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3 minutes ago, Monkeys Fist said:

That would break the No.1 unwritten rule of Dad jokes, which is…


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A geordie lad goes to the Doctor with a Newcastle Brown bottle sticking out of his foot.

'Nothing to worry about' said the Doctor .. 'it's just an ingrowing Toon Ale'.

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Mrs. F. is becoming increasingly controlling at home, but she went too far today when she tried to stop me doing my favourite pastime of pretending to be a flamingo. 
I had to put my foot down. 

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The 2010s: Newcastle United’s team of the decade

By George Caulkin and Chris Waugh Nov 24, 2019 22 

In celebration of the sporting decade that is coming to a close, writers from The Athletic have been picking their teams of the 2010s — here Chris Waugh and George Caulkin name their Newcastle United XI.

Goalkeeper: Tim Krul

Krul was at Newcastle for 12 years, long enough to see and hear just about everything, to fall in love and marry a Geordie girl, to have a daughter.

“Imagine if we had somebody who really backed the team,” the Dutchman speculated recently about his long spell at St James’ Park. “Can you imagine the city? I would love to see it happen. I think it can. Why not? The set-up is there, the passion, the fans. But we keep saying it!”

The goalkeeper made a nerveless debut in a 2006 UEFA Cup tie away to Italy’s Palermo but came to the fore during the following decade, earning eight caps for the Netherlands and establishing himself as a fundamental cog in the side that finished fifth in the 2011-12 Premier League. It was “a season where everything went right for us,” he says. “I’ve said it for years; that was the time to invest.”

Centre-back: Jamaal Lascelles

In February 2016, Newcastle lost 3-0 at Everton and, as Lascelles walked off the pitch following his late dismissal, he was caught mouthing, “No one gives a fuck” on camera. The club were en route to another dismal relegation, the second under Ashley’s ownership, but their young centre-half was one of the few members of a disorganised dressing room to recognise their plight and grasp responsibility. It meant something.

That summer, new manager Benitez named Lascelles as captain, even though he lacked experience. “He was an important play for us and played a crucial role in our subsequent promotion,” Benitez tells The Athletic. “People forget his age sometimes.” Newcastle went on to finish 10th and then 13th in their first two years back and Lascelles played his part, leading from the back and fronting up when required; powerful, committed and with an eye for goal. More than anything, he cares.

Centre-back: Fabricio Coloccini

Any player who has a line in a song about them in which fans declare that they will “let you shag my wife” must have been popular.

Yet that was not always the case for Coloccini. During his first season on Tyneside, the curly-haired Argentine struggled to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League and Newcastle got relegated. But, having struck up a friendship with compatriot Gutierrez, the pair remained at St James’ Park, led Newcastle back to the top flight, and then represented the club magnificently during the first half of the 2010s, with Coloccini serving as captain for five seasons.

“He’s the best centre-half I’ve ever played with,” former team-mate Mike Williamson told The Athletic. “He was a true leader, but in a different sense of the word. He wasn’t loud or vocal; he just led by example.”

A ball-playing centre-back who spent eight years at the club, Coloccini remains a cult hero — with fans still using the “I want curly hair too” chant as part of their away-day repertoire.

Centre-back: Paul Dummett

From shouts of, “Dummett, you’re shite” — his words — to chants of, “One of our own”, it has been a slow-burn sort of career for Newcastle United’s Mr Reliable.

Capable of playing at left-back or, more comfortably, centre-half, the Geordie Wales international defender has been described by Benitez as one of the must underrated players he has ever coached. “Paul is very clever in terms of understanding the game and tactics,” he says.

Dummett has had to work hard for appreciation but working hard is one of his great strengths and compensation comes for his lack of flair — he will never win prizes for attacking prowess — in his solidity, a relish for defending and consistent seven-out-of-10 performances.

That makes him a manager’s dream and, increasingly, admired by supporters, even if “it still feels weird” to hear them sing his name in a complimentary manner.

Right-wing: Matt Ritchie

“Matt is mad,” Benitez says, “but in a very positive way.” That feels like the perfect description of a whole-hearted player who has driven Newcastle like a dervish since his arrival from Bournemouth in 2016.

Ritchie is not an impish winger, blessed with delicate touches or sublime creativity, nor does he possess blistering pace, but he remains the heartbeat of a limited side, setting and maintaining its tone and tempo. He plays as if he is permanently furious, haring up and down the pitch, cajoling team-mates, refusing to accept any slip in standards, and swearing profusely when he is substituted after running himself into the ground.

He is what Geordies would call a “radge packet”, and what Benitez calls, “a player of great commitment and passion.” Earlier this season, when Newcastle won at Tottenham Hotspur, Christian Atsu made a vital clearance; Ritchie promptly booted him up the backside. Mad.

Centre-midfield: Yohan Cabaye

It seems strange to choose a player who went on strike in a futile attempt to force a transfer away from Tyneside, but Cabaye’s class made a premature departure inevitable.

The signing who pretty much convinced Newcastle to rigorously pursue a so-called “French Revolution”, Cabaye was acquired from Ligue 1 champions Lille in 2011 after chief scout Graham Carr learned of his £4.4 million release clause. The French midfielder’s impact was immediate, with Cabaye the creative quarterback whose passing range and set-piece mastery propelled Newcastle to that fifth-placed finish in 2012.

“He had a footballing brain that operated a couple of frames ahead of everyone else, and he had the ability to convert what he saw,” Williamson said. “He was a cut above the rest in terms of everything he did in midfield, and he loved to put in a tackle as well.”

After 18 months of pining for a move, Cabaye left for Paris Saint-Germain for £20 million in January 2014 — despite Newcastle fans’ terrace chant of “Don’t sell Cabaye”. They have missed him in midfield ever since.

Centre-midfield: Cheick Tiote

“He was my brother. He will always be my brother. I miss him so much.” Papiss Cisse’s affection for his close friend Tiote remains undiminished.

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Cisse recalled how his “head was on fire” when he learned of Tiote’s death in 2017 at the age of 30, after the midfielder collapsed at training with China’s Beijing Enterprises club having suffered a cardiac arrest. But it was not only Cisse who Tiote touched; he was adored by many team-mates. “He was a top man and we all miss him,” Williamson said. “He cared so much and he was an honest guy, with no hidden agendas… but I used to avoid him on the training pitch, because he was exactly how he was on a Saturday, too.”

By that, Williamson means all-action. In truth, Newcastle fans only saw one full season of Tiote at his very best — that 2011-12 campaign, when he perfectly complemented Cabaye in midfield — but what a season.

Tiote was, for a period, arguably the best holding midfielder in England, and supporters loved his wholehearted intensity. He will for ever by remembered for that sumptuous left-footed volley against Arsenal in February 2011, his only league goal for Newcastle, which completed a famous comeback from 4-0 down to secure a 4-4 draw.

“Boom boom, Cheick Cheick the room,” as the memorable commentary goes.

Left-wing: Hatem Ben Arfa

“Absolutely unplayable,” Williamson says, before adding, “Well… on his day.” That perfectly sums up this mercurial Frenchman, who delighted and frustrated in equal measure.

Some argue that Ben Arfa was a “myth”, given that he never actually fulfilled what Williamson describes as his “world-class talent”, but he brought wizardry with the ball at his feet which had not been seen at St James’ Park since the days of David Ginola and Peter Beardsley. He signed on an initial season-long loan from Marseille in August 2010, having already won five Ligue 1 titles at age 23, and eventually joined permanently in the January for £5 million.

“I couldn’t overexaggerate his technical ability because it’s the best I’ve ever seen,” Williamson continues. “He used to drive the manager and the team up the wall because you didn’t know which Hatem was going to turn up but he could produce moments of magic, and I’d stand there thinking, ‘Wow.'”

Those slaloming, Messi-esque goals against Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers will go down as two of the best in the club’s history. During his four years on Tyneside, consistency eluded Ben Arfa, but the playmaker is the most talented player to wear the black-and-white-striped shirt this decade. Just unplayable.

Attacking-midfield: Ayoze Perez

He arrived for £1.6 million and left for £30 million, but that only tells part of the story of one of Newcastle’s most-divisive players of recent vintage.

Even last season, Perez was celebrating goals at St James’ Park by placing his fingers in his ears, a reference to the stick he got from some of the club’s fans, who would complain about his lack of end-product — criticism that had dissipated by the time he was sold to Leicester City.

Under Benitez, his fellow Spaniard, he became effective, operating well with Salomon Rondon and Miguel Almiron, and a regular source of goals. “He reminded me of Luis Garcia, our player at Liverpool,” Benitez says. “He sees pictures on the pitch that none of the other players do. He makes them better.”

He might not have physicality or great pace, but Perez does have a lovely touch. “He is a cherry on top of the cake,” Benitez says.

Centre-forward: Andy Carroll

Chaos. That is what Carroll brings, or certainly brought during his first spell at Newcastle, anyway. He is a human wrecking ball of a centre-forward, both on and off the pitch, and he is one of Tyneside’s own.

“Sometimes people forget about the Andy Carroll of before; his talent, the goals he scored,” former Newcastle manager Chris Hughton told The Athletic recently. “He was just making his way in the game, but he was colossal.” Certainly, he was in 2009-10 as his 17 goals lifted his boyhood club back out of the Championship and during the first half of 2010-11, when 11 strikes in 19 top-flight appearances earned the then-22-year-old a £35 million move to Liverpool.

Whether the Carroll who terrorised centre-backs nine years ago still exists following this summer’s second coming after an injury-ravaged interim at Anfield and West Ham United is irrelevant, because the original incarnation has to be in this team. “During that time, he was unplayable in the air,” Williamson said. “I’ve never seen someone with such timing, aggression and belief when he was heading the ball.”

Newcastle fans live in hope that such chaos is not mere nostalgia now, but can be revived.

Centre-forward: Demba Ba

The Strawberry pub, on Strawberry Place, behind St James’ Park’s Gallowgate Stand, is synonymous with Newcastle United. For an 18-month period, while Ba was leading the line for the club, so too was strawberry syrup, the drink he admitted he was “addicted” to. Strawberry Corner, the connecting point between the Gallowgate Stand and the East Stand, was even dubbed “Strawberry Syrup Corner” by fans in honour of the Senegal striker.

Ba scored 29 goals in 54 Premier League appearances for Newcastle after arriving on a free transfer from West Ham United during the summer of 2011, including netting 16 during his only full season on Tyneside. “Demba was an all-round centre-forward and you just knew he would deliver,” Williamson said. “He also had a smile that lit up a room. He was quite the character.”

Ba’s stay was brief, with Chelsea enacting a £7 million release clause in his contract in January 2013, and his mid-season departure damaged his standing somewhat. But his Halloween hat-trick against Stoke City and predatory instincts in front of goal ensured he was adored while wearing black-and-white stripes. He will never have to buy his own glass of strawberry syrup if he ever returns to Tyneside, that’s for certain.

Honourable mentions must be made for those who narrowly missed out on selection — Martin Dubravka, Jose Enrique, Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez and Papiss Cisse among them — while fans will certainly have other former favourites they believe should feature.



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Essembee's team of the decade;


1. A. Coward.

2. A. Coward.

3. A. Coward.

4. A. Coward.

5. A. Coward.

6. A. Coward.

7. A. Coward.

8. A. Coward.

9. A. Coward.

10. A. Coward.

11. A. Coward.



12. Eleventh.

13. May.

14. Nineteen seventy.


Manager. Fulwell End.



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Enrique only missing out because of the formation but I’d probably still have him ahead of Dummett in a back 3. 

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