Newcastle Player – I Annoyed People – But I Still Dream

It’s a decent sign of maturity when you can look back on things you have done, and were criticized by people at the time, and admit that you were wrong and other people were right all along.

ben arfa fulham goal

Ben Arfa – he’s just scored another great goal

But that’s just exactly what Newcastle’s mercurial winger Hatem Ben Arfa has said , and he still has dreams – that he hopes he can fulfill.

And Ben Arfa’s comments about annoying people over the years and not being professional, comes on the day that his current manager Alan Pardew, has said he’s not an easy player to manage.

This is what Hatem has said in France Football today:

“I still have plenty of time before I retire, and I know some will still take me for a fool, but I still dream, for example of winning the Ballon d’Or.” “I am convinced that is still possible.” “Is it forbidden to dream?”

“I disappointed a lot of people over the past years, I even annoyed a lot of them too, no doubt, but these people were right. I was not very professional.” “I think I gradually changed as I grew up.”

“In fact, I was not grown up, but I have always believed that I could take the ball and go through on goal,  even when I was young .”

Ben Arfa has been on fire so far this season for the Magpies, and if he keeps his current form up, and can remain injury free and play the whole season for Newcastle,  then anything is possible.

One thing is that Newcastle can shock a lot of people, including the fans,  by finishing high up in the Premier League, and who knows, Ben Arfa could even win the Ballon d’Or, or at least be nominated for the award.

After all you have to believe in yourself and think you can do it, if you are indeed going to achieve your dreams in life.

Dream on Hatem. 😀

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122 comments so far

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Comment #1

    Cardiff have changed their colours, Hull have rebranded, Arsenal moved away from Highbury, Liverpool and Everton have considered a new ground too, as have Chelsea and Spurs. All to get more revenue.

    Should Arsenal be derided for not calling their new ground Highbury?

    The stadium was briefly renamed for publicity purposes. Most of the fans and the media refused to use it and the club knew that only too well. It was never going to stick.

    Bothered me at the time in case it was permanent but no big deal now.

  • Spotlight Kid

    Sep 17, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Comment #2


    And your point about Ben Arfa is what, exactly? Or have I simply interrupted a stream of consciousness style exposition? If so, I’m sorry, just feel free to drift….

  • mattnufc

    Sep 17, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Comment #3

    I am actually in favour of the name change – brings in extra revenue yet everyone calls it St James’s anyway..

  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 17, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Comment #4

    TDS…Was just catching up on the posts from earlier (I really have to question what is wrong with me 🙂 )

    I got the point you were trying to make which is why I thought I’d comment, in a naive attempt to level the playing field.

    From the other side though, can you not see it as an attempt to praise Ashley and his actions?

    I get that you feel compelled to counteract some arguments, as some of it simply doesn’t stack up.

    Sad things is, that when we get down to basics, most are on a similar page.

    Who would pay £2m to loan a player who we wanted to sign before from a relegated team…oh wait 🙂

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Comment #5

    Spotlight Kid

    You’re obviously new to this blog if you think that comments only relate to the article! I’ll forgive you this once… 🙂

    People tend to just follow the articles on here and talk about whatever they want. As for Hatem – good on him, I still retained hopes of being a professional footballer one day until I turned about 22…even though I was never any good!

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Comment #6


    I disagree with you but I see your point. I like that we retained that element of our history to be honest but I think we’ll fine more and more clubs taking that route.

    Man Utd. probably won’t because “Old Trafford” is probably worth more to them than “AEG Stadium” or whatever it would be but I bet every other club has considered it or will do soon.

  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 17, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Comment #7

    I’m guessing I’m next in line…getting fairly busy on here TDSarf 🙂

    Grab a number folks.

  • jonobbad

    Sep 17, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Comment #8

    Giving a newly built stadium a new name is a completely different thing to renaming a stadium with over a century of tradition behind it.
    As is a company paying good money for the rights compared to a company paying nothing to ‘showcase’ the fact it can be done.

  • DokToon

    Sep 17, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Comment #9

    grabs a number…

    wish me luck ibiza, lottery here is over 400 mill… once i have the check, mr ashley will recieve a bid 🙂

  • JackButler

    Sep 17, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Comment #10

    Wonga paid to change the name of the stadium back to St James’ Park and what did that extra revenue bring us?……………………….Oh yeah, thats right a loan player who will return to QPR next season

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Comment #11


    We are on a similar page in that we all want what is best for our club. But there’s none so blind as those who will not see…

    The biggest reason that people like Ruddy will never make an impact on Ashley is that they see him as they enemy but they don’t understand him. To bear your enemy you must understand what drives him and why he makes certain decisions. Fans accuse MA of not understanding them but frankly I reckon he does perfectly well and he just doesn’t give a toss. However, those same fans don’t make any effort at all to understand him. I’m not saying they should, but if they want to get involved in criticising him for “ripping the soul out of the club” or being a “tight git”, then maybe they should grasp the true reasons for his decisions rather than leaping to conclusions.

    Interesting quote by the way about Bony.

    Jenkins, quoted by the South Wales Evening Post speaking at a fans forum, said: “This summer was the first time where we agreed to spend that money on one player, and personally I don’t like the idea of doing it.

    “I don’t think it’s a great thing for our club to be doing season after season.

    “Yes, now and again for the right player at the right time, it might be an option.

    “But I think we all know our level should be a bit below that.

    “We should be finding players who are suitable to us and who arrive for figures that are easier to sleep with.

    “Signing Wilfried Bony was a big thing for us, but I would not like to keep paying fees like that all the time.”

    That says 2 things to me:
    1 – I really wish that Mike Ashley would address a fans forum in that manner!
    2 – This rash of big signings was the exception rather than the rule

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    Comment #12


    Why do I get the feeling that every time I post something, there’s about half a dozen people waiting to pounce on it?! I might have to do more disappearing acts so that doesn’t happen so much…

  • Douglas

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    Comment #13

    I have also had dreams. Ashley though has robbed me of them

  • JackButler

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Comment #14

    How is it possible to begin to understand a man who hasn’t once taken the time to openly speak to the fans?

    How can we judge him appropriately when we hear nothing from him?

  • Ian Toon

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Comment #15

    TDS – A very well constructed post. There is not a lot wrong that a Chris Mort type appointment wouldn’t put right.
    Communication and addressing fan issues by giving
    meaningful feedback has been lacking.

    Ibiza – What another described as diplomacy is it fact emotional intelligence. If you signed up for the conglomeration of anti
    groups then Ashley would have something to worry about.

  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Comment #16

    TDSarf…To be completely honest, that has always been my view of these anti-Ashley groups. A lack of understanding and an anger fueled campaign to remove the man with little thought.

    I should say that was my thoughts on them with not very much research.

    I have now done more research and do still feel it is lacking, but from what I understand they are currently implementing changes…big changes.

    I will certainly wait to see what they have to say as it all sounds quite positive and well thought out. No knee jerk reactions or people simply shouting their mouths off.

    I think a lot of the anger you receive from them is that you seem more willing to accept Ashley and his lack of care for the club, but challenge a group that wants to address the issue as you feel they are not showing enough care.

    I understand your stance, but can you see that from their angle and why they might think (albeit perhaps incorrectly) that you’re acting as an Ashley cheerleader? Not having a go or saying I think that’s the case, but take a step back and show some understanding?

    The same can and has been said to them 🙂

    Ultimately, I think we are at a point where it’s irresponsible to not channel the bad feeling in to something positive. If we sit and ignore it, it will become unpleasant imo. People feel cheated and lied to and they wont sit and accept it much longer. Working with that thought alone, I believe “time4change” to be positive.

    But yes, I am still waiting to see what these plans are. They may well not be perfect, but rarely things are. It’s easy to find fault in schemes, surely we should all be actively trying to contribute towards the greater good…which will be a lot easier if we all stop with the put downs. The insults do go both ways and I don’t think it matters who started it first at this point…it’s all very tired and counterproductive.

    That is quite interesting about Bony. Not sure how much I believe it though given the new riches available soon. Although I am not up to speed with their accounts, nor do I have any intention of doing so 🙂

    Personally, I think it’s always a bit of a lost argument to compare to other teams. There are so many sub arguments to it, how far behind they were to start with, having a settled squad, whether the player can adapt, etc.

    End of the day, the transfer argument can be as simple as this:

    1) They said they needed players.
    2) They said they were getting players.
    3) They’re now telling us that if we had we’d have been in the red as if that’s the reason we didn’t ultimately get them.

    It’s communication.

    The other lingering issue I have and it is solely based on last summer after we qualified for the EL is ultimate ambition. If we do perform well again and achieve something, will he give us some sensible backing to push on?

    The basic message we got back was that it was more of an inconvenience, which was disappointing in the extreme. I’m struggling to get excited about this season and what we might achieve, as I’m not sure what the point is…where does it lead to?

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Comment #17


    Look at his behaviour with NUFC and with his other businesses. I’ll tell you my perception of him:
    – he’s a damn good negotiator
    – his initial purchase and early behaviour tells me that he’s a football fan and behaved as naively as many fans would. Odd considering his other traits.
    – he doesn’t believe in his businesses carrying debt or paying interest when not required
    – he is ruthless when it comes to getting what he wants
    – he believes that his businesses should be self-sufficient asap
    – he doesn’t trust people easily
    – he is heavily focussed on the value of his assets (that includes the name of NUFC, its rights to play in the PL, its players, ground etc.)

  • Krul To Be Kind

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Comment #18


    How’s it going bud… I take it in a nutshell you are trying to say that with the right ‘communication vehicle’ the haters won’t hate so much?

    I agree with that, as anxiety levels in fans are highly increased as rumours enter the mill, thus resulting in conspiracy theories i.e. the big one doing the rounds for quite some time now is ‘Ashley doesn’t want success to put it back up the supporters (laughable) for how he was treated’ when in fact it is quite simply ‘Ashley doesn’t want to pay for success as he has no attachment to the club’

    If we had someone that would indeed speak to the masses about non-football related matters to ‘justify’ the decisions then all wouldn’t be so bad, but instead we get our manager trying to tell us what he can which leaves a bad taste where he is concerned and most definitely creates the trust issue we have had of late with the manager

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Comment #19

    Ian Toon

    You say Chris Mort but he wasn’t there long and he’s still not a football man. If Ashley isn’t willing to address the fans then a chairman or DoF with experience at that level and who can address the fans directly on Ashley’s behalf would be great. It doesn’t have to be the owner who addresses the fans but it does need to be someone who speaks for him. And I don’t think JFK is that man…

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Comment #20


    I’ve also looked into time4change and I’ve said several times that I’m interested in what they have to say when they get all their ducks in a row. I know they haven’t been going long so we’ll give them some time to see if they can sort out all of those groups to come together for one cause.

    I think every post I have made referring to the groups as “tinpot” has also referenced time4change as maybe being something a little difference, but certain people don’t bother to read the full post, they just attack the bit that they don’t like. It’s a bit like when I said that KK should never have been re-appointed as he’s a managerial dinosaur who was brilliant at the time he first managed us and will forever be a legend at the club for that, but he’s been left behind by now. Somehow that was an attack on KK…do you think Arsenal want George Graham back?

    I’m tired of hearing about groups who want change when all they say is “Ashley out!” just the same way as I was tired listening to the Occupy movement when all they did was slag off bankers and politicians. They’ve all got valid points if they could just strip away the bigotry and ignorance but many of them are so clouded with hatred that they just come across as ranting lunatics…

  • JackButler

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Comment #21


    With all due respect, your opinion on what type of person Ashley is counts for little or nothing, unless of course you have direct access to him.

    What counts is the fact that the man has had 52,00 paying customers week in week out walking into the stadium and in six years he can’t be bothered to take the time to talk to us!

  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    Comment #22

    TDSarf…To be fair, you throw yourself right in the firing line…you must be a little twisted….well, you have to be to support the toon, so let’s make that fairly twisted 🙂

    Ian…From what I understand (that phrase is getting a little tired now), the group has taken a far more diplomatic approach now. I am intrigued to see what comes from it as I feel change is indeed needed, as do most people.

    If there can be a positive approach in which to bring change then great. I do feel there needs to be the under lying point made though, that this isn’t an opportunity to just fob us off, we want change and we are actively seeking it. Ashley can adapt and in turn so can we, or maybe there is a good plan to find a new owner. But the current situation can’t continue.

    Ultimately, we all have to work together.

    Fingers crossed!

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    Comment #23

    Krul To Be Kind

    Hey fella. Spot on there.

    Sadly I think the communication boat has sailed where some fans are concerned so I think there will always be a disgruntled group even if this somehow got sorted now.

    But if they sorted that (which would be a damn miracle) and we got some good results, then I bet the support for those groups would drain away.

    I’d like to see a new owner come in who could do all of those things from day one and who could get all the fans onboard together to push this club onto some success, but I’d rather have a stable club (if not fan-base) under Ashley than an owner who doesn’t know what he’s doing again…

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    Comment #24

    A new formation for the TOON to try at kick off this Saturday.
    try watching the clip of the kick of between: Red Bull Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund.
    Crazy kick-off routine leads to seven-second goal | Early Doors – Yahoo Eurosport UK

  • DokToon

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Comment #25

    silly question TDS, but lets fantasize and say our beloved toon win the prem or FA cup under MA…

    what will all the “MA out” faction say, will they flip flop and say they never said it, or what?

    me, knowing im far removed from newcastle, im just happy to see us play well, win or lose, and be a supporter. i do desire obviously to see silverware in my time, and believe we will…

    do i wish wed have brought more talent in? of course. do i think JFK was a bad appointment.? yes. do i believe that we have a good squad, and barring injuries, can begin to move onwards and upwards? i do.

    we can moan about MA doing this, not doing that, but to me, at the end of the day, i just want to see my club have the chance to win every game…

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Comment #26


    If my opinion on Ashley counts for nothing then so does yours. So perhaps you should stop spouting insults and judgements about him?

    He doesn’t talk to us because a significant number of us directed grievous insults and allegedly even death threats to him and his family when he got rid of KK! He wasn’t able to enjoy the club any more after that.

    There are several owners who don’t speak directly to the fans, but most of them have a decent spokesman at least. I’ve only ever seen Pardew (and occasionally a coach or rarely Llambias) talk to the fans. And I don’t want that person to be JFK.

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Comment #27


    I think you’re right on both fronts! A sucker for punishment both on this blog and supporting this club!

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Comment #28


    Same here mate. I think there is a hardcore group of fans who will never forgive Ashley for what he did to KK, but I think many of the fans in that camp want exactly what we do but just aren’t sure how to actually get it.

    I reckon if we had a very good season, and certainly if we won a cup! then they would think that maybe they can get what they want under Ashley after all.

  • JackButler

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Comment #29


    I don’t throw insults at the man, other than to say he isn’t fit to run this club and that to him we are nothing more than business venture who happen to play football.

    If he received death threats after the pathetic way in which he treated Keegan then that is unacceptable and it should not be allowed to happen under any circumstance and if he wasn’t able to enjoy the club after that then he should have simply sold up and moved on, though there were stories that he did try that and f**ked that up as well.

    Agreed that there are other clubs who’s owners don’t speak directly to the fans, buy they at least have the inteligence to employ the right people who do communicate with the fans thus averting the situation we are in

  • Slank

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Comment #30


    Why should Ashley want to talk to the fans? It’s not as if he is the only owner of a Premiership club not to.

    Pardew talks to the fans but all he gets is grief from fans on this and many other blogs, so why should Ashley suffer the same abuse?

    If Ashley did talk to the fans, what subject would you suggest he covers?

  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Comment #31

    TDSarf…As always on here, people, opinions and whatever else get too easily grouped together. We all start discussing something with one person and by the end you’re arguing with someone else about a completely different point.

    Having read most of the recent “debates”, whilst you said that you would wait to see what time4change has to say, in other posts it certainly came across that you had little faith and ultimately considered them tinpot too. Not sure that was the intention and I know it gets tiring and can be quite easy to snap 🙂

    On KK. Do I think he was the right appointment? Probably not. I love the bloke, but history shows us when the going gets tough, the Kev gets going. Such a passionate and exciting man to have around the place, but certainly doesn’t provide stability. That doesn’t mean I think he’s responsible, even partly really, for our relegation. He was nowhere near the club for ages before that.

    Any impact he had on that is so tiny, is it even worth getting in to?

    I get you were trying to pose the idea that maybe the Wise appointment wasn’t directly meant to force out Keegan, but to take certain responsibilities away, but at the end of the day, courts have decided it was handled terribly and i can understand why fans were furious with how they treated a club legend.

    As for Shearer…Amazing player 🙂 Nowhere near ready for management, but once again, it would seem the club handled things badly. Apparently they didn’t even contact him to say they were going with someone else. Might be hearsay, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

    I think we’re back on to communication again…dear god this is pathetic…It wouldn’t have been hard for the club to release a statement briefly saying thanks for his efforts, he is and always will be a legend at the club, we hope he comes back in the future ready to give it another go (when he’s ready) but for now, they feel the club needs more experience to get back to the PL…which is what the club needs.

    Not too hard and let’s everyone know where they stand.

    You keep saying and I agree, that Ashley is no fool. It does make me wonder why he doesn’t make things clearer then. One theory is he simply doesn’t give a t*ss, in which case fair play to all of those who want him out. Yes he owns the club, yes it’s his money, but we are the fans and to show that much disregard to all those thousands of people just because he didn’t like the attitude of some of those people? That doesn’t work for me.

    Which leads me to think that it’s in his interest to have this constant state of unknown and guesswork. Whilst everybody is arguing and trying to get to the bottom of it, no one is actually doing anything and letting him do whatever it is he’s doing. If his intentions were good and straightforward, he’s make them more accessible imo. Of course within reason.

    Jeez…some people really do like to write lots don’t they….

  • JackButler

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Comment #32


    If he doesn’t want to talk to the fans then fine, at least employ someone to will have open and regular communication with us.

    If Ashley did talk to the fans, what subject would you suggest he covers?

    Simple, what are his intentions in the long term for the club? Because at first we were told that it was to become a champions league club, but everything that happens at the club now would suggest that that is never going to happen

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Comment #33


    So you’ve basically just called him “not fit to run this club”, stupid, behaving in a “pathetic way” and incompetent at selling his own business.

    They sound like insults to me…

    We are just a business venture to him but you know as well as I do that it didn’t seem to start that way. You say he tried to sell but couldn’t for whatever reason. And that’s his fault if people didn’t want to pay the asking price? I don’t believe for a minute that he was demanding £800M and not a penny less. If he wanted to sell then that makes no sense.

    And I 100% agree that there should be someone in authority (i.e. chairman, MD, CEO or DoF level – not JFK) who should communicate with the fans. That’s his biggest mistake in my opinion.

  • GeordieTwo

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    Comment #34

    Spot on JB @32. The owner wants his money back and more, not trophies.

  • croftus5678

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Comment #35

    i think trouble is caused when people claim to know about a subject instead of giving there own honest opinion and realise that there own opinion may be fiction and not fact !


    just picked up one of your comments from a quick scan there and it makes it sound like you understand ashley and know what he likes so it would be pretty easy if i was a petty troll to shoot you down on those comments and tbf we do have a lot of petty trolls on this blog lol.

    there are things i think i know about ashley myself but i always remember points which dont make sense with him either so i cant claim to understand him at all tbh !
    making a rod for our own back and the financies i get the jist of but if it was the case why did we say we was after so many players when we admitted we did not have the funds to buy them ? just my opinion on it but it seems like that was saying we led you on and knew it !

  • Slank

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Comment #36

    JackButler @32

    If Ashley did talk to the fans, what subject would you suggest he covers?

    ‘Simple, what are his intentions in the long term for the club? Because at first we were told that it was to become a champions league club..’

    Why do you think his intentions have changed?

  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Comment #37

    Dok…Sorry mate, ,missed your earlier post. How’s tricks?

    $400m? Sounds like a $150m player spending spree!

    Dok in! Dok in! Dok in!

    For those asking why should Ashley communicate with fans…

    No one is expecting a sit down with Ashley. But given all of the uncertainty and abuse he gets anyway, wouldn’t it be in his interest to up date that last statement from 5 years ago?

    He just appoints more people who fans don’t relate to. It’s absolute madness. Why make it so difficult?

    If things really are as they say, why can’t the reps at these fan communication meetings (or whatever they’re officially called) answer the serious questions? It all does add up to something being hidden. So once again, if all is good, why not prove it or at least make some effort?

    If it’s just down to not caring what the fans think, then isn’t that unacceptable by itself?

    There will always be some fans who don’t like him, but what about everyone else?

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Comment #38


    You do write a lot! I’ve called the random groups “tinpot” but I certainly never wanted to make out that I felt the same about time4change. Maybe before I heard about them but once I did, I wrote an email to an address that Ruddy provided to get more information and maybe provide a sounding board or offer some help. I didn’t get a response…

    KK could have just got on with the playing side at the club and not worried about what DW was doing. Did I expect him to do that? NO! Do I blame him for not doing that? NO! It’s the nature of the beast and I don’t blame him for that any more than I blame a cat for scratching me if I stand on its tail. KK is an old-school manager and could only operate under certain circumstances. I’m sure that was communicated in initial discussions with MA and MA didn’t anticipate that KK was not going to change his mind just because he wanted him to.

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Comment #39


    Sorry mate, it’s the problem with this blog that you can’t just read one post and get the gist of the conversation. Besides, I said that was my perception of Ashley based on what I know he has done with this club and with other businesses. I never said it was fact.

  • Slank

    Sep 17, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Comment #40

    croftus5678 @ 35

    What TDS said about Ashley has been said about him many times before. You don’t need to know Ashley personally to know his traits.

    I thought TDS was spot on about Ashley.


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