My Dream Is To Be In The Top Four With Newcastle Next Season

When you read Ben Arfa’s long interview in the Independent today, you have to admit the 27 year-old seems to be really hurting, and he has said that not only does he want to stay at Newcastle United, but his dream is to help Newcastle finish in the top four next season.

ben arfa yellow stoke

Ben Arfa – in action against Stoke City

The Sunday People last weekend reported they believe Ben Arfa has played his last game for Newcastle, and that seems to be supported by the fact that Alan Pardew didn’t even include Ben Arfa in the travelling party to London last Monday night, for the game at the Emirates, which we ended up losing 3-0, which was our sixth league defeat in a row. :(.

This is some of what the mercurial French winger has said in the Independent today:

“If the manager doesn’t pick me, he doesn’t pick me. I don’t have any problems with team-mates. All I know is that I want to train and I want to play and that’s it. I’m just here to play football. I can’t be the only reason for the problem. I can only do so much and I am not on the pitch.”

“On the pitch I think I can offer my flair, my creativity offensively. I take initiative positively and I try every time to do something. I think I can give a lot for the club. I just want to play. I’m fit. I’m not injured. I’m ready to play.

“If the manager says to me he doesn’t believe in me for next season, I still want to stay, I want to stay but if the President [meaning owner Mike Ashley] wants to sell me, I have to go then. I want to stay here even if the manager doesn’t believe in me, because I will show him I can play here.”

“Of course my family and friends ask my why I’m not playing, but the people who are more surprised are the supporters here. They come up to me and ask me why I’m not playing and I say, ‘I don’t know.”

“My dream is to be in the top four next season with Newcastle, to get into the Champions League or to win a cup. That is my dream.”

Alan Pardew will hold his press conference for the vital Cardiff City game some time later today, and he’s bound to be asked what the current situation really is with Hatem Ben Arfa.

But if we don’t see the Frenchman playing again for Newcastle, it’s going to be a very sad end to a career on Tyneside that started sensationally in August four years ago.

That’s when Ben Arfa  left Marseilles and took a plane to Newcastle – a club he was desperate to play for, like some of the great French players of the past.

And Ben Arfa knew all about Newcastle’s great history when he arrived, which isn’t always the case with players coming to Tyneside these days.

And at least one player seems to still love Newcastle United.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

60 comments so far

  • Laurent Robert 32

    May 1, 2014 at 1:14 AM

    Comment #1

    Post by Niafron a number of months ago about Hatem’s history which I thought was very good as he has followed him a lot closer than probably all of us theough the years.

    Worth a re-post…

    Well, first wasn’t Lyon, but Marseille who let HBA go on loan…Lyon sold him to Marseille for 15 millions. He went out of the club cause of a fight in the dressing room with Sebastien Squilaci and also (according ot the rumours) cause he and Karim Benzema courted the same girl.

    Concerning Marseille, they finaly tried to keep him at the club, but he broke everything in the office of Chairman Jean claude Dassier and then went on strike.

    So they finally accepted the (pretty cheap) Newcastle’s offer…   His first (and last) true season with Lyon he was a starter the first 5 month.

    At the Winter Breal, Lyon was ahead everyone with at least 10 points (maybe more, can’t remember).He was also brilliant in CPL. He was benched for the dressing room problems i mentioned above and Lyon made a very quiet season end (they were champions but with a small margin and MU kicked them out easily of the cpl).

    Then, his first season with Marseille, another astonishing 5 month, and he was benched again cause Gerrets didn’t like his work rate in training.Marseille season’s end was far more difficult…

    Then, his last season in France.
    Deschamps didn’t make him play the first sixth month cause he never considered him a serious player (he still doesn’t).But he was short of players. So he was forced to make him play 3 months as a starter.Marseille was in the 3rd or 4th positions maybe 7 or 8 points behind the 1st of the chart, Bordeaux. After these 3 months, they took the lead with 5 or 6 points…They were champion with the same margin but without HBA, cause Deschamps kept him on the bench for a very defensive tactic once Marseille was ahead. During his time as a starter, was just incredible to watch him play. So it was a direct relation between his performances and those of his teams.

    And exactly the same thing happened with NUFC. Our best period under Pard, was our 7 win in a row during spring 2012. The best period of Beny as well…

  • jimmysmith

    May 1, 2014 at 1:22 AM

    Comment #2

    Hazard is streets ahead of Ben Arfa in terms of goals and assists and moreover getting up and down the flank. But his lack of tracking back was the weakness in the Chelsea defeat tonight against Atletico.

    Ben Arfa as part of a Newcastle top 4 side seems a comical notion. To be frank, I don’t think a top 4 side would touch him.

  • Thump

    May 1, 2014 at 1:59 AM

    Comment #3

    @jimmy: I think his attitude has been his worst enemy. This is the third club he’s spat the dummy out at and that just isn’t what a top manager would want in his dressing room.

    On the flip side, Arfa is an important player for us. As is Marveaux. We desperately need creativity in our side and it’s basically left up to Sissoko’s running and Goofy’s pace rather than the trickery that either Arfa or Marv could provide. I’m all for Pardew’s ideas of building from the back, but we don’t have the discipline to keep defensively and, without the French wingers, we definitely don’t have the spark to go forward.

  • Blofal

    May 1, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    Comment #4

    Time to bring in a manager who can manage him properly and build our attack around him.

    You can see how hard he tries every game. His tracking back is not that bad. Certainly no worse than a lot of other players at the club. But he gets used (along with Mbiwa) as a scapegoat for Pardew’s tactical failings.

    if you sit back and invite pressure against teams with $100 million worth of attacking talent they are going to score. If you offer a threat yourself they can’t pin you back as much… we have no attacking threat as we bench Ben Arfa and don’t even play Marveaux in the squad.

    Even Obertan could be lethal on the counter with his pace but the man like most of our fringe players lacks confidence and opportunities. Tracking back is Pardew’s priority because he is afraid of getting belted and losing his job. Well that has happened anyway.

  • Blofal

    May 1, 2014 at 2:05 AM

    Comment #5

    We have no regular formation or style of play. Players playing out of position.

    I mean what is Sissoko? Box to Box? RM? Mbiwa is not a RB.
    Santon is not a LB.
    Gouffran is not a LM.
    LDJ is not a CAM.
    Cisse is not a winger.
    Dummet is mot a LWB.
    Cabaye was player as a defensive mid for a time until finally they put him back up front and he started scoring.

    Without the individual acts of brilliance from Remy, Ba, Cabaye, Cisse and Ben Arfa we can’t score because there is no link up play. It doesn’t take rocket science to see why our season has fallen in a heap. Lack of investment is part of it but our squad has been better than what Pardew has been able to do with it.

  • jimmysmith

    May 1, 2014 at 2:16 AM

    Comment #6

    I think if he’d played Marv and Benny we’d definitely have picked up significantly more points in the New Year, but he wants more from them and from the unit as a whole. I think he sees Marv and Benny, as they are, as compromising the development of the side, and strangely despite results I think he’s right. A new manager might have a different view, but I don’t think either player is the way forward for Newcastle. They really don’t look top notch players because of their all too obvious flaws. Both players have too often put in truly woeful displays, of the calibre of Mbiwa.

  • Blofal

    May 1, 2014 at 2:55 AM

    Comment #7

    Jimmy we have no attacking threat and development under Pardew just does not seem to happen. Players have gotten worse under his management not better.

    His idea of management and development was to make a defensive substitution at 2-0 down against Arsenal and do wonders for Adam Armstrong by giving him 3 minutes at the end.

    He has a rigid idea of play that falls apart when he can’t slot square pegs into round holes. I agree Ben Arfa and Marv aren’t the way forward.. but they could have been if our system (whatever that is) was to play to players strengths rather than just having players do what they are told regardless of their natural game.

  • Brutooon

    May 1, 2014 at 3:28 AM

    Comment #8

    the only way for HBA to be top four and get Champion League is if he move on.

    wont happen at nufc

  • ilovetoon8788

    May 1, 2014 at 3:41 AM

    Comment #9

    the way Pardew handled Arfa is absolutely disgraceful.

    His rubbish tactics and when it fails he just throws all the blame on Arfa.

    From a manager; simply pathetic leadership.

  • ilovetoon8788

    May 1, 2014 at 3:43 AM

    Comment #10

    Though i mentioned Pardew handling of Arfa was pathetic, i still maintain my notion that Arfa is a poor player and most top 6 sides won’t touch him.

    His decision making is pants amd hogs on the ball for far too long. Not good enough for us.

  • ilovetoon8788

    May 1, 2014 at 3:44 AM

    Comment #11

    if a 7 million bid comes in for him, he will be sold.

  • theartfuldodger

    May 1, 2014 at 6:20 AM

    Comment #13

    People praise Mourinho a lot, but recently he has been vry similar to Pardew

    Negative tactics, highly defensive.
    Looks for lucky goals or individual brilliance.
    Plays favourites.

    Better than Pardew tactically in setting up team
    Grills team well, but his team has extremely talented players.

  • cyprus

    May 1, 2014 at 6:25 AM

    Comment #14

    Since the ‘manager’ (in quotes) doesn’t play you, i’m sure you have time on your hands and I’m sure a simple google search has brought you here. Bottom line? You probably read this blog on occasion, right?
    Anyway, here’s my message: I’m guessing that the NEW manager (have patience, 3 more weeks!) will build the team around you, where other players don’t just stand off when you try to do your thing, but they actually help you out. Be strong the end (of his ‘management’) is neigh 🙂

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    May 1, 2014 at 6:45 AM

    Comment #15

    It’s all about spin and damage control. Pardew is trying distance himself from the problem and is trying to turn the spotlight on Benny;

    …we will see in a few weeks whether or not he succeeds! Hopefully NoNuts can see what’s in front of him…a ruthless charlatan who won’t accept responsibility but problems the players.

  • theartfuldodger

    May 1, 2014 at 6:51 AM

    Comment #16

    Why do we have only 1 creative player .. Specially when our manager relies heavily on them..It does not matter if we have CB,LB or DM backups as much as creative flair matters to Pardew..

    The next flair player to walk through the door needs to know that he has the sole responsibility or creating goals. There will be no backup. His failure will be highlighted everywhere.

  • thetruthnufc

    May 1, 2014 at 6:53 AM

    Comment #17

    There is no doubt he has the talent to be at a top 4 club but there are a few reasons he is not excelling.
    Attitude just say nothing and get on with your job on the pitch the best players always show there talents on the pitch.
    Think that if Ben arfa had bobby Robson as a manage it would be a differ ant story with pardew I bet its like a pressure cooker at training and in the dressing room par dew has a temper and so does Ben arfa so its proberly easier for par dew just not to take him and leave him at home but surely as a manager you are paid to manage the players I’m not saying Ben arfa is not at fault here but he is just a player who needs a arm put around and to made to feel like he can be a superstar which we all know he can be.but he might ultimately be remembered as a could of rather that achieve success and win trophy and awards.

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    May 1, 2014 at 6:57 AM

    Comment #18

    *problems = blames

  • Average_Contents

    May 1, 2014 at 7:07 AM

    Comment #19


    I’ll tell you what I think, pardspew is a complete and utter disgrace to the profession of managers who couldn’t handle his own temper never mind a moody, flawed genius like benny! He just wants to be loved is that too much to ask lol obviously yes because our puppet loves himself to much! Can’t stand the cnut or his blob of a mate who is quite clearly blind or possibly doesn’t give a shit

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    May 1, 2014 at 7:09 AM

    Comment #20

    Very different from the message Hatem’s agent put out just a few days ago. If this interview is what he really feels it would have been nice for him to also discredit what his agent said about buying out his contract. I think this is just saying what fans want to here, rather than actually meaning it.

    At the end of the day, I really think it is immaterial what HBA says or what he wants. Contract talks broke down last summer according to reports because he wanted a higher wage then our structure allows, and the club haven’t gone back to talk despite stories saying they had planned to at the end of last year. He values himself higher than the club do so extending his contract seems to be unlikely. In which case if any bid comes in he will be out of the door.

    I’d imagine a large part of that thinking, and the lack of firm interest in the player have led to the club marginalising him and trying to force him out when any bid comes in.

  • Average_Contents

    May 1, 2014 at 7:14 AM

    Comment #21

    Case in point the Fcuking delusional cretin! Love yourself much

    “It always makes a difference because we are a team and it is important the manager has a voice on the side,” the Magpies boss said. “There are a couple of times you need to control a player if he has made a mistake or done something good, to reinforce some belief in them.

    “I am disappointed we have ended up with a defeat because I think overall we have no injuries so Saturday is an important game for us. We need to focus on that to get ourselves a win.”

  • Average_Contents

    May 1, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    Comment #22


    In your own words, if they don’t agree with a player’s wishes the club just seem to fob them off!

    Then ignore them then sell them as trouble makers i.e Nolan, Barton,Enrique, Simpson just off the top of my head! Basically if you don’t like it fcuk off! What kind of attitude is that from a professional football club!

    Didn’t his agent also say he wanted to stay here so why would he discredit it? I understand he could of said “no I don’t want to cancel my contract” but why would he close of any escape route out of this shithouse? Would you in hus situation?

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    May 1, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    Comment #23

    I’m not saying what the club are doing is right mate. Just saying that is how I perceive the situation to be.

    I don’t think saying, no I don’t want to cancel my contract closes off any options. He still could and say situations have changed. I highly doubt he would cancel his contract anyway, would send out a bad message to future prospective employers, particularly when looked at with his turbulent past and exit from Marseille.

  • firebug666

    May 1, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    Comment #24

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Benny is right and Pardrew’s football is wrong.

    How can you have a go at one player in a team that is just awful everywhere.

    Benny has never been able to play his natural game under Pardrew, but when you look at that season we finished 5th, for the first half of that season Benny was still injured and Obertan was playing right wing and although he could not cross for toffee he still managed to get forward and play some decent ball in. When Benny came back from injury he was fantastic for us, making some good long mazy runs and attacking every defence in the league with confidence.

    The problems started for Benny when Pardrew decided to keep dropping him deeper and deeper in our set up, then expecting him to run forward the length of the pitch and score goals at the end of it.

    I have said this before, Benny is an attacking player and needs to be played in advanced position, he should be used as an outlet when we break from defence. but how can he get forward when these days the way Pardrew has the team set up to play, Benny is so far back he ends up behind the fullbacks defending.

    Benny started great but then got Pardrewed, what more can be said?

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    May 1, 2014 at 7:36 AM

    Comment #25

    Also, I don’t think Simpson was discarded due to being a trouble maker, more due to him wanting a much higher wage then he was worth in the clubs eyes.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    May 1, 2014 at 7:42 AM

    Comment #26

    I don’t think it is a case of one or the other. Pardew is useless, very few will argue that fact. But HBA has praised Pardew in the past for his man management and to quote HBA “letting him play his game”. He has also credited Pardew with helping him mature as a person and a player.

    Still, we are where we are, partly as he is being used as a scapegoat and asked to do things not natural to him, partly because he has lost the confidence of team mates, and partly through his own lack of application.

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    May 1, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    Comment #27

    Lilongwe…if we are going to believe the media or rumors then Liverpool were interested in Benny last summer and wanted to pay more than £10M for him. Now we will get a fraction of that if anything at all.

    Why didn’t we let him leave then?

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    May 1, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    Comment #28

    Err, because he still had 2 years of his contract left, and talks had been planned for the end of last year, but the club cancelled them. So last summer they were still entertaining the idea of extending. That is why.

  • cyprus

    May 1, 2014 at 7:53 AM

    Comment #29

    We’ll disagree on this one. I like the ‘flawed genius’ description, above. He ain’t Hazard but he’s our ‘hazard’, warts and all.

    Once in a while he has to say good things about the ‘manager’, but they definitely don’t agree:

    “But it’s true we don’t share quite the same philosophy. For him, it’s more crosses, a bit of a more direct style, whereas I’m more the kind of player who likes to play short passes. I like to pass and move, a little bit like Swansea when we played against them. I was very impressed with the way Swansea played football.

    “That is the kind of football I like. That’s the philosophy I learned at the French academy at Clairefontaine.”

    I’m with him on that.


  • Lilongwe Geordie

    May 1, 2014 at 8:03 AM

    Comment #30

    HBA likes to pass and move?? Very little evidence of that since he has been here!

    I’m not arguing that his ability, but he also has attitude problems which mean that he is highly unlikely to be blameless in all this. The reports in papers over the last few months mirror what happened at Lyon and Marseille where he fell out with players and management. It is nothing new, and at some point he has to look at himself as a problem.

    It will be interesting to see who comes in for him in the summer, and where he ends up. Rumours of moves to the top clubs have always been surrounding him, yet none have ever bothered bidding for him. He isn’t a bairn anymore, and when he moves this summer it will probably be his last big move.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    May 1, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    Comment #31

    that should have been about…..

  • lochinvar

    May 1, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    Comment #32

    The problem here is that coaches such as Carver and Pardew just don’t have the management skills to understand the French mentality or that of other Nationalities. They are very different and as someone who has worked for a French Company it’s not about telling them that hoofball is the way we do it here, more about persuading them that their “style” is important and working with them on how they can best contribute to the team performance. Increasingly I feel that we have Del Boy car salesman characters trying to run an International motor company. Are we second hand geezers or a classy marque – Lada or Jaguar? – know which I would prefer.

  • beermonkey

    May 1, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    Comment #33

    hi peeps

    I have been ofline for a couple of weeks
    can some1 give me a brief outline of wot I have missed
    I aint goin back 14days of eds aritcles I will lose another day there will be so many

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    May 1, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Comment #34

    But as you say those talks broke down last summer and Err here is still here with Livetpool wanting to pay top $!

    …it ain’t adding up mate. This is spin and damage control from a man who doesn’t want to loose his job and ain’t walking!

  • firebug666

    May 1, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Comment #35

    The fact that Pardrew left our most creative player at home for the Arsenal game shows that ineptitude we all talk about. I am not saying the result would have been different, but if Benny had been on the pitch Arsenal would have had more to worry about, and maybe we could have put some pressure on them instead of none.

    Talk about cutting your nose off to spite your face. Benny is a player that is contracted to play for Newcastle, he is fit and ready to go, and imo he should be played.

    As for other players not liking him, I have not seen any interview from any player saying so, and Benny does not mention any players in his interview, so for me this will stay just paper talk and speculation.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    May 1, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Comment #36

    A brief summary,
    Pardew out
    Transfer rumour
    Pardew is doing the best he can
    Ashely out
    Transfer rumour
    Transfer rumour
    Don’t boycott
    Transfer rumour
    Insult folk
    HBA is amazing
    Transfer rumour
    HBA isn’t amazing

    That pretty much sums it up.

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    May 1, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    Comment #37

    But as you say those talks broke down last summer and Err here he still are with Liverpool wanting to pay top $!

    …it ain’t adding up mate. This is spin and damage control from a man who doesn’t want to loose his job and ain’t walking!

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    May 1, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    Comment #38

    What are you on about spin and damage control?? Is that what it was at Lyon when he had bust ups with 2 players, and slagged the club off as lacking class and not being a great club, what about at Marseille where he had bust ups with 2 players again, refused to come on as a sub in a match, skipped training, insulted Deschamps and refused to go back to the club? Yes, this situation isn’t all his doing, but to consider him blameless is naivety of the highest order.

    As I said, further talks were planned so, no they were still keen to keep him at the time. Anyway, there was no actual report of any bid. Just like when he has been leaving clubs previously he has been linked with Real Madrid, Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea, but none of those clubs ever bid. It would be more likely the rumours of Liverpool were to force Newcastle into offering higher wages.

  • lesh

    May 1, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    Comment #39

    Suggest we all be a tad careful about accepting everything that’s attributed to Ben Arfa.

    Why? Refer to

    Laurent Robert 32’s repost of
    a post by Niafron which pre used Ben Arfa’s previous form at Lyon and Marseilles. There appears to be a pattern which resembles his current, reported behaviour. Maybe, maybe not.

    Ok, Pardew may not be totally innocent in this but it’s only fair to take a balanced view.

    There is very much an air of ‘Whatever Pardew does is wrong’ at the moment and it’s easy adopt the very human trait of believing what we want to believe. But bear in mind that Ben Arfa’s got an agent who’ll do whatever he thinks will paint the picture of his client being the wronged party, the victim to portray a situation where buying his contract out would be seen as justifiable and reasonable by his fans. A PR exercise, spin, call it whatever you like.

    Of course Ashley and his representatives are not above doing such a dastardly thing as manipulating the media and two wrongs don’t make a right.

    But, whatever’s happening or happened can’t disguise the fact that Ben Arfa’s a very talented player – on his day. But he seems to have a history of being at the centre of controversy and if it’s a case of accepting his behaviour and the resultant disharmony in the squad, or letting him go then sad as it may seem, so be it – he goes.

    My point? Weigh everything up before rushing to beat Pardew over the head on this particular issue.

    That’s not to say that I’m defending Pardew’s management in its entirity and I do believe it’s time for him to go, asap.

  • cyprus

    May 1, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    Comment #40

    Beer Monkey,
    Summary of what you missed: “Pardew out.”

    I know we aren’t going to agree on this one.
    You keep mentioning his naughty past as incriminating evidence but what I’ve seen is just a talented frustrated even placid lad who has been remarkably patient, especially given the bad boy image he’s famous for.
    As far as football is concerned, check out when he makes his runs how many players are ready to play the passing game with him: none. Of course one can counter-argue that it’s because they know he won’t pass, but who knows.
    he tries to do too much when he plays, not too little, that’s where the problem lies. He feels he has the weight of a crap team on his shoulders when he makes his cameo appearances, where a small miracle is needed to turn around a crap performance. Result? He loses the ball and people get frustrated with him.


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