On Monday 31st January 2011, Andy Carroll completed a sensational £35 million move to Liverpool, in a transfer that shocked football. Following the sale, questions were asked about Newcastle’s ambition and whether or not their decision to sell was judicious. Since then, the rebuilding of the squad has been quiet but measured, enabling the passionate and loud fans on Tyneside to witness the ‘quiet revolution’.
There can be little argument at the suggestion that in recent years, Newcastle have endured turbulent times. Mike Ashley’s takeover of the club has faced many challenges, none more so than when his side were relegated to the Championship at the end of the 2008-2009 season. Despite bouncing straight back up, Ashley faced more pressure when he sacked popular manager Chris Hughton in December 2010, and replaced him with Alan Pardew, an appointment that surprised many.
The past year though has seen negativity replaced with positivity, as Pardew’s team have provided some sparkling performances reminiscent of the kind seen during the Bobby Robson era of the early noughties. The Magpies currently lie in 6th place in the Premier League, level on points with Arsenal. They enjoyed a superb start to the season, going unbeaten in their first eleven games before defeat to Manchester City in November.
Although a lot of credit has to go to Pardew and his backroom staff, a great deal is also due to the Newcastle scouting network, who throughout the summer worked hard in bringing in new players to the club that, through their performances, have received high acclamation.
Yohan Cabaye, the French midfielder signed from Ligue 1 champions Lille, has put in several eye catching performances that have helped make him a favourite amongst the fans. Alongside Cheick Tiote, a player brought in the previous summer and who himself has received great praise, Newcastle have a midfield duo that can compete with any they come up against in the league.
Arguably however, the signing of the season comes in the form of Senegalese striker Demba Ba. Signed on a free from relegated West Ham, he has been a revelation, scoring 15 league goals since his debut in August. Ba has gone on to net two hat tricks, as well as scoring some memorable goals, including a fine volley in the recent 3-0 win over Manchester United.
It’s not just the impact of the new boys that has helped Newcastle. Goalkeeper Tim Krul has enjoyed a marvellous season that has helped put him in contention for Holland’s no1 jersey at Euro 2012. Jonas Gutierrez continues to draw the fan’s admiration through his tireless displays and the consistency from the likes of Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor and Danny Simpson have helped to ensure that Newcastle are a tough fixture for any club.
A new array of talent is on show at St James’ Park these days. Without any big transfer fees, Newcastle United are a club back on the up, but keep it quiet won’t you?