Mike Williamson started the season as Newcastle’s number four center-back, and during the summer we were thinking he may even be sold, with Cardiff City and Swansea both said to be interested, and we didn’t think Mike would get many games for Newcastle this season.
Mike Williamson – a first class professional
But we were wrong on that one, and while we always knew that Mike was an excellent professional, he got his chance in that second half at Everton, and looked so solid alongside Fab Coloccini, and we came close to even snatching a point after being 3-0 down at half time, and Mike has played well ever since.
Williamson will turn 30 in just less than two weeks, and Alan Pardew has admitted that he has often looked past him when considering players to come into the side, but says the almost 6’5″ center-back has improved with age.
Mike has improved a lot since he arrived in late January of 2010, and having not played a first team game for many months, he was our star man in the 2-0 home win against Crystal Palace on his debut.
And Mike arrived just after Steven Taylor had picked up an injury against West Brom that would keep him sidelined until the end of the season, and Mike came in and got the job done, and we easily won the Championship with 102 points that season, and finished a massive 11 points above second placed West Brom, under then manager Roberto Di Matteo.
Alan Pardew has talked candidly today about the Stoke-born center-back:
“There have been times I have looked past him for other players, but he has always handled that well and whenever I have put him in, he has never let me down.”
“His stature, particularly at set-plays, gives us a slight advantage where we have a slight disadvantage without him.” ”I think he has grown as a player – centre-halves do, they get better with age.”
“So I think he has got better since I have been here and that has been reflected in some of his performances.” ”He is actually very intelligent and laid-back.”
“Sometimes that can mask a little bit – I have had centre-halves who are tearing about and want to take on the world who are not as brave as Willo,”
“He knows the Premier League, he has been doing it now for three years at this football club under my supervision and as I say, I think he has improved as we have gone along.”
Mike is one of our best buys over the last few years, and he cost around £1M, when he was signed from Portsmouth, after he hadn’t played one first team game for them that season.
At the time Portsmouth were having financial difficulties, and didn’t want to pay any add-on payments for Mike, who they had brought in from Watford in the summer of 2009, and therefore didn’t play him.
Of course since that time Portsmouth have gone bankrupt, after spending money on players they just didn’t have.
Mike is again proving his worth to Newcastle this season, and he’s a great example of somebody who kept his head down and training hard, even when he didn’t make the subs bench earlier this season.
He’s a great professional, and our hats are off to him.
What do you think?