The old "on paper" argument

By Lee Ryder on Jun 30, 11 08:14 AM

Before I go any further, I know that football isn't played on paper, it's played on grass.

Last season, at times, Newcastle United's squad was as thin as paper but with our first friendly game just two weeks away and things beginning to hot up Toon fans are now starting to wonder just what sort of starting XI we can produce for the opening game of the Premier League season.

I'm interested to know what YOUR team would be if the transfer window shut today.

As Kevin Keegan once said: "You can't have enough players".

And as far as many Toon fans more bodies are needed.

I always remember talking to Chris Hughton after the 7-2 win over Darlington back in 2009 and he was desperate for the window to shut so that he wouldn't lose any of his stars.

In the end he lost Damien Duff, Oba Martins, Habib Beye and Seb Bassong, and while it didn't turn out to be a bad thing, Alan Pardew will be thinking along the same lines.

Keeping Jose Enrique and Joey Barton would be massive for Newcastle.

Yet with the players so far not being able to sign new deals, it would inevitable that any cash bids that meet United's valuation will see them both sold.

Toon fans are still scarred by January's window when Andy Carroll was sold.

And if Newcastle are prepared to sell Carroll they will sell anybody.

However, on a more positive note you could have a starting line-up that looks pretty impressive on day one if things go the way we hope.

Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, Sylvain Marveaux all come into the fray to give us something different.

Add to that the return to fitness of Hatem Ben Arfa and Dan Gosling - and Cheick Tiote and Fabricio Coloccini, the team doesn't have a bad feel about.

Barton and Enrique into the mix adds steel to that too.

Goals are an issue but if Ba turns up with his shooting boots and United devise a system that enables Ben Arfa to perhaps play just off the shoulder, it could be an exciting team.

I'm asking you to have a pop at picking a team with current squad members and I'm also keen to hear your views on who you think should come in - this squad is still not that big in terms of experience.

But here's my team: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, S Taylor, Enrique, Barton, Tiote, Cabaye, Marveaux, Ben Arfa, Ba.

Gosling looked decent in his comeback games last season and this is a huge year for him.

Then you have the likes of Gosling, Shane Ferguson, Mike Williamson, Shola Ameobi, Danny Guthrie, Peter Lovenkrands also on the fringes along with youngsters knocking on the door like Sammy Ameobi, Phil Airey, Ryan Donaldson, James Tavernier, Haris Vuckic and Michael Richardson.

I haven't even mentioned the goalkeeping debate yet with Steve Harper and Fraser Forster all battling to be number 1 with Krul.

Type in what your team - along with your name - who would be with the current crop of players in the box below and if we get more than 10 entries we will include them in the pages of the Evening Chronicle.

Follow me on Twitter at lee_ryder


Teamstoof said:

Sweet stuff, my team would be

Simmo, Saylor, Collo, El Bullo
Jonas, Cabaye, Tiote, Marveux
Ben Afra and Ba

Looking good, lets hope we could go without any injuries atleast first 5 games

SamTheWise23 said:

Right well for next years team could look pretty frightening, lots of pace and creativity on top of the steel we already have...

I'd play a 4-3-3 formation of:

Simpson Coloccini S. Taylor Enrique.
Barton Tiote Cabaye
Marveaux Ba BenArfa

On top of that if I were to pick out additions the main targets would be cover for RB & LB and on top of that I'd want to bring in N'Zogbia and Sturridge. N'Zogbia seems to have matured, improved and genuinely keen to return. Sturridge I believe would compliment Ba and give us an impressive goal return.

Steve Atkinson said:

GK: Krul
RB: Simpson
CB: S Taylor
CB: Coloccini
LB: Enrique
RM: Barton
CDM: Tiote
CM: Cabaye
LM: Marveaux/Gutierrez (Can't decide)
CAM: Ben Arfa
CF: Ba

R Taylor
Shola Ameobi

blip said:

You forgot Jonas for the bench. Though personally I might start with him on the right instead of Barton:


--------------Ben Arfa-----------





This is obviously dependent on pre-season form though. If Cabaye looks like he's struggling, fling Barton into CM.

Would like to see more striking and wide options as Marv and Guti's backup are young or out-of-position and Ba's backup is Ameobi. Which makes me cry.

Liam Bushby said:

Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, S Taylor, Enrique, Barton, Tiote, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Ba, Airey.

If we don't sign any other strikers, give Airey a chance.

Shola Ameobi said:

GK: Shola
RB: Sammy
LB: Sammy
CB: Shola
CB: Shola
LM: Shola
RM: Sammy
CF: Shola
CF: Shola

JC said:

Personally I still think the team looks weak and lacks the steel and determination of last seasons pros, but here you go:
GK Krul
RB Simpson
CB Colo
CB Taylor
LB Enrique
RM Barton (Captain)
CM Tiote
CM Cabaye
LW Marveaux (Hopefully N'Zog)
CAM Ben Arfa

Still think we need three or four players, and please do not sell Barton. Barton to captain the side for me

Grant De Sousa said:


Simpson Collociini (C) S Taylor Enrique


Barton/Gosling Ben Arfa/Marveux/Furgeson


Ba Ameobi - need replacement

Need another "proven striker" in europe as we have one in the premier league in BA. We defintely need cover at right back if not a replacement. Cover at left back young understudy to Enrique. FUrgeson is more a left wing. We def need a young CB as understudy to collocini and tayls Tiote also needs an under study young and hungry. For me Gutirezz can run at players (his crossing hit rate is low) and for me his best position last season was AM. Which him and cabeye can compete for.


Lovenkrans: good heart but he is not gonna get u 30 a season we need goal scorers

Ameobi: Love him for his service and the way he holds the ball up but his onconsitency and injury proneness is distracting.

Ranger: Needs to sort his head out.. Pity such potentiol

Best: No flair ... other than his goals doesnt do much else doesn't get into the thick of things. You want a player that willl make things happen. We should get a packet for him.

Smith: Say no more.. will do well for leeds in the championship hopefully. Farewell smudge.


Nzogbia: He will have stiff competition on the left but he can also play off the shoulder or as an AM option. He left a boy and can come back a man. Provided he wants to be there..

Erding: For cover upfront for me not gonna light up the premier league reminds me a bit of chamac. Good cover none the less..

Sturridge: Great option, proven goal scorer. may be a bit similiar to ba in a way but would be a fantastic purchase.

Targetman: To fill the void of Big Andy.. hold ball up and have arieal and physical presence required for the english game! Gives you alternatives in game play.

Givanni dos santos: looking for an out not linked and not sure if he would come to us unless he was guaranteed to play. but a waste of talent at spurs.

Neil Taylor: If we can sort this one out could provide stiff competition for Simpson which could be just thing he needs as he is a bit too comfortable for my liking. A young exciting player who seems to have proven himself at every level except premier league.

Collocini for captain!!

Im very excited for the prospect of this new look side my biggest concern is balancing the books as far as this french domination is concerned. In my opinion everyone needs to speak english in that changing room and on that ground. As this could cause segregation within the team Ala "Arsenal..

Otherwise I say give Pardew the opportunity to prove himself in the market place which to be honest I believe he is going to.. With A fantastic scout in Carr I think he is going to. We are not chelsea or man city. We dont have endless funds. And to be honest there is more pressure on teams like that too succeed and therefore more difficult. Expectation leads to dissapointment. PLayers likr tiote Value for money, ego-less.. no bigger than the club. are what we want. Im sad that Nolans gone but to be honest he wanted a 5 year contract and the only way to do that was to drop a division and for once i agree with this decision. Barton I can not at this moment explain time will tell....

Onwards and upwards howay the lads!!

Steve said:









Subs.(GK) Krul,(D) Saylor, (D)(M)raylor, (M)gosling, (D)ferguson, (CF)lover, (AMF)marveaux, (CF)Ameobi,

And if we snag Nzogbia, i'll be swapping jonas for him to start with.

A team bobby robson, or kevin keegan would be proud of, HOWAY THE LADS

Conrad M. Sathirweth said:

Jonas-----------Ben Arfa----------Marveaux


Barton-----------Ben Arfa------------Jonas

dyerturner said:

my team are:

Steven Harper

Ryan Taylor, Colo, S. Taylor, Enrique

Marveaux, Tiote, Cabaye, Ben Arfa

Leon Best, Ba

toonagain said:

exactly - on paper! 3 weeks in and half of the above are injured then we're back to those that can't and those that we can't get rid of!

AP States They're looking ot bring in a couple of more players; that should be at least 4 but probably means 1 loan player maybe 2.

I don't don't how he can call himself a manager, he honestly sounds like he has much of an idea as us what he'll have to work with come the new season, He will probably be looking for volunteers to put their names down on paper.

Boxertricks said:


Fergie said:

I'd play 4-1-3-1-1. With the present team I'd go for:

S. Taylor
Ben Arfa

I'd like to see us sign 1 or 2 strikers, a right winger and a right back. I'd take Rondon, Erdinc, Barnetta and Hutton.

stevo said:

krul /james tavernier/collo/s.talor/enrique/cabaye/tiote/barton/ben arfa/ba/shola

Haych said:

Ryan Taylor, S Taylor, Colo, Jose
Jonas Barton (c) Tiote Ben Arfa
Ba Best

Retains Team Spirit and Ive not seen enough of any of the rest to put them straight in anywhere


and best of luck to all the new lads hope you are all fantastic do the biz

Mal said:

Gosling, Colo (capt),S Taylor, Ferguson.
Ben Arfa,

We only want players at the club who are committed to the cause - hence the obvious exclusions.

Hopefully those couple of signings to come will get us excited - someone above mentioned Zog and Sturridge. That would do for me (plus two full backs)

IanSF said:

Simpson-STaylor-Colo-Jose Enrique
Barton-Ben Arfa-Jonas

lmsava said:

I couldn't deviate from the team's that everyone else has picked. The only question seems to be Jonas or Marveaux.

We're still some way short of being good enough to finish in the top half. Ba is not the sort of striker that will flourish as a lone forward and by my reckoning we are still two strikers short of what we need given that Lovenkrands is not good enough even to be a sub and Best is on his way out.

We've lost both our top scorers from last season and that needs to be addressed. I'd love Sturridge or Wellbeck but I'd also like to see some experience as well. Barnetta would also be a great signing.

Michael Ewart said:

Coloccini Williamson Simpson Enrique
Tiote Cabaye Ben Arfa Barton
Ba Lovenkrands

R Taylor

James said:

GK: Krul
RB: Simpson
LB: Enrique (hopefully)
CB: Colo (VC) & Williamson

CMs: Barton (C) & Tiote
CAM: Cabaye
RAM/RW: Jonas
LAM/LW: Ben Arfa

CF: Ba

Then plenty room for the younger players to come through, Vuckic to replace Barton, Fergie to go up against Enrique, Abeid to replace Jonas etc etc.

sean said:

Barton-----------Ben Arfa----------Jonas

If we signed sturridge or another proven striker or even a striker with a point to prove. Then I'd have a 4-3-1-2

--------------Ben Arfa---------------------


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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