Hatem Ben Arfa will be back at St. James’ Park today, but he will not be in the 18 man Hull City squad, but he will be at the game, and this morning he has given a (very) long interview with the Yorkshire Post, where he reveals some things that happened that allowed him to sign on at Hull on a season long loan, almost two hours after the transfer window had closed.
Ben Arfa – after signing a loan deal at Hull City
It’s hardly surprising that the 27 year-old French International is now in much better spirits at Hull than he was at Newcastle in his final few months, where he was basically ostracized and made to train with the Newcastle Reserves squad, after a big falling out with manager Alan Pardew.
This is what Ben Arfa has told the Yorkshire Post today:
“I am very happy to be at Hull,” “I have made my debut against West Ham last Monday and training has gone very well. My fitness was one of the first things I spoke to Steve Bruce about when I signed and I have a program. It is helping me improve.”
“There is also a very good atmosphere in this football club. We feel like a family. And the spirit is good, like the staff and the players are all together. That is good for the season.”
“The staff talk a lot with the players. They laugh and enjoy being with us. It means every morning I enjoy coming into the training ground.”
“We didn’t have a lot of time and I got lost on the way to sign,” “But I was told if I signed a piece of paper before 11pm, that would get us two hours’ more.” “I had to get to a hotel where I could get the fax and sign it.”
“If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to sign.” “I can’t remember the hotel’s name but it was next to the train station in York.” “They didn’t know who I was. I was panicking a bit in my mind – I had already signed for Hull.” “
Because my English isn’t brilliant, the manager (Bruce) was on the telephone so I handed it to the man at the hotel.” “He couldn’t believe Steve Bruce was on the telephone.”
“He helped us a lot. Hull sent something to the hotel, I signed it and then the hotel sent it back to Hull. From there, I went to Hull to sign the contract.”
“It is very nice of Steve Bruce to bring me to Hull,” he said. “It is very important when a manager wants you. It was good to hear that he wanted to sign me.
“Being at Newcastle was hard because I was training with the reserves. When I know the manager wants me, that is the most important thing. It is a good thing for me. I hope we can now do a good job together.”
“I will go to the game at Newcastle, of course I will,” he said. “But I will have to remember to turn left coming out of the tunnel and not right.”
“To go back to St James’ Park against Newcastle will be very strange. But that is life. I enjoyed myself in Newcastle and going to the left out of the tunnel will be strange.”
“Sometimes, in my room I remember how excited I was to play at St James’ Park in front of that crowd. But that is life sometimes, you have to leave and change club. Football is like that.”
“Going back to St James’ Park, I will be emotional. Of course, 1,000 per cent. Now, though, that story is finished. I have a new story, I am at Hull and very happy to be at Hull.”
“I won’t be able to play today but I will be there supporting my team and hoping we can get a result for Hull.” “I can’t help my team on the field because I can’t play. But the most important thing will be getting the three points for Hull City.”
It’s a sad state of affairs when a manager falls out with one of his most gifted players, who is also a popular player.
Both men are responsible for what happened – it takes two to tango – but we think Pardew made the mistake of letting it get too personal with the Frenchman, who we know can be a difficult player to manage.
What happened with Ben Arfa on that last day of the transfer window has done nothing to help Alan Pardew’s case at Newcastle, and it’s just one of the reasons the fans have galvanized and turned against him in a big way.
We can only hope Newcastle can somehow win this game today, but another defeat and things will become even worse on Tyneside.
That’s hard to even imagine. 🙁
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