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It Was A Nightmare – I Was A Prisoner – I’m Back From Hell

Hatem Ben Arfa has shown a lot of character this season at Nice in being able to get back to his very best form after he had a poor season last season in the Premier League.

The 28 year-old was excluded from training with the Newcastle first team at the start of last season and then he was sent out on loan on the last day of the summer transfer window to Hull City.

Alan Pardew did not want him at Newcastle and it was best for both sides that Ben Arfa went out on loan.

ben arfa trapping ball

Hatem Ben Arfa – in action while at Newcastle

But that didn’t work out either and Hull boss Steve Bruce didn’t want him on loan at Hull either and in January Newcastle allowed him to move on a free transfer to French club Nice, even though he still had six months left on his contract.

But then because he had played for Hull and the Newcastle U21 side he was amazingly not allowed to play for Nice.

So let’s just say it was a very bad time for Ben Arfa last season – which is why he’s done so well in coming back.

His excellent form in the French League has meant that French manager Didier Deschamps – his former manager at Marseille who he fell out with before he joined Newcastle in the summer of 2010 – recalled him to the French side last week.

That selection also reflects very well on Deschamps – that he doesn’t hold a grudge – after their joint problems at Marseille.

Ben Arfa has been talking during the International break about his private hell at Newcastle:

“It was a hell at Newcastle. There, on the first day back in August 2014, I was placed directly with the reserves – a terrible humiliation.”

“Weeks passed and I was always with these young 16, 17-year-olds away from the pros. I did not understand it. They made it a nightmare. It was full of little cheap shots. And when I believed I had got out by signing for Nice, they were forbidden to hire me.”

“I had the feeling of being locked in a dark room without a door, or in an endless tunnel. I saw hell and especially no solution to my problems.”  “At that time, I was wrong, I did not see any light.”

“I was a prisoner. I told myself every day to not let go. I tried to convince myself that the light was coming back, I was going to find the right path.”  “By signing this summer with Nice, I really felt out of hell.”

“In fact, that’s it – I’ve come back from hell.”

If Ben Arfa continues to show great form at Nice there may be bigger clubs come in for him – but for his career – maybe the best thing to do is to stick with Nice and try to make them into a top side in France.

Nice are currently in 6th place with 21 points from 13 games played.

He has 7 goals and 2 assists in 14 appearances for Nice this season and while at Newcastle he played 86 times with 14 goals and 17 assists and on his best form he was world-class.

We hope Ben Arfa can continue his great comeback in France and can play for France next summer in the Euro 2016 Championships, which are being held in France.

Comments welcome.

43 comments so far

  • Ibizatoon

    Nov 10, 2015 at 2:36 PM

    Comment #1

    Ed…It’s been a bit of a slow day it seems. I’d imagine this article will bring some attention though.

    I’ll get things started.


    Wish the lad all the best. Extremely talented, but has question marks over his attitude / commitment. Much like there are / were huge question marks over the setup he played under.

  • cyprus

    Nov 10, 2015 at 2:37 PM

    Comment #2

    Cue the pro-against battle, Ed 🙂

    Dear HBA,
    Apologies for the treatment, you wouldn’t have been out of place with the great entertainers… unluckily, you had to work with the relegation-threatened bores man.

    Best of luck. Thanks for the amazing goals.

  • martoon

    Nov 10, 2015 at 2:44 PM

    Comment #3

    There must have been a reason why he was placed in the reserves which he conveniently forgets to mention. He then went from Hell to Hull (see what I did there 🙂 ) where that didn’t work out either which he also fails to mention. It wasn’t our fault he couldn’t play for Nice but Uefa rules.

  • dok - the horrid colonial

    Nov 10, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    Comment #4

    well said cyprus

  • Polarboy

    Nov 10, 2015 at 2:55 PM

    Comment #5

    The lads clearly a drama queen, he needs to get over himself talking about hell and get some perspective on what real life is like.

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Nov 10, 2015 at 2:55 PM

    Comment #6

    I wasn’t sure whether to repost this comment or not but it is good news for me I wanted to share.

    Oh what a blessed relief, I hope you guys don’t mind me sharing the good news I’ve just had.

    My wife had double bypass heart surgery today and I’ve just had a call to say the operation went well and she is ok.

    It’s so hard just having to wait and not being able to do anything to help.

  • firebug666

    Nov 10, 2015 at 2:56 PM

    Comment #7

    Essex Geordie Bill

    Great news mate, best wishes to you and you missus, hope she makes a speedy recovery.

  • Jib

    Nov 10, 2015 at 2:58 PM

    Comment #8

    To his credit Didier Deschamps takes a more even sided view , commenting

    “With HbA we have seen this all before , a good start and then it all goes to hell , he has his chance in the France squad but I’m not holding my breath !”

  • cyprus

    Nov 10, 2015 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #9

    Excellent news. Best of

  • manxpie

    Nov 10, 2015 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #10

    He should give ballotelli a ring see if he’s still got that “why always me” t-shirt would fit him well it seems

  • JDdubai

    Nov 10, 2015 at 3:10 PM

    Comment #11

    Unless he played during Carver’s reign, he hasnt truly experienced the darkest depths of hell.

  • lesh

    Nov 10, 2015 at 3:11 PM

    Comment #12

    Of course what we’ve read is Hatem’s side of the story – there could be counter claims from Charnley of course.

    If Hatem felt that that unfortunate period at the Club was like being in a dark room without a door, he might just understand how the fans of Newcastle feel and have felt for the last eight years!

  • lesh

    Nov 10, 2015 at 3:15 PM

    Comment #13


    From Hell to Hull….. Vury cluver!


  • Jib

    Nov 10, 2015 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #14
  • LGFUAD21

    Nov 10, 2015 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #15

    anybody thought about this. Considering he was public enemy no 2 after colo.

    We’ve improved since tiote has come back. His individual performances have been so so but he allows others to do more suited roles.

  • nut meg

    Nov 10, 2015 at 3:33 PM

    Comment #16

    Great news,best wishes to you both. She’ll soon be up and about.

  • barkel

    Nov 10, 2015 at 3:35 PM

    Comment #17

    What a bellend! A prisoner? In hell?

    F*** off Hatem, earning what? 30-40k a week? He has no one to blame but himself, how many of us given the chance would play for the toon for free and do whatever was asked of us by the coach (even if he was making us defend!?)

    HBA get out of your own arse you lazy prima donna

  • dok - the horrid colonial

    Nov 10, 2015 at 3:41 PM

    Comment #18

    Cheers bill, always glad to get some good news on here 🙂

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Nov 10, 2015 at 3:55 PM

    Comment #19

    Thanks to all for the good wishes. I’ll pass them on to Pat, she isn’t a football fan but does find the blog amusing at times. Thinks we are a bunch of big kids, which speaking for myself is true. 🙂

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:00 PM

    Comment #20

    Shame about HBA I think we were expecting great things from him. Footballers egos seem to be delicate things.

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:02 PM

    Comment #21

    Well done Benny!

    It’s a goid thing most societies doesn’t cast there young players away like football does…they have a responsibility.

    You lost out to a 50 year old with bigger problems than you Benny and it marked you for sure…as it would anyone else.

    If it’s any consolation the fans lost out as well (back then to Pardew and Carver and now to Charmless and our so-called board)

  • dok - the horrid colonial

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:04 PM

    Comment #22

    we are quite the dysfunctional family on here at times, with all the debating… but I gather, when the chips are down in ones personal lives, all cast their differences aside, and pull for each other, exactly the way is oughta be 🙂

  • BandB

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:14 PM

    Comment #23

    Didier Deschamps on Ben Arfa recentíy.
    “I admit I was wrong about Ben Arfa.”
    So who labelled him fat and lazy and leaked it to the press?
    Alan Pardew and John Carver.
    Supported by quotes from senior players, all of them with good reasons and the inclination to say what they were told…Colocinni, Ameobi and Williamson.


  • toonking

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:18 PM

    Comment #24

    next up it will be ballotelli maing out his liverpool career was like this.

    Both he and HBA both are proven to have to decent skill and are worthy enough of being amountst the the top clubs but the problem comes from there disapine and over the years this has diverted big clubs away due to so little trust.

    Why always me

  • toonking

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:23 PM

    Comment #25
  • LGFUAD21

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:25 PM

    Comment #26

    On HBA

    Clearly talented but can’t play within a team.

    Great for a club like nice who will gladly let him run the show. But if rather build a team here than rely on the inconsistent shows of magic.

    I didn’t rate Pardew much but I didn’t hate him as much as many on here and I think he got this call correct.

    He will be an impact sub used in tight times for France when they need a bit of magic.

    Watch his goals for nice. All great solo efforts but what happens when teams dmwork out you only have to mark him out of games? So Nice have a plan b?

  • toonking

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:25 PM

    Comment #27
  • toonking

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:28 PM

    Comment #28

    From what i’m reading hear it might have been the players who were first to step in and as part of being a softy pardew gives in


  • BandB

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:38 PM

    Comment #29

    There were some players making their mouths go who had a bloody nerve to be calling anyone else lazy.

  • Jib

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:42 PM

    Comment #30

    B and B you should apply to the Ministry of Truth as a history re-writer you’d earn a fortune.

    You infer there was some sort of undermining whispering campaign aainst HBA.

    No such thing
    A season ago he came back from the Summer break 3 kilos overwieght.
    He was fined and told up front he was a fat lazy slob , no leaks or behind the back stuff , it was right in his face , as it should be for someone being paid 30K a week to be an athlete.

  • BandB

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:46 PM

    Comment #31

    So where did you get this from, Jib?

    ,…………To his credit Didier Deschamps takes a more even sided view , commenting

    “With HbA we have seen this all before , a good start and then it all goes to hell , he has his chance in the France squad but I’m not holding my breath !”

    Is it a recent quote?

  • GeordieTwo

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:54 PM

    Comment #33

    Today I want to talk aboot our plans for one Jamie Vardy. All right so he is player of the month and leads the Prem in goals. But we will control him! We will cut off his access to goal! We have the pace to outrun him! He will finish the match in tears! After my interview with him yesterday I know we’ve gotten into his heed mates. We fear him not. Harrumph

  • GeordieTwo

    Nov 10, 2015 at 4:55 PM

    Comment #34

    No, no mates. The baby Hatem was carrying while he played for us came out at 6 lbs 8 oz. That’s why he looked fat. It was all a big mistake. Harrumph.

  • Jib

    Nov 10, 2015 at 5:00 PM

    Comment #35

    Ha ha ha
    So why ask where I got it from if you knew the story already.
    BandB meets Joseph Goebbels.

    Ve vill not let ze troof get in ze vay of a good vinge

  • BandB

    Nov 10, 2015 at 5:01 PM

    Comment #36

    It’s just short of 1,4 kilos.
    Less than half what has been claimed here.
    Not good, but a reason to be sent to be publicly banished to the reserves?
    His comments about being judged on his defensive ability was quite rightly seen as a criticism of the defence, which had barely been invested in since the Championship, and still needs to be babysat by players who should be thinking about creating chances.

  • BandB

    Nov 10, 2015 at 5:03 PM

    Comment #37

    So you publish two lies, and then call me Goebbels for correcting them?

  • Jib

    Nov 10, 2015 at 5:03 PM

    Comment #38

    It was HBA’s agent let the cat out of the bag.
    He said it was 3lbs of extra muscle !!!!!

    Ha ha Ho ho He he

    You’ve got to love agents 🙂

  • BandB

    Nov 10, 2015 at 5:05 PM

    Comment #39

    There had been plenty of talk the previous season of the need for Ben Arfa to bulk up to be stronger in the tackle.
    As there was about Cabella subsequently, and about Thauvin now.

  • GeordieTwo

    Nov 10, 2015 at 5:10 PM

    Comment #40

    Well let’s settle this once and for all mates. Here is your Senior Official Club Journo interview with the one and only Hatem!
    G2: Hatem a lot of people are saying you are a brilliant footballer but lazy and selfish as well. How do you respond to that?
    Hatem: Zoot alors! Mais non! Je joue au football brillante! Ces Geordie sont fous! Merde!
    G2: Ah, ahem, I see Hatem. Would you like to add anything else?
    Hatem: Je ne retournerai jamais à Newcastle à nouveau !


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