As we had reported yesterday â€“ Mark Viduka talked in glowing terms of Big Sam when he discussed coming to Newcastle.
He has since added to those comments and talked about the dawning of a new era at Newcastle.
Mark had this to say about why he chose Newcastle (over Middlesbrough) and how he thinks Newcastle’s future looks:
â€œTalking to Sam was a big turning point for me,â€ â€œI really wanted to hear Samâ€™s plans for the new season and what players he wanted to bring in. His answers matched with what I was thinking myself. I want to win things and Newcastle is a club that has all the ingredients to do that, especially with Sam coming in.â€
â€œI am over the moon. I am really happy,â€
â€œThe main thing that attracted me to the club was it is moving in the right direction. I think a new era is about to start. Sam Allardyce has come in and if we can get success it will be something special. The potential is enormous and I am really pleased to be part of it.Â “It is definitely one of the biggest clubs in the country and if we can get success, then it will be something special.”
It looks like Mark is thinking like most Newcastle fans â€“ that this could be the start of a wonderful era for Newcastle. Not since Kevin Keegan was at the club has there been so much excitement in Newcastle. Itâ€™s even more so now because it looks like we will have lots of money to spend in the transfer market for the first time really. We’ll also have a ground thatâ€™s one of the best in Europe again â€“ hopefully before the Olympic Games in 2012. Newcastle will be one of the football grounds hosting the football tournament.
Sam talked about the Viduka signing again last night:
â€œIt is common knowledge that every manager wants two players for every position, and that is what we will have next season as far as our strikers are concerned.â€ â€œHe (Viduka) has the size and stature to lead our front line and is direct competition for Shola Ameobi, who is fit again now.â€
Middlesbrough were also obviously keen to re-sign Viduka, their top scorer last season with 19 goals in all competitions. They cannot be too happy at losing Viduka to Newcastle. Goalkeeper and Australian team-mate Mark Schwarzer claims Middlesbrough left it far too late before getting serious with talks.
“I sort of half-expected it after they left it so long to negotiate a contract with him,” he said. “I’m disappointed with not keeping him, but whether or not I’m going to look at my future now is another thing.
“It always does put a seed in your mind, an element of doubt.
“Rather than accumulate new players we’re actually losing better players.
“It’s going to be a hard task to actually replace these sort of top quality players and be competitive next season.”
Viduka is believed to be on a deal worth $120,000 a week at Newcastle and Middlesbrough chief executive Keith Lamb said Viduka had turned down an outstanding offer to stay, while manager Gareth Southgate said he regretted the loss. It looks like Mark chose Newcastle because of Sam Allardyce – and also because expectations are sky high now that Mike Ashley is about to assume control of the club.
One last thought – itâ€™s such a pity that the great Jonathon Woodgate went to Middlesbrough at the end of last season. He could have joined Newcastle again and helped us to win trophies under Big Sam. It’s sad that Ashley and Allardyce weren’t in place before he made his decision – but that’s life.
Wonder what heâ€™s thinking now about the choice he made?