Report Card on Newcastle’s New Players

Just before the transfer window open tomorrow, here’s a mid-term report card on Newcastle’s 9 new players that Big Sam brought in during the summer transfer window.


Sam Allardyce – Players Sam bought last summer – how have they done?


Habib Beye

Habib has started to play very well in the last 6-7 games and looks a strong right back, who seems to just love playing for Newcastle. Habib has been fairly consistent all season, but took a few games to get to grips with the pace of the Premiership. Becoming a favorite with the crowd at Newcastle and is very experienced. Good buy and probabaly the best buy Sam made in the summer. Looks the part.


Claudio Cacapa

Jury probably still out on the Brazilian. But apart from his disastrous display at home against Portsmouth,  he has looked a decent player and certainly has lots of experience with his no-nonsense type of defending. Probably injured against Pompey, which could explain his performance, but he needs to cut out the little mistakes. He could be very solid for Newcastle in the next couple of years. Great attitude and leader on the field, and can be a big help to young Steven Taylor’s development. Jury still out on Claudio.


Abdoulaye Faye

Has been injured too much but when he’s played he’s looked the part. Has played some strong games at center-back, and Faye can be relied on to produce his best in most games. Maybe he will find a long term place as a defensive midfielder like he played yesterday – although he looked all in at the end of the game. Big Presence with Newcastle with his 6’2″ frame – good buy.


Jose Enrique

Where have you been Jose Enrique? Needs to be played more often by Big Sam, and has often looked solid when played at left back and he certainly has a good left foot. But we don’t think he’s been given his chance yet, and we’d like to see Charles N’Zogbia played more up field, because he’s more dangerous there, as he proved yesterday. Jury still out on Jose but can still make it at the club. And he’s still only 21.


Alan Smith

New Newcastle captain, having just recently replaced Geremi in that role. Alan is a utility player and Big Sam has played him in lots of roles so far this season. Alan is not a winger and unbalances the side when he is played there, but he is good in the center. He can be played as a striker, which is probably his best position, or as a central midfielder, either defensive or attacking. Alan has yet to score his first goal for the club, and already has 8 yellow cards. He has been quite good for Newcastle so far this season, but not great. We hope he will get better as Alan takes on his new responsibility as captain of the club. That may propel Alan into being a better all-round player for the team. A reasonable buy for the club up to this point.



Geremi has actually been a little disappointing at Newcastle. While he made a good start and is a solid enough player, his displays have been blasé of late, and he has just lost the captaincy of the club. Geremi has seemed to lack the fire he had at Chelsea and his passing has been poor, for a player of his caliber. We expect more from Geremi during the rest of the season, and we think he’ll improve. Maybe giving up the captaincy will help him. Disappointing so far.


David Rozehnal

David’s made too many mistakes when he’s been in the team. There’s no doubt he can be a good player, but he must cut out the mistakes, otherwise he will not make it in the Premiership. There’s no questioning the boy’s attitude, which is first class, and he’s looked good as a defensive midfielder at the end of some of our games. He seems to love living in the City of Newcastle. But we look for more solid displays without the errors at the back from David.  The jury still out on David, but we think he’ll be a lot better next season.


Mark Viduka

Mark’s been injured too much and hasn’t really got going with his Newcastle career. However, he has 5 good goals for the club.  Had his best game for Newcastle against Derby County with two expertly taken goals. He looked real class in that game, and that’s the Mark we need to see more of.  But then he didn’t show up against Wigan, and was dropped for the Chelsea game. Mark can be a big player for Newcastle United, but needs to be more injury free, and more consistent. Very experienced and good attitude. It will also help him to retire from International football and concentrate on his club career.


Joey Barton

Left until the end for obvious reasons. Never really hit the heights of play that he did at Manchester City and with his recent arrest in Liverpool we think his Newcastle career may (and should) be over. Because Joey has let everyone down, this has hardly been a good buy for Newcastle United and Sam cannot be feeling too good about Barton. He’s simply let his boss down badly, not to mention all the other people in his life who were trying to help him. Looks like a bad apple.

That’s what we think – let us know what you think about our new players.  It’s a good time, being just before the new transfer window opens up tomorrow, and hopefully when we’ll see more arrivals at the club.

We appreciate your comments.

25 comments so far

  • Indian toon

    Dec 31, 2007 at 5:18 AM

    Comment #1

    beye_ . top act . will eat cristiano ronaldo on the right

    claudio cacapa– good defender but lacks pace. can get caught on the counter.

    abdoulaye faye– a strong defender. and a good defensive midfielder. more like sol campbell in the making

    jose enrique– not seen much but the games he’s played shows the guy has talent. likes to go front and delivers some good crosses.

    alan smith– really he should score some goals to justify his place in the squad. before signing him i think sam has promised him that he will play every game i think. really i think he’s taking a creative midfielder’s place.

    geremi– more of a good holding midfielder. must play against the big four . more suited in the centre midfield as in chelsea. a good free kick taker . some good crosses. most of all a good squad player

    rozenhal– losing his early pre season form. likes to attack really . and loses concenteration. he’ll be a much better defender at the end of the season though.

    joey barton– a BAD BAD SIGNING . considering his reputation, callin the fans vicious. id say perform on the field and then commment on the fans . moreover not performin well. cancel his contract.

    BIG SAM –never plays player’s in thier positions, plays 433 and 541 and 451. never a hit with the fans, last link of freddy shepherd, stubborn. doesn know to attack.


  • Keep Oba

    Dec 31, 2007 at 5:52 AM

    Comment #2

    Beye is the best signing by far so far. really like what I see out of him.

    Not seen enough of Faye with us to judge

    Cacapa isnt too bad, but a bit slow and can get caught out of place (common theme among newcastle defenders the last few years)

    Rozy–well..I liked what i saw at first, and hes come close to scoring…but unfortunately you can count on him to make one or two big mistakes a game that sometimes turn into goals for the opposition.

    Geremi…Kinda same with Rozy…liked him better at first, now he is just wasting space in the midfield. havent seen too much of his dangerous free kicks/corners be all that dangerous. Id rather not have to have him as a full time first teamer.

    jose enrique–same thoughts as most people probably….good left foot, hasnt played enough, still young….gotta wait a while to see about him

    Viduka–will score some goals, probably get about 10-12 when the year is all done, which sounds good, and is good. However when he isnt scoring goals he is glacially slow and cant really go back into the midfield and help out like Oba does. If he stays healthy and ends up with over 10 goals then he cant be a failed buy, but Id rather find younger up and comers (i.e. SPEEDY) in the future than have to rely on stop gaps such as Viduka.

    Barton–I wouldnt have signed him…never really thrilled about it. Newcastle had enough problems without wasting nearly 6 mil on a problem case, and then when he did end up playing I didnt see that much that excited me. Rather see more Emre anyways.

    Alan Smith—

    Well…Alan…I believe he was our WORST signing this summer. Even worse than Barton since we will just take the loss and probably part ways with him. Why do I not like Alan? Its nothing personal..I like him as a person and his spirit is certainly there, but I believe he is the guy that causes Sam to mess up our lineups. Where do you play him? as a striker? then you are pushing Oba or Owen or Viduka out of that role, all who can score a ton more goals currently than Alan. Or do you put him in the midfield where he is not his best, and puts Milner out of position or causes Emre to be on the bench or Zog to move to left back. He gets no goals, no real assists of note, and gets a ton of cards. hes alot like Nicky Butt, but he at least scores an important goal now and then, and can tackle better…but most important, and I have said it already…HE SCORES NO GOALS…and thats a sin if you go half a season as a striker/attacking mid who gets to play as many games as he does.

    Anyways…Beye so far is the top of the class, (although I wish Sam could have lured Sagna away from Arsenal’s grasps), still we need to see more of most of these guys I guess (NOT alan smith though..seen enough)

    Still would like a quality defender and one exciting midfielder in the january window…not keeping my fingers crossed.

  • toslem

    Dec 31, 2007 at 6:40 AM

    Comment #3

    I agree with your coments, only smith to me seems to be a problem, a player which any club would like, But! where does one play him, the word you use is exactly right, Unbalanced! If he’s in midfield the whole formation tends to play unbalanced, i think when he plays striker the total performance is better. We tend to blame the defence for a lot of our problems, but to me it’s the midfield, i believe Sam has not got it right yet. Two many good players to pick from in the squad, like i believe we have in midfield, can be just as big a problem(especially if one does not get it right)than having a lack of Quality. But i believe Zog must be moved to a more attacking role, he scares the hell out of most defenders.

  • malaysian youngster

    Dec 31, 2007 at 7:01 AM

    Comment #4

    all i can say is
    Happy New Year!!
    i quite happy with the players bought by big sam.
    big sam is not a dumb ass. he will figured out newcastle culture. and what the fans like or dont. if he read this site. he will improve eventually.

  • wsq

    Dec 31, 2007 at 7:10 AM

    Comment #5

    rozehnal and cacapa is not much better than the likes of boumsong, bramble and gooch. my jury has reached as decision–> panic buys!

    geremi will never be able to cement a first team spot of his own, unless he decides to make the left back position his.

    alan smith will never be a prolific scorer, he doesn’t get into scoring positions often enough, so i just wished he’d made a new year’s resolution to state his intention of making center forward role his. this will make him a better player.

    Faye, our best center back at the moment, he’s too sluggish for the holding midfield role, he’ll face problems going against a pacey midfield. Partnership with Taylor is the best way forward i think.

    Joey Barton – deserves to be shot! not seen anything special, so far overrated!

    Viduka – needs to get fit and playing a lot more games. needs to form a partnership i.e. understanding with martins and owen.

    Beye – looks a class act, we don’t see anymore problems we faced when carr and the young center backs playing there! Best Buy!

    Jose Enrique – one problem he lacks pace. needs to master positional sense like solano if he’s to be a first team left back. that’s if he can’t up his pace. This is why allardyce is scared of using him. Well he definitely wasn’t top of allardyce’s list in the summer, so he’s doing ok for me.

    Manager – stubborn arsehole who refuses to apply common sense to his tactics.

  • Lamesley Mag

    Dec 31, 2007 at 7:47 AM

    Comment #6

    Beye – Looks a good signing and we’ll miss him in January/February

    Claudio Cacapa – One bad game against Pompey but is a good defender

    Faye – A big strong defender and looks a good defensive midfielder. Just needs to stay un-injured. Another player we’ll miss Jan/Feb

    Enrique – We need to see more of him as he’s a decent player. May also allow Zog to play in CM or LW when Duff is injured again

    Smith – I like him but needs to start scoring goals to justify his place in the team. We need to play him constantly in one position as he’s a good player

    Geremi – disapointing performance this season and no more than a decent squad player and possibly back-up for RB

    Rozenhal – A very good international CB but needs more experience in PL. Next season should be an accomplished PL defender as he’s a decent player

    Barton – Got to be sacked for his recent altercation. He could (should) be going to jail for several years. Such a stupid person…….

  • geordie_jordan

    Dec 31, 2007 at 7:52 AM

    Comment #7

    beye- B+, solid, solid player. my fav. player sam has bought
    cacapa- C+ has looked pretty decent except for portsmouth where he had a howler
    faye- B+, a real aerial threat and a no nonsense defender. i always feel less nervous when he is in the side, which says something.
    enrique- INC. the fact that sam needs a left back and has one in enrique who doesn’t even make the side says something. but the jury is still out and i don’t have enough information to condemn the lad totally yet. although it’s not looking too promising.
    smith- C+, a man without a position. not a winger, not a defensive mid (far to many wanton tackles), a striker? he doesn’t score anymore, center mid?? i have no bloody idea. his effort is top drawer but what else does he offer. sadly, little.
    geremi- D, what a disappointment. he can’t pass, he lacks pace, and he LOVES to hoof the ball upfield at every opportunity. oh yeah, keep him away from set-pieces. not as advertised, return to sender.
    rozenhal- C-, looks the part the first few matches then completely fell apart. he drives me to drink watching him play centre back now. complete lack of confidence and it shows on the pitch.
    viduka- C, when he can be arsed and isn’t injured he is CLASS. but when is that pray tell??
    barton- D-, injured, then not up to snuff when he came back. followed by his most recent off field problems. get rid.

  • JoshI

    Dec 31, 2007 at 8:03 AM

    Comment #8

    I think Smith has been given a fairly overrated summary up there. ‘good but not great’. I think he has been rather poor to be honest, very dissapointing in my eyes. When we signed him i thought he would play up front and be the lay-off man – thats what he is good at, not midfielding.

  • Daniel Petersen

    Dec 31, 2007 at 8:05 AM

    Comment #9

    Beye – Top class RB. Getting better with every appearance. Great signing. Probably our best.

    Rozehnal – I really like David. He’s made some mistakes, but looks good going forward. I would like to see him played more as a DM. Good signing.

    Cacapa- I’m just not sure about Claudio. He appears to be a little slow for the PL. Seems the shakiest of our defenders. OK signing.

    Smith – Always gives 100%. His constant bad challenges equal way to many cards. Should only play up front with Oba. OK signing.

    Viduka – I like Mark. He’s had some injury problems this season, yet he still scores goals. I expect him to score 10+ this season. So a good signing.

    Geremi – Started off strong, but each week his performances get a little worse. Decent squad player though. Hope he gets better. Disappointing signing.

    Faye – A big and strong CB. Fitness appears to be an issue. Though his appearances have been strong. Wait and see.

    Jose Enrique – The one player I really want to see more of. Has a great cross and is a decent defender. Not sure why he doesn’t get more starts. A possible great signing for the future.

    Barton – I was worried this was going to happen with Joey. We only got his best in the pre season. Now he’s off to jail. A waste of money and time. It’s a shame he squandered this opportunity at Newcastle. Potential worst buy in the clubs history.

    So all and all I’m pretty happy with BSA’s singings. I hope with each week they will gain more confidence and PL experience, which in turn will create great team chemistry. After that the wins will follow. At least I hope so.

  • JoshI

    Dec 31, 2007 at 8:07 AM

    Comment #10

    If Barton hadn’t become injured, i reckon he would be playing top class atm, like his man city days and he wouldn’t have got into trouble. Before he was injured he was looking good, he comes back plays shit, is frustrated with himself goes on a boozer to drown his sorrows, gets done for assult or whatever it was.

  • JoshI

    Dec 31, 2007 at 8:11 AM

    Comment #11

    Do you think anyone will sign 2moro? or is that a bit early?

  • Toon_Under

    Dec 31, 2007 at 9:13 AM

    Comment #12

    Pretty much the same as what has been said.

    Beye: hurrah, we finally have a right back. Solid, tracks back and should get better still. 8/10
    Faye: Good player, but he’s another utility like player. Not a defender, but could be a good defensive mid. 6.5/10
    Smith: Striker, not a midfielder. He has shown glimpses of promoting great build-up play but needs to start finishing to justify his place. 7/10
    Barton: Pity he never got going, and looks to be gone. Had one decent game, but i think he like the other mid’s has been done over by the ‘direct’ football we play. 6/10
    Geremi: Harsh, but unless he improves he is squad player only. We have better centre mids, and he is not a right back or winger. He needs to pull his finger out if he is going to get back to his best. 3/10
    Viduka: When he wants to play he is good, but those days happen once in a blue moon. He reminds me of an old clydesdale horse – plods along and never hits top gear, only works when he wants to and is only useful in certain situations, ie long ball to hold it up. Swap him for McCarthy. 4.5/10
    Rozenhal, Cacapa: Good squad players, but nothing more. Like Rozy going forward though. 6/10
    Enrique: I feel sorry for this guy. He’s young, but i think he should be our left back. IMO, put him in and move Zoggy to CM so he can try his hand at creating and running at people. Based on his perfomances I am happy with his signing, and he’s going to be starting sooner rather than later. 7/10

    The big man: Needs to stop being so restrictive on out players, and get the midfield into the game more to get the goals that he wanted from them. I’m not sure if i want him to stay or go, but i wish we would get back to at least some attacking football.

  • steve

    Dec 31, 2007 at 9:23 AM

    Comment #13

    Ed – I think you’re wearing rose tinted glasses

    Beye is the only good signing, the rest are at best squad players

    Smith, Geremi & Barton by far our worst buys as they bring nothing to the team

    I wish people wold stop saying Smith is a good signing, he’s sh!te in midfield and pointless up front as he’s scared to shoot and keeps falling down – get rid of him

  • Greg P

    Dec 31, 2007 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #14

    I like Smith in theory, but he doesn’t work at Newcastle, and therefore if he’s not going to support Oba up front he should be on the bench.

    Beye is good and Rozenhal should be better next season.

    Cacapa is no better than what we’ve had (Gooch, O’Brien, Ramage etc), and Faye is decent, but still not great.

    Enrique is a big worry. If you spend £7m on a player you need to play him which suggests to me that he’s not seen to be quick enough for the premiership. A big mistake by Sam.

    Barton… cancel his contract, he’s not looked the player he was and seems to be trouble. We need a Barton type of box to box player, but he should have played his last game for the club.

  • Whumpie

    Dec 31, 2007 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #15

    I think we have something in common with BSA (sorry, harsh, I know – but bear with me…) in that we’re just not used to having more than one good option for positions.

    For Sam that means that he keeps getting it horribly wrong; just shoehorning in his favourites that week into a formation designed to accommodate them (as per the last two England managers). The stubborn git just won’t learn and change his approach, which is the worrying part. He may come right, though (just as soon as he can work out how to claim 4-4-2 as his idea), and there are other aspects of him which could yet work well for us.

    Meanwhile, for us ‘armchair managers’ the lack of experience of actually having a squad to pick from means that we come down hard on a player too quickly when he does a bad job in the wrong position (Smith, Geremi) or through a lack of prem experience (Rozy, Cacapa).

    Hate to say it, but I think we just have to look at this season as a write-off and a training exercise, and hope that as many of these new signings as possible really gel and live up to their promise.

    Oh, and the sooner we can sack Barton the better. Plenty of better options out there who are less likely to punch your lights out and nick your hubcaps on the way through the car park.

  • Callum

    Dec 31, 2007 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #16

    Rozenhal/geremi/barton are our worst players

  • Dragoner

    Dec 31, 2007 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #17

    Only bad signing was Joey Barton. I do not want to judge Smith as he had hardly ever played as a striker. Geremi also needs to get games in his natural position, a holding defender.

    I agree with the article mostly

  • Dragoner

    Dec 31, 2007 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #18

    Rozzy is good for his country. He is still getting used to premiership, and i think he will improve. Certainly not one of our worst players.

  • sparetheman

    Dec 31, 2007 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #19

    Smith/Barton have been the worst signings and Viduka/Beye the best ones.

    Not sure why people are claiming Viduka has been inconsistent – he’s been the only one knocking them he when he’s given the chance. I was outraged he was left out of the team against Chelsea.

    Smith can’t score as a striker and he can’t tackle as a midfielder. He’s not a good passer of the ball either. All he literally does is concede free-kicks and rack up the yellow cards. He offers nothing. I don’t understand why everyone (including Big Sam) cannot see this.

  • sparetheman

    Dec 31, 2007 at 12:04 PM

    Comment #20

    In fact, he offers less than nothing since, as we’ve been saying, when he plays we look unbalanced. He actually makes THE TEAM WORSE!

  • UTD111

    Dec 31, 2007 at 12:26 PM

    Comment #21

    I think Sam bought players which definitely strengthened the squad in comparison with last season and give us many more options. Marks out of 10:
    BEYE 8/10 Picks himself by his peformances, fast becoming a fans favourite. Solid, dependable, clever football brain
    CACAPA 7/10 Leaving aside Protsmouth has largely shown his experience and positional sense with some lapses. Works best with Faye as partner.
    FAYE 8/10 For me, 1st choice Centre Half wneh fit. Big, strong, good in the air.
    ENRIQUE 6/10 Sam obviously thinks he needs time to acclimatise but certainly looks to have the potential.
    SMITH 8/10 Great attitude and commitment. Best position is the hold up/lay off Centre Forward as he showed in his sparkling display against Everton
    GEREMI 5/10 Not sure what he adds
    ROZENTHAL 7/10 Some mistakes as he adjusts to pace and intensity of the Prem but not Titus-like mistakes. Quick, intelligent and clearly will settle and do well.
    VIDUKA 7/10 Slow but strong. Does the thing we desparately need, he scores goals!
    BARTON 3/10 Should never be allowed to wear the Black and White shirt again after letting us all down.

  • Obafan

    Dec 31, 2007 at 12:31 PM

    Comment #22

    1) Beye: by miles our best buy in August. Our problem at RB is solved (though not in January). We’re going to miss him the next month. Perfect attitude, was my favourite transfer in August!!!! He should be our new CAPTAIN!!!

    2) Cacapa: had 1 bad game against Pompey and that is why he is rated average. I still believe he is the man who will lead our defence the coming 2 seasons as he got lots of experience and wants to play football (he doens’t like to kick the ball upfront). Central duo with Faye and that is solid, believe me!!!

    3) Faye: every time he played he was fantastic, but hopefully the injuries are behind him now so he can fully grow and gel into the team (starting in Feb off course). I like him more in CD than in CDM, cause he got the pace to cover for Cacapa. That is why those 2 should be our CD duo!!!

    4) Viduka: we all knew that he has lots of little injuries which costs him lots of games. Every time he played he created something and scored a few too. I would like to see him upfront with Oba (but SA doesn’t know what 442 means).

    5) Rozehnal: I knew him from Bruges and I also know that he is capable of being a good solid defender, but like the most of you said; he needs time to learn the pace of the EPL. Too bad he made a bad impression the last few games. But I still believe he will make it in the EPL.

    6) Geremi: I would love to see him as right winger, cause his crosses can be fantastic (not like Milners), but in central midfield he just is not good enough IMO. Also good cover at RB if Beye gets injured. Not fair by SA by not saying a word that he is captain off.

    7) Smith: he needs to play every game in SA opinion, which is so wrong. He is not good enough for midfield and doesn’t score enough to be a striker. He is the reason why lots of the players are played out of position. Doesn’t deserve to be the captain of the team!!!

    8 ) Enrique; IMO another overrated Spanish player who can’t follow the pace of the EPL. Sell him and find a good LB, cause it is not Zog’s positon.

    9) Barton: hasn’t impressed at all and got once again in the news for bad attitude. I hope he gets a punish and I also hope we delete his contract. He isn’t worth to wear the black n white shirt (he isn’t worth to play in EPL with such an attitude). I feel bad for all the people who are trying to help him.

    10) Sam Allardyce: the worst transfer by miles; he knows nothing about attacking football, he thinks he knows all about defensive football, but in fact he knows nothing at all. Sack him ASAP!!!

  • Tom_Toon

    Dec 31, 2007 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #23

    obafan, we need a creative kind of player, your from belgium so could camus do it for us, ive only seen a bit of him, what about gillet and ciman for back-up defenders?

  • Obafan

    Dec 31, 2007 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #24

    The players you mention are good in our own league in Belgium, but I have to be honnest by saying the Belgian League is not that strong (look at our results inEurope), so I think playerw who want to make a change and go from Belgium to another country need to do it step by step, I mean first go to a stronger league lika France and if they pass in those leagues than they can try to make the big step to Spain, England or Italy.

    Camus; very good player at Charleroi, but not good for NUFC.
    Gillet; good full back, but his 1st year as a player in the first team of Gent, so he needs time to develop.

    For now I don’t see Belgian players who can make the jump to the English League (look at VandenBorre a talent in Belgium, but not able to grab playing minutes at Fiorentina, which I completely understand cause he needs to learn so much more. One payer who perhaps can make an impression is Kompany but I’m not sure of him either.

  • Leo

    Dec 31, 2007 at 3:02 PM

    Comment #25

    beye top class nuff said

    faye top class- just injured to often unfortunatly

    geremi scared to take people on or pass around
    them so often turns and passes back to defence

    jose- n/a hasnt played enough, looked really good when he did play though- confident he isnt the next marcelino

    smith- hard little worker puts his all into every game, his problem is that hes an all rounder, no one position and it confuses the players because they dont know where he may be. best position is up front because he hastles the defence

    viduka inconsistent and always injured

    rozehnal- he is under rated, people pick him up for mistakes too often, often mistakes have been made by other players and have put him in a real bad position- taylor being main culpriate but cacapa also

    cacapa looks strong and will get better once he is used to the speed of the premierleague. has the biggest smile on the pitch and can be seen from afar haha

    jail bird- is a cnut and i wish him all the worst for the new year, enjoy jail, i guess rozzy cacapa beye and jose are not the only ones to have to get used to new climates, enjoy you jail cell arsehole


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