Ben Haim to Newcastle – Sam Talks Home and Away Styles

It looks like Tal Ben Haim, the Israeli International, will be Sam Allardyce’s first signing at Newcastle.

He is currently in Israel getting married apparently – so we expect the deal will be tied up in the near future – maybe when he returns back to England within the next couple of weeks. But our understanding is he wants to come to Newcastle.

Ben Haim is a good player and last January was a target for FA Cup winners Chelsea – but the deal – estimated at ₤3M didn’t go though presumably when Abramovich refused to come up with the money.

Tal Ben Haim

The 5′ 11″ defender is in big demand – since he is now a free agent – and multiple clubs are after him – including Bolton – who have reportedly offered him a ₤25000/week deal which he has turned down. It looks like Ben Haim is anxious to follow Sam Allardyce to Newcastle – since Sam initially gave him his chance when Bolton signed him in 2004 from Isreali club Maccabi Tel Aviv – for a small undisclosed fee thought to be around ₤150,000 – what a deal!

It’s good to know the influx of new players will start shortly – and Sam again talked yesterday about some of his plans – including playing with different styles at home and away.

Here is a portion of what Sam said yesterday to the Evening Chronicle:

“The first priority is to win your home games, which means you’re always going to send your fans away happy. They’ll enjoy and look forward to their weekend when they’ve left St James’s Park with three points in the bag.

“That is going to be the catalyst to where we’re going to finish in the season. And when it comes to playing away from home it is about becoming more resilient and a bit more determined to dig in and defend a bit more correctly, rather than going away to play attacking football which is what we want to do at St James’. We’ll be seeing two different Newcastle Uniteds if you like.”

“But it is all about team spirit – we’re going to need it day to day, not just on a match day. We need to build a solidarity between ourselves, learning to trust ourselves, me learning to trust them and them me. That will pay dividends, hopefully, in the end.

So it appears Sam will play two different styles – a more attacking style at home to win games with attractive football – and please the crowd – but then a more resilient and dour style away from home – presumably that will bring us plenty of away points.

We don’t mind too much if some of the games are dour – at least as we try to get back into that top six where we belong. Playing good attacking football at St. James’ is what the fans demand – but they are also aware that all good teams at times – just have to dig in and survive through portions of any game.

Finally a little bit more on Tal Ben Haim – he played initially for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel whom he joined in 1998 and played for them 147 times scoring 2 goals.
In July of 2004 he joined Bolton Wanderers and played for them a total of 102 times scoring a single goal.

He has represented Israel a total of 22 times and is good friends with Yossi Benayoun, who currently plays for West Ham United.
Come to think of it Benayoun would also be a good capture for us – he has loads of skill and has worked his butt off for West Ham in the home stretch.

Comments welcome as usual.

13 comments so far

  • Arthur Prince

    May 19, 2007 at 5:44 PM

    Comment #1

    Will be a good acquisition on a free . 1 down hopefully and many more to come .We will need a bigger fitter squad than this last year especially if Sam is ging to carry out his plans .

  • Ed Harrison

    May 19, 2007 at 5:54 PM

    Comment #2

    Arthur – apparently Sam has always had the fittest team in the league – so another reason to look forward to new season – I hope he get this guy Mike Ford and Phil Brown the performance and science guys from Bolton – they’ve been with Sam for 7 years and some of the reason Bolton became so good.

  • Ed Harrison

    May 19, 2007 at 5:55 PM

    Comment #3

    BTW – when i watched the Cup Final today – I kept seeing black and white stripes playing in next year’s final 😀

  • Ahmed Bilal

    May 19, 2007 at 7:52 PM

    Comment #4

    haha, you wish Ed 😛

  • lee

    May 19, 2007 at 11:14 PM

    Comment #5

    Ed – Ben Haim was a good cpture for Bolton and so it will be for Newcastle, too. And it is all because of Big Sam. We are so lucky to finally get Big Sam… and there is no question about his ability to get an average team appears like a big European team, at least table points-wise. What he can achieve at Newcastle is dependent how much support we give him… chairman and supporters alike. The best thing is to decide now what we want… trophies or pretty football. Big Sam seems to compromise on his Bolton-days style of defensive football…. is this because now he has a potentially excellent attacking team or just to please the home supporters, I don’t know. But it would be vital to get this straight from the word ‘go’. Do we want trophies or fancy football… it is possible to combine the two, but remember under past managers we have failed. Was it down to the quality of players?… and again, was the poor squad selection down to the poor managerial appointments? we need to analyse this. Big Sam was a success at Bolton and has the potential to do wonders at Newcastle only if we let him to do it his way. Either that or we are back to square one. I can see us in the top 3 and winning a domestic cup next season if we give Big Sam enough latitude and support.

  • Arthur Prince

    May 20, 2007 at 7:08 AM

    Comment #6

    Lee -I do hope you are right !!
    My Theme throughout this Blog has been to have players who are dedicated to the cause ,will develop good team spirit ,stay fit and produce week in week out the sort of performance they are surely capable of ,and give us supporters something to really cheer about .
    I think Big Sam has the personality and man management skills to take NUFC to near the top with the talent he has inherited plus several acquisitions and perhaps to deliver the success we all desire so much .I expect you feel the same too .
    Ben Haim hopefully will be the first of many new players to SJP although I was rather concerned to read this mornings blog that Chelsea are still interested in Ben Haim

  • Arthur Prince

    May 20, 2007 at 7:10 AM

    Comment #7

    A ctually the comment was in the Newsnow web site sorry

  • Ed Harrison

    May 20, 2007 at 8:48 AM

    Comment #8

    Lee – we want trophies. If we can also play pretty football – fine.
    If we can get into top 4 – people in Newcastle will be walking 2 inches off the ground and there will be that excitement buzz there was under Keegan.

  • Ed Harrison

    May 20, 2007 at 8:49 AM

    Comment #9

    Well – I hope we get Ben Haim – nothing is a good price for him. He’d be better off at Newcastle.

  • Big AL

    May 20, 2007 at 9:24 AM

    Comment #10

    Ben Haim would be an excellent signing and id expect from his interview he has a few players lined we we have never heard of which means BARGINS which i struggle to remember us buying under previous managers.
    Given that Bolton had the fittest squad and the lowest injuries for the last few years and also that bolton constantly over achived it exites me to think what he could do with our underperforming injury plagued squad.
    Remember this time is stronger than the one that did so well the back end of last season and thats without sams new signings.
    good times ahead i think and ill make a bold prediction, we will finish in the top six next season.

  • Ed Harrison

    May 20, 2007 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #11

    Big AL – well said!

  • Dan

    May 20, 2007 at 5:53 PM

    Comment #12

    I havent been this excited since sir bobby was bringing champions league football to newcastle, Ben Haim will be an awsome signing for us. Although i do feel sorry for Titus its a good sign to see that one of Big Sams 1st moves was kicking him out! i cant wait to see who else he will bring into our defence he is certainly a man who knows what he his doing and knows what he needs to do to get us back where we belong. im gonna make a prediction of a top 4 finish and take us back where we belong, in the champions league with the rest of europes elite!!!

  • Ed Harrison

    May 20, 2007 at 7:52 PM

    Comment #13

    Dan – hopefully Sam will bring in a whole back 4 – since he got rid of 5 of our defenders. Top 4 would be very hard to achieve next season – think we’ll be fighting it out for 5th place – our competitors will probably be Spurs and Aston Villa. If we get to top 4 Sam will have done tremendously well – then what do we aim for – the stars obviously.


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