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The rock and Cole years revisited

By Lee Ryder on Aug 21, 07 09:49 AM

WITH 10 DAYS LEFT OF THE TRANSFER WINDOW ARE NEWCASTLE ABOUT TO BE HIT WITH A HAMMER BLOW?

So Manchester United want to take advantage of Oba Martins' £13million release clause and make him a Red.

Well it wouldn't be the first time we've lost our number 9 to the Red Devils of Manchester would it?

Back in 1995, Kevin Keegan actually had the bottle to go down to the Milburn Stand steps and explain why Andy Cole was on his way - but it did little to stop the feeling of anger on Tyneside and it took months for people to calm down when Les Ferdinand arrived later in the summer to replace him.

But would Martins' exit cause a similar response from the Geordie nation this time around?

Too right it would!

OK, Martins is nowhere near as popular as Cole, who was in his pomp and was actually the bullets that came out of Keegan's attacking machine gun and shot Newcastle into Europe in their first season in the Premier League.

But Martins is probably one of the most popular figures to pull on a black and white shirt in the last two years and has done a brilliant job at Newcastle since arriving from Inter Milan.

It could not have been easy to take the number 9 shirt from Alan Shearer, but that is exactly what he's done and managed to score 17 goals in his first season.

He was clearly on a mission at Bolton and his two goals were a reminder that Newcastle have a quality player on their hands.

True, he couldn't follow it up with goals against Aston Villa and it wasn't his best game in a black and white shirt.

But he still left the pitch to fans chanting his name and has there ever been a striker that scores in every single game?

Martins has said a few times that he is "happy" on Tyneside but with Man United desperate to get a striker in before the transfer deadline, it could be out of the hands of his vast Geordie fan club.

One idea might have been sorting out a new contract at the start of the season that DID NOT contain an escape clause.

Because in the eyes of many fans, Martins going would be a major blow.

Yes, still a major blow even with Owen, Viduka, Ameobi and Smith on the books, as well as Luque and Carroll in the background - you can't have too many good players.

At the end of the day Man U can't get a striker for love nor money and we've got them coming out of our ears, seems a hammer blow to actually feel we could now be about to help a team that were once our closest rivals.

17 Comments

Grant Jary said:

Well, let's face it, your colleague has been talking up Oba's leaving for some time. Of the four forwards playing against Villa, however, he looked the most up for it, especially in the first half - and I would have used Shola before the other two, on current form. Pity the service wasn't too hot - something which would certainly change for him at Man U.

Benton Bob said:

I don't think there's any chance that MU will want a player like Martins.He's too similar to all the rest of their strikers i.e. small but fast.R Gullit made a good point last weekend after their draw v. Reading when he said all of their strikers are the same type, small and fast. Sir AF has never replaced V Nistlerooy who was their target man. Saha, Tevez, Rooney, Nana and Oba also. I don't think he would fit in MU's plan, if anyone is brought in I think Anelka is a bigger certainty than Red Rum. So rest easy all Toon fans -- Oba aint going to MU.

Steve said:

"Certainly it did not come as a surprise to find Martins linked with Manchester United today because Fergie's need for a striker is bordering on sheer desperation"

Shouldn't this read as:

"Certainly it did not come as a surprise to find Martins linked with Manchester United today because Alan Oliver's need for something to write about is bordering on sheer desperation."

Is he on a one-man crusade to get Martins sold or what?

I doubt you'll publish this Lee, but it's my two-pennies-worth anyway. I hope you never resort to articles/agendas such as this.

norman sennett said:

If Newcastle let Oba go, heaven help them. He was the ony forward for United on Saturday, who, incidently, were lucky not to be beaten by Villa, who were by far the better side. Vidula, who in my opinion, is well past his sell by date, is either too slow, or not fit, should have been the one taken off, allowing Owen to show his face ready for Wenesday's game against Germany. If Oba has to go, why not bring back Andy Cole? At least he knows how to score goals.

norman sennett (Spain) said:

If Newcastle let Oba go, heaven help them. He was the ony forward for United on Saturday, who, incidently, were lucky not to be beaten by Villa, who were by far the better side. Vidula, who in my opinion, is well past his sell by date, is either too slow, or not fit, should have been the one taken off, allowing Owen to show his face ready for Wenesday's game against Germany. If Oba has to go, why not bring back Andy Cole? At least he knows how to score goals.

Ron Calvert said:

Martins is better than Owen in my view: he is younger and still has his pace, and he is Shearer-like in his shooting power. Yet he seems to be below Owen in status, as far as Allardyce is concerned. I base that observation on the fact that, when Owen plays the team shape is altered to 4-4-2, but when Martins is on the field he is asked to play out wide as part of Big Sam's beloved 4-3-3.

Give Martins a shot at 4-4-2 and see who does better, him or Owen.

Mark in Washington DC said:

I know there are rubblings about Oba going to MU, but if SAF is looking for a striker then to be honest I still think that MO is in the frame. With Rooney already there the thought of pairing up Englands 1st choice front 2 must be tempting. Owen is a proven goal scorer (yet to be seen in the B&W colours) and will cost alot less than Oba. As Benton Bob has already said Oba is similar to all their other strikers, but so is Owen, the difference is SAF knows he can score goals if the service is there. I would rather owen went and bring back young Carrol. His performance in the reserves last season, I think, earned him his spurs and not to be sent out to a league which will not give him the challenge he is ready for. Sam keeps on saying we lack height. Carrol has pace, height and knows were the goal is, so why is he not wearing a back and white shirt. And lets not forget Luque, who in the preseason was one of, if not our best striker, let him have a crack at it. Personnaly with Carrol, Luque and Smith waiting in the wings to play up front I think we could survive without Oba and/or MO if push come to shove.

Blacky said:

I cant help thinking we are very workmanlike at the moment with very little creativity so Oba goin would be a disaster ! When I looked around on sat the only door openers I thought we had were Oba and Milner so recent speculation is a worry.

Adam said:

More important than if Martins stays or goes (I think he'll stay) is that we have a good range of strikers to choose from, whatever.
What bugs me at times is talk of some of our players leaving cheaply. A glimpse of form at last for Luque - under B.S's guidance pre season - and the next thing is that there is rumour of a cheap sale or loan. We should be looking at least 5M for Luque if he goes.
It's important we keep some players with unpredictability and flare to their game...ideally Martins too. If we have that element added to the solidity that Sam is building then we have real potential. I wouldn't sell Emre either.

Trav said:

wat Man U need is clearly a target man in the anelka mould, not another small speedster like oba martins, oba would be stupid to move anyway because he would only play for a couple of months tops and then slip back down on the pecking order to 3rd or 4th, ought to stay here and cement a place

alan watson said:

man u will not let heinze go to liverpool even though he has an agreement to go and the f.a. backed this decision. if sam is honest about keeping obe the he should use the same tactic as man u and quote the f.a.'s decicision. i am suspicious regarding sam's intentios.

Paul Gadd said:

If the Boro want Obafemi Martins , we will take him from you. Its as simple as that really! After all who could resist joining a club that win things rather than playing for a trophyless club who's fans constantly boo their players and cling on to the notion that the Inter City thing was a real trophy.

zulu said:

Seems geninue to me as Oba wanted to re-sign a new contract in the summer. Someone at SJP must think 13 million is a good fee for Oba, otherwise why not change his contract and remove the offending clause. Did think however, that he would suit Arense rather than Sir Alex`s style. Recall that King Cole did not want to go to Manure either.

Genghiz said:

Martins attractiveness is what the probelm is now. He's 22, fast, trained by Inter, and is producing. He would be missed.

Steve K said:

re. Paul Gadd- sounds to me like you're a little bit bitter about a certain striker being "taken off your hands" by a certain club of Inter-Cities-Fairs-Cup winners? I certainly couldn't see Martins leave to join a club who scare their best players off by leaving it too late to offer them contracts (source: Mark Schwarzer), and you might want to revise your typing skills. The suffix 's' added to the end of a noun is used to denote a plural- i.e. more than one. This certainly does not apply to the category "Trophies Boro have won in their entire history."

STEVE said:

i agree with alan watson in that i also am suspicious of BSAs intentions regarding oba martins to mufc....we need flair badly if the match against villa is owt to go by and the sale of solano will only worsen this situation...we need 1 or 2 playmakers not a team full of ballwinners.If BSA really wants to keep oba why doesnt he say hes not for sale instead of saying no one has come in for him yet so hes still a nufc player....does he want to encourage bids for one of our best players cos of the lack of money from ashley? this worries me greatly...i hope its just me reading too much into it....we need oba and players of his ilk..or its gonna be a case of same old,same old.

peter m said:

If MU want OBA then they must take LUQUE as well for a total of £22.5m but i would hate to see OBA go.

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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