We weren’t sure how the 9 players players Sam brought in during the summer would fare this season, since a lot of them hadn’t played in the Premier league.
Abdoulaye Faye – playing strong at center-back for Keegan
But it’s turning out that a large number of Sam’s summer signings are coming good under Kevin Keegan. The starters on Saturday included Abodulaye Faye, Habib Beye, Joey Barton, Jose Enrique, Geremi and Mark Viduka, so there’s six of the nine who are currently in the starting line-up.
Alan Smith has been dropped to the bench, and Claudio Cacapa is injured again, and of course David Rozehnal is on loan to Lazio, and is unlikely to make it in the Premier League.
So it would look like we have at least 6 good players who are currently playing a part in the up-tick in form of the team under Kevin Keegan.
We think that’s good and big Sam should be given some credit for bringing these players to the club. It cost us a net amount of only about Â£10M for the players, so that looks good business now.
Of course we’re still very unsure of what is going to happen to Joey Barton, with his court case due in June, and there’s a chance he may end up in the slammer. If that happens, we’re not sure of what the attitude of the club will be to that embarrassment.
So there’s still a cloud over Joey, who is nevertheless starting to show his best form, to his credit – and seems to be enjoying his football these days. But there again, who doesn’t like playing under the ever positive and supportive Kevin Keegan.
We think the real reason that got Sam the sack was the way he had the team playing, which was hardly good to watch. Add to that some of the players he wanted to pursue in January, which we think included former Bolton captain Kevin Nolan, and Mike Ashley wasn’t too impressed with the direction the club was headed in.
But we’re also sure that Sam got a nice big payoff from the club, and he’ll be happy enough to take over another Premier league team in the summer, and be better off at the end of the day for his experience of 8 months at Newcastle United.