Leon Best's judgement day isn't yet - especially with Trapattoni behind him

By Lee Ryder on May 19, 10 01:38 PM

Leon Best has played just 13 times for a Newcastle United side that romped it home at the top of the Championship table with Andy Carroll, Peter Lovenkrands and Shola Ameobi in fine form along the way.

He's still just 23 and playing for what you'd call his first big club.

In my opinion he hasn't looked like a world beater in the games he's played so far but that doesn't mean he should be battered to a pulp just because he hasn't scored a goal.

His goal record is 45 goals in 171 appearances for all of the clubs he's been at in total.

Goals like wins, cover up a multitude of sins but it's still no reason to hammer somebody so early in their Toon career.

Chris Hughton has already pointed out his chances to impress have been limited since joining the Mags.

But while Best is still being taken seriously by Giovanni Trapattoni (who after nine Serie A title wins must know a bit) - I'll stand up and take notice of how he performs.

His attitude has been spot on since he came to Newcastle.

He hasn't said anything stupid or done anything daft, just patiently waited for his chance.

His luck was summed up in the final game of the season at QPR when stretching for a ball in an attempt to score and being injured in the process.

What Best needs is a goal early on next season probably at Carlisle in the first friendly!

Whether chants of "If Besty scores we're on the pitch" boom around Brunton Park or not remains to be seen.

But surely, it's far too early to be on his back?


Ian Y said:

19 goals in 92 games at coventry, NO goals in 13 at Newcastle in the championship in a team where everyone scored pretty much sums it up. The lad has no pace, no skill and not much of an eye for goal.

Ian Y said:

probably the best thing Coventry succeeded in doing was off loading a light weight like best. You say 45 goals in 171 appearances, the only time he scored a lot was at Yeovil Town, 10 in 15 this has helped him achieve 1 goal every 3.8 matches he has managed to score. he is not good enough for our reserves, ship him out now.
Anybody that had watched him play would know he is not NUFC material. We need a player that can score 15-20 in the prem and we are wasting time on this rubbish. The expression you get what you pay for. Ryan Taylor, Guthrie, Simpson, smith and best need to be traded out. I think next season could be one of the most miserable in recent history and we have had some shockers.

spence said:

I agree with the article in principle, but must confess that I am not at all confident that Best will 'come good'. I've done a bit of amateur coaching in my time and, so far, I can say with certainty that I have seen 18 year old kids from the west end with more potential. I know NUFC work with schools and leisure centres already, but if really wants to invest in youth they should employ a true grassroots scouting system that works with community projects around the region to better identify those kids with potential- especially the ones that need a challenge to motivate them to change their lives, (ala Brazilian street kids winning world cups!). It wouldn't cost much to employ, say, ten scouts, an admin worker and a liaison officer! Then they should buy Darlington FC, (which, ironically, has been the victim of a self-made megalomaniac), call them 'NUFC Quakers' and use them as a feeder system for the Toon. Following the coaching, academy stints, bring the youth and excess reserves through that team and let NUFC take the cream as it develops at NUFCQ and the reserves, (don't know if that's even a feasible possibility, like, but thought it might get a laugh at least).
Back to Best, though- I don't think he's gonna make it at the top level, I honestly think the Championship was too much for him. Part of me hopes that he's just been over awed at the fanatic support and overly desperate to impress- this causing him to second guess his every touch, movement and shot!!!
In my opinion, though, even given a lack of confidence/form the law of averages would soon fall in favour of a half decent striker.
The only hope is that I'm known as a bit of a jinx when making predictions, so mebbe's he'll have a golden boot on his mantlepiece this time next year!

Eldoradoargentina said:

Hot from Argentina 15 mins ago. Sadly Colos judgment day has come with a big disappointment - he's not going to South Africa. If only he had shown the same form in the Premier as he has in the Championship.

Congratulations to Gutzy - as expected he's included and commentators here think he'll be in the opening lineup. After England I'm sure the Toon will be behind him. His work rate deserves it.

dave said:

Another clueless post from ryder the guy is useless in the championship.

Ryder's reply: I suppose you've won the Serie A title more than Trap as well eh Dave?

rob said:

People have been far to quick to get on Best's back IMO. Like all players, he's got his good and bad points. Bad being that he's struggled to nick a goal (and stats show he's not got hatfulls in the past) although he did have a decent tally this season before joining us.

One positive I took from his all round game is that he holds the balls up and looks to play a simple ball back to midfield and progress an attack that way rather than going gung-ho or lashing wild efforts. He doesn't lose the ball all that often in doing this too. Surprisingly, a lot of players struggle to do that.

He also appears to be a popular member of the squad and one that's handled himself very well after his move, as LR points out.

Geordie Lee said:

I agree, give him more time, but at the end of the day, his job is to score goals, and if he isn't doing that...

phil said:

Best is as good a striker as Lee Ryder is a reporter!....That says it all really!!!

Ryder's reply: Who are you like Bill Keller and Trapattoni rolled into one

keir said:

sorry...waste of money.
he looked out of hid depth with the top of the leage championship team.
he'll be easy pickings for the premiership defenders.
should have gone all out for beckford instead this summer.

Geordie Lee said:

Disagree on Beckford - he's 26 and hardly played a game above League One. It'll be interesting to see the calibre of clubs that look at him this summer.

Jackie W said:

I am reluctant to say this but Chris Hughton is not the man for the job . I have to tip my hat at the bloke for his calm and dignified aproach to last season but come one how couldnt you get promoted from that league with the squad we had . Yes they took us down , yes they had no team spirit and yes they were over paid and over hyped but nevertheless a country mile above every other squad in the football league. ..For the money spent on just one of our players ( pick any from Collocini , Enrique , Nolan , Smith , Barton etc etc ) and you could have nearly bought Blackpools first team squad. Where do you reckon Blackpool would have finished with Chrissy boy at the helm ...exactly. His appointment as the permanent gaffer was up there with the best Newcastle Gaffs and you can all buy in to the " deserves the chance " and " well liked in the game "rubbish spouted by all and sundry but mark my words we are about to get a rude awakining. The bloke is going to get about 5 million to strengthen and we will be relying heavily on his judgement in the transfer market to hit the 40 points required ..Leon Best anyone ? Sorry to be all doom and gloom but regardless of what your heart (and Lee Ryder lol ) is telling you , we all know this has Glen Roeder written all over it What price Hughton gone just after Christmas ?


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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