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News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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The Mercurial One Showing Great Form And Fitness In Training

10:23 am, Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 38 Comments

Some good news today that Alan Pardew seems very confident that a certain Hatem Ben Arfa is now fully fit,  and in training he is showing some of those mercurial skills that the Frenchman possesses, and of course the 13 times capped French International is just loved by Newcastle fans.

ben arfa cisse tiiote

Hatem Ben Arfa – showing great form in training

When Ben Arfa arrived at the Newcastle Airport in August three years ago, to try to push a move through to the Tyneside club from Marseilles, he knew all about some of the great French players that had graced St. James’ Park such as David Ginola and Laurent Robert, and he wanted to play in front of the Newcastle fans,  who he knew were more than a little passionate about their club.

And Ben Arfa has already scored two simply fantastic goals at St. Jame’s Park,  against Blackburn Rovers and Bolton in 2012, and they were two of the best individual goals ever seen at the famous stadium.

But Ben Arfa has still only played 56 times for Newcastle in three seasons at the club, and he’s scored 11 goals and had 10 assists, which is a good return for the games he’s played,  but his time on Tyneside has been simply ravaged by injury.

This is what Alan Pardew said about the French Intentional in the local papers today:

“He’s a player fans love as he brings excitement. You’re on the edge of your seat.” “Newcastle have always had a tradition of that type of player.”

“It’s important for me that we’ve got him in the squad.” “He’s that type of player.” “When we finished fifth, he had a few games where he was almost unplayable.”

“If he gets back to that level, he’ll definitely threaten the French team, and I mean the starting XI rather than the squad.” “Who knows what level he can get to if he stays 100% fit?”

“His injury in the second leg of the Maritimo game was a massive blow to us last year. Really and truly, he never recovered.” “He wasn’t quite right.” “But we told him to have a complete rest this summer and let his hamstring heal, which he’s done.”

“Now it’s about putting the work in so he’s strong enough to sustain a season.” There are few worse sights for Premier League defenses when Ben Arfa is running at them full pelt.”

“We’ve had him flat-out, and he’s already reached the top speed he’s had at this football club.” “Fingers crossed, he’ll get his first bit of action, and he’ll get stronger as we go on. He’s a player fans love as he brings excitement.”

“All of them missed big chunks of the season.” “Hatem, obviously.” “Colo we missed for large chunks, and Mathieu too.” “And Cabaye.” “Those four players are very important to us.”

“It’d be nice to see them with Newcastle shirts on looking strong.”

We are hoping that Faye Downey’s introduction at the club as a strength and fitness consultant, will help prevent the many injuries we picked up last season, including Ben Arfa’s bad hamstring strain he picked up against Maritimo, and kept him out for most of the rest of the season.

Newcastle would have done a lot better last season, had we not had so many severe injuries to some of our best players like Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, Fabricio Coloccini, Tim Krul and and  Steven Taylor.

It will be great to see Ben Arfa back in action tonight.

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Tags: Coaching · Hatem Ben Arfa · Injuries · Newcastle News

38 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Toon_Tom // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    in come Liverpool then with a £30M bid 😉

  • 2 jimmysmith // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    I’m happy to see he’s not wearing his wee training bra today!

  • 3 DarloGeordie // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Sorry for repost everyone else does it tho 🙂 few deep breathes people we are in the best league in the world, top 20, smile, chill and enjoy life FFS Newcastle united is just a football club afterall..

    20DarloGeordie // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:25 AM


    Honestly mate I can’t wait to hold one of them tickets in my hand n slide through them turnstiles, have a sly few pints and make my way to my seat, pie in hand haha literally giddy thinking about it…

    I have missed it so much

  • 4 Tyldesley Toon // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    We are in the best league at the moment but if we somehow manage to replica the disappointment of last season then we could well end up in a relegation battle again with other teams that are strengthening.

    We need players in now to gel with the current team so we are ready for the city game

  • 5 jazzyp // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    I hope we have the team to match the enthusiasm of the supporters. And we don’t have a repeat of last season.
    haven’t had chance to sample a beer in the new nine bar yet that use to be shearers, so will be making that my first task on our first home game against carrol and his cronies

  • 6 Rowan Milsted // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    If we can keep players like Cabaye and HBA, and have HBA fully fit, whilst also signing 3 or 4 players then things will look a whole lot different.

    Bent, Remy/Gomis, Sinclair and a CB, with all players staying (bar any more fringe players we well/loan out) would be lovely jubbly and also fairly realistic. I just hope we can sort out this Cisse madness.

  • 7 JFK junior // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    In all the doom and gloom that this club, and this blog brings upon us all, it’s so nice to read some positivity.

    Darlo – I salute you!

  • 8 Rowan Milsted // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:36 AM


  • 9 richyg01 // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:36 AM


    I would ACCEPT at that like.

  • 10 Tyldesley Toon // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    The same team plus one striker would be fine if they just learned to pass the ball

  • 11 Tyldesley Toon // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    HBA is a world class player on his day and if he can be kept fit. Some of his goals and individual play have been incredible, but he does tend to be a bit greedy at times and ends up losing the ball

  • 12 Levi // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    What’s going on with bigi? Out of all the young players last season he was the only one who stood up to the challenge and played well.

  • 13 jimiley // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    I will wait until the end of the transfer window to make judgement on Mr Ashley. Most of my judgements on 1st Sept are that the guy is a disaster and the transfer policies are rubbish. This window is shaping up the same. Nothing changes at the Toon. We just plod on. We have been in lower leagues but this era is the most depressing in my lifetime as the owner is taking us for a ride.

  • 14 richyg01 // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Would anyone take £20M + Downing or Henderson for HBA?

  • 15 Levi // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:42 AM


    nope i wouldn’t.

  • 16 DarloGeordie // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    If I’m honest Newcastle home games are the only thing getting me through the utter devastation of having to leave my job, my life and my family here. So i tend to scroll through most of the comments apart from the fence sitters and ITK’s, always good entertainment and am sorry for my next sentence but has kept me moist for the season ahead haha HWTL

  • 17 Toon_Tom // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Richy – I wouldn’t want either

  • 18 Bring Back Laurent Robert // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    What would greatly move HBA onto the next level, would be if his teammates didn’t just freeze and gawp, when he’s in possession.

  • 19 DarloGeordie // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    JFK junior

    All good mate, season hasn’t even started yet ey… At least if we haven’t scored after 10 mins of our first match we can start calling for pardews head there in replacing him with “joke”

  • 20 Ben3arfa // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    I cant believe there is no outrage to us failing to sign anyone yet .

    We have a delusional manager and a dinosaur crook of a director of football, why is it so cruel to be a fan of this club ffs?

  • 21 Bring Back Laurent Robert // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:47 AM


    £20m + erm, errrrrm……. Liverpool have a shite squad don’t they?

  • 22 richyg01 // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:47 AM


    His team mates have no choice, he does not look up or look for the pass, instead takes it that touch too many and looses it or takes a ridiculous shot.

  • 23 jeff // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Reading between the lines
    Pardew talking him up to try and sell him

    My friend itk said liverpool are coming in with an improved bid tomorrow

  • 24 DarloGeordie // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:48 AM


    Unless your being sarcastic then you can go swivel 🙂

  • 25 richyg01 // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:48 AM


    Only player of note is Sturridge, but 1. would they let him leave, 2. would he want to come here.

    On both accounts I would say the answer is NO.

  • 26 richyg01 // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:49 AM


    An improved bid, they ain’t made an initial bid have they?

  • 27 Bring Back Laurent Robert // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    I’ve already got my optimistic prediction in for our first game – 2-2. Paddypower gave all it’s customers that selected Newcastle as their favourite team on sign-up, a free £5 bet to be placed on the City game, out of sympathy for the appointment of Joe 🙂

  • 28 richyg01 // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    Liverpool were recently being linked with a move for PSG striker Kevin Gameiro but it seems the France international will sign for Sevilla instead. The 26-year-old is likely to cost £8.5million.

  • 29 winnynufc // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    GOT to keep Benni no matter what… fantastic player who IF stays fit wiil turn full backs inside out!! Cant believe some people on here would actually contemplate selling him injuries or not! To much of a game changing player which we, the supporters should know at this moment in time are like rocking horse crap to get hold of!
    C’mon Benni lad HWTL!

  • 30 Toon_Tom // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    jeff – is this Claire, Pardew’s receptionist?

  • 31 Toon_Tom // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    They havent even made an initial bid

  • 32 jeff // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Toon tom lol. You know nothing. Claire actually told me that an inial bid of 8.5 had been made but nothing had come of it. Ie it was quickly rejected

  • 33 Moe // Jul 23, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    I would take £20m + Coutinho 🙂

  • 34 lesh // Jul 23, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Given your positive outlook, I was tempted to suggest you’re delusional.

    However, given the circumstances you’ve suffered, things must seem pretty bad!

    It’s just a pity that Ashley and Kinnear don’t or won’t realise just how important Newcastle United is to its supporters who are also major stakeholders in it!

  • 35 wynsleap // Jul 23, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Hold me down with excitement.
    New DOF, Shearer’s Bar renamed and renovated, old gates returning, Llambias’ resignation, new fitness director, revised coaching duties and all our players suddenly looking like world beaters in training – it’s all happening at St. James.
    Pity we’re not in the market for new players however like normal football clubs are.
    Same old.

  • 36 peterk3 // Jul 23, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Is he ever fully fit?

  • 37 brian kilclines pony tail // Jul 23, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    is shocking that a hamstring should keep a player out for almost an entire season.
    then again its typical newcastle, our fitness coach from when we finished 4th left for pastures new and we didnt replace until now, it took a year to realise that we need a fitness coach, we’re supposed to be a professionally ran sports club, we expect more than this shabby management.

  • 38 Charlietoon // Jul 23, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    I’m thinking we will be using Santon and Debuch more as wing backs this season…which makes sense as they are both attacking full backs. We have a lot of options in the centre of the park for those three spots with Siss, Cab, Anita, Tiote, Bigi.

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