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The Truth – Ben Arfa´s Story Is A Sad One

6:22 pm, Monday, September 28th, 2015 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 75 Comments

Hatem Ben Arfa is in the news at the moment because of the two great goals he scored for Nice against St. Etienne yesterday, a game in which Nice went on to win 4-1.

It was an excellent away win for them against second-placed St. Etienne and they are now in 8th position in tthe French league and they finished with only nine men in that game.

ben arfa in nice colors

Ben Arfa in Nice colors – 6 goals in 8 games this season

Ben Arfa is having a resurgence of his career at Nice and he is top of the goal scoring charts in France with 6 goals in eight games and of course, there´s never been any doubt this lad has extraordinary ability – there has never been any question of that.

We always thought he had as much ability as Lionel Messi, but where he didn´t match the Argentine was in application, temperament, and plain hard work on and off the field.

Before he arrived at Newcastle in the summer of 2010, after falling out with then Marseilles manager Didier Deschamps, he had a history of falling out with his managers.

But after suffering a terrible double break of his left leg in October 2010 at Manchester City, he showed tremendous bravery and courage in returning from that blow.

While at Newcastle when he was playing his best in 2012 he scored two of the greatest individual goals ever seen at St. James Park against Blackburn Rovers and Bolton as we finished 5th in the Premier League that May.

He ran half the length of the field for each goal and they were something to see.

But after that season things begin to go wrong for Ben Arfa and in his last full season at Newcastle from 2013-2014 he lost favor with Alan Pardew.

It seemed like Ben Arfa wouldn´t follow the directions he had been given on the field and certainly he was poor at tracking back to help out the defense.

It all ended up with him being sent out on loan just over a year ago to Hull City, but manager Steve Bruce also tired of his lack of discipline and work-rate and cut short his loan and he then signed full-time for Nice in January.

But because of a screw up that said he had already played for two teams last season – the Newcastle U21 side being one of them along with Hull City he was not allowed to play for Nice last season.

To his credit, he has come roaring back this season and he looks fit.

But Ben Arfa should be playing for one of the top clubs in Europe and while it´s great he´s doing so well this season, this lad should now be one of the best players in Europe with all the ability he has.

Newcastle fans don´t have to be reminded of that innate ability.

But we will always think that with Ben Arfa because of his great ability it was an opportunity lost, a career unfulfilled.

If he had the temperament and work ethic of Lionel Messi he would be where Messi has been for the last seven years or so – one of the best if not the best player in world football.

That´s why we feel it´s a sad case with Ben Arfa.

But hey, like  anything else in this life there is always opportunity and time for Ben Arfa to rise again – become more consistent and mature – and finally fulfill his tremendous potential.

We hope that happens and even if it doesn’t, some of the goals he has already scored including those two for Newcastle will show what great ability Ben Arfa always  had.

That´s even if he wasn´t able to become a world-class player when he had been blessed world-class ability.

Here are his two great goals for Nice yesterday – they are really something.

If a message comes up saying it´s not allowed – click on ¨Watch on YouTube¨ and the video comes up in full-screen mode.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Hatem Ben Arfa · Newcastle News · Other News

75 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ibizatoon // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:27 PM

    Oh good, now at least the deabte will be relevant to the thread, or are we going to move on to another discussion?

  • 2 manxpie // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:31 PM

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh jesus christ!!!!!
    Andy Carroll next is it? he had a good 10 mins the other day

  • 3 welshgeordie9 // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:35 PM

    In January 3 players to sign

    Ben Arfa

  • 4 Ibizatoon // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:35 PM

    manx…10 minutes? In other words a season for Carroll?

  • 5 Jib // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    All those clips prove is there are some shyte tacklers in France.
    Jail for Ashley calling someome’s posts “pointless offerings” takes irony to a new level .

  • 6 JackButler // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    “If he had the temperament and work ethic of Lionel Messi he would be where Messi has been for the last seven years or so – one of the best if not the best player in world football.”

    For the love of God Ed, really???

    If he had the right work ethic and mentality he’d be a top four player, but one of the best in the world?

    Yeah and if Colo had the right mentality, work ethic, pace and could jump higher than a matchbox he’d be the best centre half in the world as well.

  • 7 Tsunki // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    Ha ha it just had to happen. Bring Back Ben Arfa! 😀

    Well done Ed!

  • 8 welshgeordie9 // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:38 PM


    I was thinking that, pot kettle springs to mind.

  • 9 Toon-Prodigy // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:39 PM

    He’s sh1te!

  • 10 Ibizatoon // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:39 PM

    Jib & Welsh…Not wanting to get in the middle of anything, but Jail offers this blog a hell of a lot more than “Ashley Outs”.

    Jib…Have to agree. The level of defending in that video was shocking. You could even argue that the club have recruited well if the instruction was to put together a French league standard defense.

  • 11 Ibizatoon // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:41 PM

    JB…And if Obertan….actually, scratch that, he’s beyond help, even in “if” world.

  • 12 eaststandgeordie1982 // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:42 PM

    Just goes to show how poor the french league is we would benefit more getting players from the championship than from france, at least they will give us more passion and will see us as going to a better club not just a stepping stone to bigger clubs that imo are not good enough to play for.

  • 13 JackButler // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:42 PM

    The reason that HBA is having a resurgence with Nice is the simple fact that French league football is nowhere near the standard of the PL. Cabella, Marveuax, Thauvin, Rivière, Mapou etc etc etc have all looked great over there but have all failed to do a single thing over here, Christ, even Colo would look half decent if he was playing over there

  • 14 JackButler // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:44 PM


    I can’t believe you even began to think that haha, Obertan is just a lost cause

  • 15 Ibizatoon // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:47 PM

    JB…It was worth try, but I quickly realised the error of my ways.

    Oh alright, I’ll chip in on the HBA discussion. Is it fair to say that it’s simply because he’s back in the French league?

    He did do it for us at times too, in the PL, his issue was consistency.

    I think it’s fair to say the following contributed to it:

    1) Pardew and Co’s training and tactics
    2) His own commitment / attitude
    3) His leg break

    Then through the fact it’s the PL in to the mix.

  • 16 croftus5678 // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:48 PM

    no offence but even obertan would look good in france !

    it’s a different league and arfa has been toughened up by the prem.

    it was best for everyone that he went a but like the tiote/obertan/marvaux situation atm.

    i would add river to this but i’m keen to see if macca and co can do anything to change him to be more like mitrovic.

  • 17 Ibizatoon // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:48 PM

    However, you may not want to go through that fact, instead you might want to throw that fact in to the mix.

    Whatever makes you happy, I’m not fussed.

  • 18 Toon-Prodigy // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:50 PM

    His attidude was shocking, he dosn’t look after himself either.

  • 19 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:56 PM

    Jail from earlier…no doubt he has an attitude problem and he’s troublesome…we bought him while he was still young and we knew what we bought!

    …it’s just that alot of football clubs treat players as objects instead of human beings. Benny needed help (even before he came here).

    When you treat kids in the real world (especially those who tend to get in trouble) like we among others treated Benny those kids don’t tend to come good…you loose them!

  • 20 Brian Pinas // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:57 PM

    Nice goal from HBA. Could have done with seeing it from a couple more different angles though.

  • 21 Thump // Sep 28, 2015 at 6:57 PM

    @croftus: Obertan did look good in France, mate; that’s why Fergie signed him 😉

  • 22 JackButler // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:02 PM


    Fergie signed him when he looked good, we signed him when he was well and truly crap.

    Speaks volumes really

  • 23 Ian Toon // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:02 PM

    Jib- I have only just seen your post to me. It is a collective term and I would not label him with it. The ganging up on a blog of an individual over a particular incident is not of my liking because invariably it results in many playing the man and not the ball. Personally, confronting tiresome individuals is too much trouble and I do try to avoid it – I don’t want to be seen as simply a professional controversialist.
    Do you really want to waste your time arguing with people who won’t listen or don’t understand what your getting at. They simply end up by accusing one of harbouring an unpleasant prejudice.
    I have no quarrel with you but I like and respect some you appear to have. That does not influence my football blog thinking towards you but it does impact on the range of permissible opinion which can become narrower.

  • 24 Our Toon // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:09 PM

    So the french league isn’t as strong as the premier league yet the English champions got beat by the french champions last season over 2 legs. Arsenal got beat by Monaco over 2 legs last season, Anthony Martial only scored 13 goals last season yet he’s already on 3 in the prem. Payet was a good player in the french league but he’s looking like being a world beater here with Stella performances every week.

    People need to remember hba isn’t playing for one of the elite french clubs, he’s playing for a poor french team called Nice, yet he’s got 6 goals in 8 games. Make the excuse you want he’s doing his talking on the pitch.

  • 25 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:11 PM

    Broen III has its premier on DR1 today ?

  • 26 swemag // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:16 PM

    Bring back Benny.

  • 27 Our Toon // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:16 PM

    Fergie said obertan was the best player he had in training, his issue has never been ability but it’s a mental issue he has hence why he’s failed repeatedly

  • 28 cyprus // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:18 PM

    3 dumbest moves by below average coaches / mgmt at NUFC:




  • 29 Jib // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:21 PM

    Our Toon
    You using the Euro cups as an argument is falling into the same trap as others.

    No one denies the quality of the top teams in Europe

    It is the strength in depth of their leagues that makes the EPL a stand out.

    In the prem no match is a gimme in ALL the other leagues in Europe there are fixtures you could put your house on , the result is so foregone.

  • 30 Thump // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:26 PM

    @JB: Pardew wanted to prove he could pick up the phone to the top manager in the league and… uh… buy… yep.

  • 31 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:26 PM

    The PL just have alot of money…the German and Spanish league are still much better!

    …the PL money would make up for the uneven aspects of those two leagues.

    How many English players are making it in Europe (or even sought after in Europe).

    When a watch a player like Perez running around in our defense as much as he does…I cringe!

  • 32 Our Toon // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:27 PM


    I’m not confusing that at all, it’s a game played over 2 legs though and it’s used to measure which league deserves more spaces in big competitions. Made Uefa should have a rethink as well?

    He plays for Nice arguably the 15th best team in France, so he’s up against better quality players weekly. It’s not like he didn’t score goals like that here is it!! This league is competitive but that’s because it’s at a poor standard considering the amount of money being spent. The Spanish league is considered the beat because……They perform the best in the euro competitions

  • 33 Our Toon // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:30 PM


    Nice beat St Etienne away St Etienne were strong favourites as they are the better team. Dortmund drew at home to new promoted team yesterday. Juventus drew at home against fro something and they won the first point in there history in serie A. Freak results happen in every league

  • 34 GeordieTwo // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:32 PM

    I think it’s more important who we have at the club and how they are playing. Ben Arfa is done with us. It doesn’t matter how well he plays in France. The past is gone. What we need is focus and effort from the players we have. Was the Chelsea effort a one off or will we see more of it? Because we simply must get points against Norwich, mackems, Stoke, and Bournemouth after Man City. Crucial matches which might determine McLaren’s future with us. Look at all this serious blogging I’m doing lads. It’s simply stunning! 😆

  • 35 Jib // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:33 PM

    Our Toon
    The last time St.Etienne won Ligue1 was 1981 and Nice 1959
    I watched the much hyped Basque derby yesterday.
    David Moye’s Real Sociedad (San Sebastien) v Athletic Bilbao – it was a 0 – 0 crock of shyte.

    I lived in Spain for years , La Liga is average at best.

  • 36 GeordieTwo // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:35 PM

    Gosling is playing well for Bournemouth I see. Happy for him. He needed a fresh start and got it.

  • 37 GeordieTwo // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:37 PM

    Does Bigi still have a future with us? I tend to doubt it now. He seems to have fallen into the same pit that Vuckic fell into a few years back. We seem to be expert at taking the skill and quality out of young players. The injury rates are ridiculous. Look at Good as well.

  • 38 GeordieTwo // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:38 PM

    The same was true of Gosling when he was with us. And Marveaux always seems to have groin problems. And look at Saylor’s track record.

  • 39 GeordieTwo // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:39 PM

    Anybody have any thoughts on why? I’ve heard the training ground theory but surely there is more to it than that?

  • 40 Jib // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:42 PM

    I really hope they nail Michel Platini.
    He is a big enemy of English football.

  • 41 GeordieTwo // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:43 PM

    Going back to those four matches, we must take at least 7 points from them or the season may be over before Christmas. Are we up to it?

  • 42 GeordieTwo // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:45 PM

    Are the training staff up to it? Even now after changes have been made? I would hate to ruin some more good young players like Mbabu and Aarons. I would like to propose training staff fongings when young players get hurt. It will stimulate them to try harder to keep players fit.

  • 43 Whumpie // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:53 PM

    Let’s be honest: he obviously only enjoys life in France, and he only plays well when he’s enjoying life. Nowt wrong with that.

    In the Premier League, he was a very bad option, which is gutting – but that’s the gamble this club takes these days. And usually it fails to come off.

    What I can’t get my head around is, “We always thought he had as much ability as Lionel Messi,”


  • 44 Jail for Ashley // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:53 PM

    Lenny and George calling my posts pointless, what a pair, what a duo what a complete act !

  • 45 toonincheek // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:53 PM

    HBA seems to be back to his best fighting weight.

    I wonder what gave him the motivation to do that?
    Can’t have been easy having 6 monhs away from
    playing competitively.

  • 46 Jib // Sep 28, 2015 at 7:56 PM

    WBA v Evertoon

  • 47 Jail for Ashley // Sep 28, 2015 at 8:07 PM

    Looking back at Ian Toon’s post about playing the man and not the ball ??? What a scion of respectabity he is ! He’s never invented a second third and fourth persona to have a go at people, he’s never claimed to know me personally and invent lies about my personal appearance or invent stories about Mr Tuff and animal cruelty, the guy is poison and has been ever since he started using this blog !

  • 48 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Sep 28, 2015 at 8:07 PM

    Jeff…and you think your league is better…please!

    …if it’s any valid point I have lived in your country too

  • 49 WWSBRD // Sep 28, 2015 at 8:14 PM

    Messi…like the Messi? The bloke plenty of people consider to be the best footballer ever to grace the pitch…really THE Messi?

    HBA would be on par with Messi if his attitude was right?

    And folks say toon fans are deluded

  • 50 Rotonda heights // Sep 28, 2015 at 8:16 PM


    Eva carneriro would sort us out

  • 51 CisseSomething // Sep 28, 2015 at 8:19 PM

    LOL! for the record, i was just wondering who else saw HBA play for nice. Wasn’t trying to start a we need him back/we dont need him debate.

    Good luck to him wherever he ends up.

  • 52 Jib // Sep 28, 2015 at 8:21 PM

    Not saying better , that is very subjective , but it is the toughest without a doubt .

  • 53 WWSBRD // Sep 28, 2015 at 8:26 PM

    Why’s that?

  • 54 Toon Tang // Sep 28, 2015 at 8:34 PM


  • 55 hibbit // Sep 28, 2015 at 8:43 PM

    jail ……who are lenny and george ???

  • 56 TroubledToon // Sep 28, 2015 at 8:55 PM

    Colo has hair similar to Puyol… If only he had taken the trouble to shampoo it as much as Puyol did, we’d have had the world’s best defender too!!!!

  • 57 Mister Tuff // Sep 28, 2015 at 9:01 PM

    Jai – previous post -indeed the master multiple is a complete scumbag and trickster- I like the way he complains about certain types of behaviours but yet practices them himself. He will conplain about certain posters but not others who he perceives as his allies. A trouble maker if I ever saw one. Needs a good thrashing to get him sorted out.

  • 58 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Sep 28, 2015 at 9:08 PM

    Jeff…if I want toughest I will watch rugby 😉

  • 59 toonking // Sep 28, 2015 at 9:18 PM


    you mate need to look more in depth at england mate. They’ve had great managers like sven and capello appointed as manager yet england thenselves still did poor in national tournaments and penalty shoot outs, what you can’t deny is during there spells as manager is a lack or poor english players because this league still had an abundence including a michel owen

    face up to the facts a manager weather foreign or english will not be able to do very good job at newcastle whilst a squad is made of players that are mercunries, bad attituded, poor at communication and finally young ones who’ll be unlikely to show consistant decent form during the first and maybe second season in going to show decent form until later seasons, ask alan shearer he’ll tell you how long it takes before goals really begin to get scored

  • 60 Jib // Sep 28, 2015 at 9:20 PM

    I meant tough as opposite to easy ——————–not opposite to soft.

  • 61 toonking // Sep 28, 2015 at 9:21 PM

    most aren’t going to*

  • 62 BandB // Sep 28, 2015 at 9:22 PM

    Good grief!
    Facebook is DOWN!
    I read the predictions the tetrad of super moons and last night’s blood moon would bring about the end of the world, but I had no idea it would be THIS bad!
    Anyway, carry on discussing that character with a head full of bad wiring.

  • 63 toonking // Sep 28, 2015 at 9:30 PM

    HBA is a player who had the speed it’s the reason he could do those occassional great goals whilst at newcastle but he was consistant and didn’t provide the team play, He can perform very well in the french league but then again who with speed can’t perform well in a league which plays at a slow pace?

    He’s certainly miles behind a messi balletelli was a disgrace off the pitch but still got time with city and liverpool so you can ask yourself why wasn’t HBA given a chance and bought.

  • 64 beermonkey // Sep 28, 2015 at 9:30 PM


    no candy crush for you then

  • 65 Jib // Sep 28, 2015 at 9:34 PM

    Checked out Facebook
    It’s only chat that’s down ffs – get a grip woman

  • 66 beermonkey // Sep 28, 2015 at 9:40 PM


    its down I cant log in

  • 67 Munster Mag // Sep 28, 2015 at 9:43 PM

    Colo would look fantastic over there. He would be so good that Carr would drum up another huge expenses bill chasing him and some flimsy wingers like Marveaux. Its hard to believe that Pardew got grief for dumping lazy chancers like Marveaux and HBA and poncy defenders like Mbiwa, all loved by Carr. Thats why I defended him a lot v the lunatic fringe who all started circle jerking as soon as the anti pardew website came out. It wasnt because i thought he was a latter day Brian Clough!

  • 68 Jib // Sep 28, 2015 at 9:50 PM

    Are you and BandB cohabiting ?

  • 69 beermonkey // Sep 28, 2015 at 10:03 PM

    no I don’t think so
    my misses isn’t a football fan

  • 70 beermonkey // Sep 28, 2015 at 10:04 PM


    it is working now though

  • 71 Jail for Ashley // Sep 28, 2015 at 10:18 PM

    You have a man crush on Pardew, I hope it doesn’t affect your life !

  • 72 toonbrother // Sep 28, 2015 at 10:35 PM

    this article is just dumb and disingenuous
    the only thing sad about benarfas story is Newcastle threw away the best thing that happened to this club since bobby robson by backing a buffoon like Pardew and his idiotic decisions
    He ruined BenArfa at NUFc, ruined Yanga Mbiwa, Santon, Marveaux and so many others
    He sold Best and gave Ameobi a long term contract
    The man was a bufffoon

  • 73 Sav // Sep 28, 2015 at 10:38 PM

    Be happy. He lit up SJP a few times and it just great to see a smile on his face. His best moments in a black and white shirt will never be forgotten and the stuff dreams are made on. At the end of the day, isn’t that why we go along every match?

  • 74 gazzaforever // Sep 28, 2015 at 11:21 PM

    Before the judging the French league look yourself in a mirror English teams are sh1t in the European scene and French league have the tightest defenses in Europe, . Ben Arfa is back in to his top form he has a great coach and play 10, not on the foking wing.

  • 75 lovey // Sep 29, 2015 at 1:33 AM

    everything about Ben Arthur was his own doing = greedy , lazy , selfish, yet i always had a soft spot for him but he was the one who made his rod for his own back , so good luck to him if he has matured then he will become a good player

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