefore should be upgraded upon.


  6. Cieran m8, if you can remember we had discussions about what is needed for a decent football team, I was harping on about strength and physicality, we have Tiote back to his best and with Sissoko being so physically strong we were getting their, with the simple as you like style of Willo and the physical presence which Shola has also brought into the mix we now have what I was wishing for, and look at the difference which it has made to us, however I also feel that neither Shola nor Willo should be first choice, we should be looking for an upgrade on both of them, but it is the type of game which they both have which is what was needed for us and based solely on the fact that we don’t have anyone who can play their type of game then they have got to be picked.

    On a similar trend, I did ask you to look for certain frailties with Fabricio Colocinni as I have always stated that he is a liability, if you recall I asked you to look and judge atfer a sustained period of games, granted Colo has missed a few but personally I cannot understand why Mbiwa was dropped for Colo, yes players need to be kept fresh but Mbiwa was not an ever-present as he had missed some previous games, and to drop him for a very poor Colo is simply just wrong, I have been preaching for years about how slow, how weak in the air and how physically weak he is which allows himself to be to easily pushed off the ball actually make him a very poor defender, Colo is hopeless and the sooner he leaves the better.

    Is it just a coincidence that for the first time in Willo’s Newcastle career he has had a run of games with a decent partner ( Mbiwa ) and most of us are now in agreement that Willo may not be the best in the world but he can do a decent job, I’ve said all along that Colo is one of the worst defenders we have ever had and judging by Willo’s current performances alongside Mbiwa it appears that Colo was dragging Willo down and not the other way around as most perceived it to be.

    Get rid of Colo asap as we can all be sure that if our run comes to an end and we start to concede to easily again it will be Willo making way for either Saylor or Mbiwa to partner Colo, and that would be a travesty as Colo is by a distance the worst cb of them all, harsh but true and if you still cannot see how poor Colo is then all I can say is that you must be in denial.


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