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Geordie fans take Heed after Ben Arfa's shock link up with fans

By Lee Ryder on Apr 19, 11 02:06 PM


After meeting Hatem Ben Arfa for the first time back in August my gut reaction was that the Frenchman was a genuine student of the game who was also being serious when he was quick to make the point that he'd done his homework on Newcastle United before signing for the Magpies from Marseille.

Let's not forget, we've had our fair share of overseas mercenaries that claim to love Newcastle United and constantly perform the badge kissing ritual that seems to lack impact the more a player does it these days.

Ben Arfa insisted he simply loved football and was desperate to tap into the passion of the Geordie punters as soon as he could.

Saying and doing are two different things but on Saturday it clicked home to me that Ben Arfa REALLY is a genuine football lover.

Don't forget, some players see playing for football clubs as a "a job" and often lack the passion that would offer them another 15% on the field.

When I was alerted to the fact that Ben Arfa had spent his Saturday off by deciding to watch Gateshead's 2-2 draw with Rushden & Diamonds to take in a Blue Square Premier game, it was obvious that he is deadly serious when it comes to understanding just what the Geordie public are all about.

You couldn't quite see most top Premier League stars doing that could you?

And even from his own background, the Calirefontaine Academy, could you see his fellow graduates Abou Diaby, Thierry Henry, Seb Bassong, Nicolas Anelka or William Gallas following suit?

Not really.

But in Ben Arfa Newcastle have something different to bring to the table.

When asked why he'd done it, his answer was to sample the atmosphere and simply take in a local game.

To many of the 701 fans in attendance at the International Stadium, he certainly went up in their estimation.

7 Comments

spence said:

the lad's gonna be a legend. he knows how passionate us fans, and he knows we love his style of play.

LN2Mag said:

Yes, pretty impressive considering he probably could have easily got a ticket for one of the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley. This lad seems like the genuine article and I can't wait to see him back on the pitch

AndyMac said:

That'll be INF Clairefontaine then ? The national association football centre that specialises in training French football players just like the ones we have in England....oh wait

DormAnt said:

Keep the heed Ben, keep the heed son as we may yet need you to help get the requisite number of points to keep us up this season.
Hurry back and put a light to the touchpaper of the last few games of the season for us.

john best said:

We have some fine prospects in line for the new season. Ben Arfa,Gosling,Ireland, should all strengthen the squad.Expect, ENRIQUE, Guttieres,Smith,Perch,Taylor x",& Barton, to leave.2x Striker +2 x Defenders, please as our reserves are NOT up to the task.

mark billington said:

hba will be a legend but wiv carroll going for big money expect bids for hba once he starts performing the way we no he can.newcastle need 1 defender=hangeland from fulham keep barton and buy some one wiv pace who can play either wing.guiterezz just dosnt score enuf or have a big inpact in the games.we def need 2 strickers=peter crouch wouldnt be bad and maybe robbie keane u wont need to break the bank and ur not takin a gamble will class and plenty of experience does any one agree?

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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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