Ben Arfa – I’ve Matured At Newcastle – I’m Much Calmer Now

Alan Pardew made a number of Newcastle players much better footballers last season.

Ben Arfa – has matured on Tyneside

Some of those Alan had a big influence on were Ryan Taylor, Tim Krul, Davide Santon, Steven Taylor among others.

And one of the others that Alan Pardew has managed brilliantly in his time at Newcastle,  is the mercurial French International play-maker – Hatem Ben Arfa.

Ben Arfa had a name for being a trouble-maker when he arrived on Tyneside on loan from Marseilles in the summer of 2010, and the lad finally signed on in January of 2011, after Alan Pardew had been installed as manager.

And the fee that keeps being quoted for him is £2M – which is indeed another bargain buy for Newcastle if that’s true.

Ben Arfa is a different character on Tyneside than he was while playing for Lyon and Marseilles in France,  and according to Alan Pardew he has been no bother at all.

Certainly he seems a much more mature young man, over the almost two years he has been at Newcastle, and of course he had to recover from that terrible double leg break, and in the process he showed great courage and fortitude.

Yes – and it probably helps that he likes Greggs the Bakers. 😀

This is what a reflective Ben Arfa had to say today from the Clairefontaine training complex, where the French squad for Euro 2012 have gathered:

“In life, every failure makes you grow,” “It’s part of what makes a man grow up. At 25, I’m more mature than I was at 20. I am stronger than before. I’ve evolved, I grew up.”

“I am calmer, quieter. In the field, I feel much better. I’m really much more committed to the collective. I think now more than ever, I’m a competitor.”

“With experience, it made me better. I give everything now because I am responsible for my actions.”  “I’ve kept my strengths and started to erase some weaknesses, like lack of concentration and consistency in the game.”

“Much is expected of me, but I also expect a lot from myself.”  “I hope I can exploit my potential before the end of my career, otherwise it will be a regret and disappointment.”

“I can play almost everywhere but the right side, the position I have held in Newcastle, is the job I love most,”  “In Marseille, I played more on the left but now I feel better on the right, and that’s where I have more and more freedom.”

“I am there to create an offensive game and hurt opposing defences.”

Good words from the French International.

Ben Arfa is in the final 27 from which French manager Laurent Blanc will make his selection of the final 23 players, that will represent France  in the European Championships.

It will be a major surprise if Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye and Ben Arfa are not both in that final 23, and we even have hopes that both will start against England in their first game on June 11th in Group D.

But as England supporters maybe we shouldn’t hope for that?

Ukraine and Sweden are the other two countries in the group.

And for the record Ben Arfa has appeared 34 times for Newcastle since he arrived, with 7 great goals and 7 assists.

Comments welcome.

127 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    May 23, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #1

    Finding out his old belt hasn’t got enough holes in it on a Friday night is too good for Ashley.

  • bollance

    May 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #2

    Think we will be looking to sign more young freebies like fryers from man u to boost a second team who will play all cup completions. There will be players like sammi and vuckic playing too. Looking further ahead to 2013-14 we will have an immense squad as all of the younger player will come of age, hopefully. Think about.. How few players we have now above 27 who are our key players. Only collo (and possibly Guti)?

  • SupaToonKid

    May 23, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #3

    I’d stick a £40M price tag on Cisse, that’d hopefully tell City where to stuff it but to be honest if Pards is targeting a run in Europe & finishing EIGTH then we might as well sell him now cos if we don’t have a good challenge for the top 4 again that’s Tiote, Cisse, Ba, Cabaye etc. all gone & then the process begins again of signing all these top players for codliver oil money.

    I really hope Pards words were twisted in that article, for sure go for cup run but in the FA Cup or Carling Cup as if we start the likes of Cabaye & Cisse in the Europa League the we’ll struggle to even finish top half. Give the young lads like Vuckic, Abeid, Sammy & Fergie games in Europe and see if we do well then maybe introduce a Demba Ba or whatever but we NEED TO SIGN 5 new players (e.g. Mbiwa, Debuchy, Siggurdson, Hoilett, Rhodes) also Amalfitano looks in the bag as Guthrie’s replacement.

    We’ve got two choices stick or twist; if we twist then we could be in the Champions League or Europe at least next season but if we stick we may get to the Semi-Finals of Europe and finish 12th in the Prem, what would you go for but more importantly what will NUFC go for that is the question?

  • Indian Magpie

    May 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #4

    Graeme Bailey ?@SkyGraemeBailey
    One of the first signings of the summer will be confirmed today…

    Graeme Bailey ?@SkyGraemeBailey
    I will stop teasing, it is one of the North East clubs – not a major shock! But a good one.

    It could be sunderland are in for Lionel Messi

  • Colo-Sus

    May 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #5

    So Impressed by this guy,

    I remember being on the blog a few months back when he wasnt playing and the realists among us were all saying he needed to graft harder and prove he wanted to play for the team and not himself.

    He has done that and more for me and hats off to the lads. Really great words and an example to others with simliar talent and attitude issues.

    Good Player, becoming a GREAT player, theres a difference and I think Hatem is moving towards the GREAT bracket,

    Credit has to go also to NUFC’s coaches and especially Alan Pardew for managing him correctly and challenging him to better himself, alot of managers (and most fans on here) would have just put him in the team because of who he was, fact is back then he hadnt earned or deserved it,,,now he has and he can be proud of that

    Well Done Benny your a top player and a top lads


  • Colo-Sus

    May 23, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #6


    The 12 year old 7 stone wing sensation haha

    No Seriously good luck to the lad hope hes a good one! Welcome Romain

  • Indian Magpie

    May 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #7

    Colo sus

    Its Amalfitano as in Amalfitano 🙂 LOL

  • Indian Magpie

    May 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #8

    Transfer Central TNC ?@TransferNewsCen
    Everton are making a move for Lyon’s Aly Cissokho as Leighton Baines’ ideal replacement, Newcastle also interested. -F

  • Colo-Sus

    May 23, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #9


    Jesus wept mate I know it is I was being Sarcastic haha,

    Give me strength haha

  • SupaToonKid

    May 23, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #10


    I’d laugh if he’s talking about Middlesbrough

  • Colo-Sus

    May 23, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #11



    it will be frigging Erding and Barnetta next

  • tdt

    May 23, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #12

    I think we should play our full strength team for the play-off tie of the Europa League, ensuring we make the group stage.

    After that, I am slightly inclined to really utilise our squad players in the group stage so our full strength XI can focus on the Prem League. This could work if we play a strong enough team in the group stage to get through, but that may well be dictated by who we get drawn against in the group stage (if we get there in the first place of course!)

    As it stands we can play two different teams for different competitions, but obviously any purchases during the summer will strengthen both ‘teams’.



    Europa League:


    Other 1st teamers: Obertan, Gosling, promoted youth players, + new signings…

    Obviously Pardew will retain some of the PL team for the EL team, but this demonstrates that we can put out a full second team if necessary.

    With a new CB, RB, and striking understudy I think we can have a very decent 1st and 2nd team, if all the players can play to their potential.

    Just hope we can hold on to our best players too!

  • Colo-Sus

    May 23, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #13



    That would be funny mind, apart from Boro is in Yorkshire and as always nobody cares about them. haha

  • jesperfuglsang

    May 23, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #14

    Can anyone confirm that we have indeed signed Amalfitano?

  • Indian Magpie

    May 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #15


    Have you seen some of the teams in Europa, NUFC is in It to win it

  • cupiddstunt

    May 23, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #16

    Hopefully some readers of this blog will read this thread and in reading the Hatem bombs comments finally see that which is your dominant foot has little to do with where you are best on the park.

    To quote our your rising star “I can play almost everywhere but the right side, the position I have held in Newcastle, is the job I love most,”

    So maybe Santon is really a left back after all.

    Forget the foot, just play the player where he helps the team the most ala Perchinio.

  • cupiddstunt

    May 23, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #17

    Just had a thought after the above comment does this mean all the great tacticians that populate this blog will stop trying to put HBA as playing though the middle. 😉

  • jesperfuglsang

    May 23, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #18


    True; and Perchinio and Raylor helps the team best from the bench 😉 lol

    Cheap shot I know!!! Just couldn’t help myself 🙂

  • jesperfuglsang

    May 23, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #19
  • TorqToon

    May 23, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #20


    @mattspiro: Montpellier capt Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa will consider signing one-year extension, despite interest from #THFC, say L’Equipe. Wants to play in CL

    Hopefully just twitter rumours as I rate this lad very highly!

  • cupiddstunt

    May 23, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #21

    Jesperfuglsang @ # 18

    Ohhh that was such a cheap shot 😯

    Perchinio put in several MOTM performances in the space of half a doz games and all in different positions.

    Shame on you for such a slanderous comment. 😉 🙂

  • Indian Magpie

    May 23, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #22

    May be NUFC will Sign Lebron james and Peyton Manning today LOL 🙂

  • jesperfuglsang

    May 23, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #23


    I really couldn’t help myself 😉

    I tried not to type in the words, but it didn’t help lol

    Perchinio has done better than expected mate…true 🙂

  • SupaToonKid

    May 23, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #24

    @Colo-Sus i think the Boro boys would prefer you to refer to there region as Cleveland because neither Durham or Yorkshire want them in their counites.

  • toonruz

    May 23, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #25

    I see Barnetta’s been released. Here’s an exclusive pic of him waiting in the Jesmond for that call from Pards.

  • nufc786

    May 23, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #26
  • cupiddstunt

    May 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #27

    Indian Magpie @ # 22

    If you could teach LeBron to head a ball I recon twenty goals a season from set pieces would not be out of the question.

  • toonincheek

    May 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #28

    Jail – well done for not just re-posting your ‘not good enough’ comments from one blog to another.

    Don’t know how you find time to contrive all these as well as read the blog – Or . . . . .
    Are the ‘Tyne Tuinnel’ and ‘holes in belt’ comments taken from personal experience?!

  • Beattie25

    May 23, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #29

    There is no way on earth that we will sign Mapou!!

    Anyway, was anybody else disappointed with Mockingjay, the final book in the hunger games trilogy?

  • HOVIS (the poster formerly known as cheick norris)

    May 23, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #30

    Toonruz lol

  • Indian Magpie

    May 23, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Comment #31

    Toonruz@ 25 LOL 🙂

  • HOVIS (the poster formerly known as cheick norris)

    May 23, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #32

    Yes beattie. Totally ruined the whole experience for me.

  • Beattie25

    May 23, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #33

    Whilst we have no ‘official’ confirmation I’d like to congratulate Ashley, Llambias & Pardew for making our first and probably final signing this summer.

    And yes, I am in a bad mood.

  • HOVIS (the poster formerly known as cheick norris)

    May 23, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #34

    So Will we unveil a surprise signing this week boys?

  • Colo-Sus

    May 23, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #35

    Barnetta is on his way again hes hopping the ferry from Amsterdam and getting on the hopper to jezzy dene!

  • HOVIS (the poster formerly known as cheick norris)

    May 23, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #36

    I tell you what beattie. Ill take you to a nice restaurant tonight to cheer you up.

  • HOVIS (the poster formerly known as cheick norris)

    May 23, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Comment #37

    Bennett is as good as ours. Can’t resist the jesmond hotel room service.

  • HOVIS (the poster formerly known as cheick norris)

    May 23, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #38

    Bennett? Barnetta i meant. Bloody autocorrect.

  • Beattie25

    May 23, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Comment #39

    Only if your paying Hovis. I hope you won’t be wanting me for dessert.

    I do have more than a passing resemblance to Cabaye but I don’t play that way.

  • Beattie25

    May 23, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #40

    I don’t really look like Cabaye by the way.

    More of a White titus bramble


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