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James Perch – from expendable to indispensable

The magpies were first linked with James Perch in January 2010 while still in the championship. The then Nottingham Forest manager described Newcastle’s offer derisory and it was promptly rejected. To some extent, that was expected as forest had more than a decent chance of promotion and no one would like to lose one of their better players at that stage


Uninhibited by the rejection, the magpies made a fresh bid in the summer and after forest had failed to win promotion. A bid of around £1 million was accepted. It was reported in some quarters that Newcastle had quadrupled Perch’s wages.

My first impression of James perch was that he could be one of those hidden gems like Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka or Kyle Walker. However, those first impressions were soon changed when he became the first player ever to pick up five yellow cards in the first five games. When Perch scored an own goal against Stoke City many fans, including me, were not at all enamored with James Perch. To be honest his performances during the season were not all up to the mark.

Credit though were its due, James perch has come a long way since his early days on Tyneside and now is a firm favorite amongst all the Geordies. His biggest strengths are the fact that he can play anywhere across the back four and he can also play as a central midfielder.

James also knows his limitations, he knows he is not the best and doesn’t try to be one. His presence in the team allows a lot of flexibility. As he is comfortable in playing many positions, it affords Alan Pardew to change formation and personnel from time to time. This is something that Pardew has done in few of the recent games. It is the rise of players like James perch that will allow Newcastle to go all out on all fronts this season.

The rise of Perch is not exactly a fairy tale; you wouldn’t buy any one if you expected that they will fail to make the grade. But given the fact he had such a poor start, the recovery and the journey has been remarkable. James is still a squad player at Newcastle but he is surely making his way up the pecking order. We could do with a few more like James.

I would also want to give credit to two people, firstly Colin Calderwood, who I think would have recommended Perch to the board, being a former boss at the City Ground. Obviously, he would have thought that he can make the grade. Secondly Alan Pardew who’s management style is bringing out the best in Perch, after Hughton had seemingly failed to do so.

Great to see stories like this; it offers hope to many footballers in the lower leagues.

Comments Welcome

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About Himanshu Dhingra (115 Articles)
I am a Newcastle United Fan and an Economist by Degree, Follow me on Twitter @HD_07. I love Indian Politics, Cricket, Formula 1, lawn Tennis

10 Comments on James Perch – from expendable to indispensable

  1. You’re spot on with your views about Perchie’s strengths & limitations. We used to call him Lionhearted at Forest for, even though he wasn’t the biggest, he never shirked and played his heart out for the team. I was sorry to see him go and, yes, you’ve got a gem of a lad there. I’m pleased its working out.

  2. Hodgson could do a lot worse than look at him. Has captain qualities and a great role model. NUFC will do well to hold onto him when the bigger fish start to circle him.

  3. As a Forest fan I’m dead pleased to hear this. Winning the support of your home fans after being deemed a failure has got to be one of the hardest things to accomplish as a player.

    As fans we are quick to judge players and often don’t appreciate what we have in our ranks. John McGovern often had abuse hurled at him. This is a guy that was captain of his club and won two European Cups for Christ’s sake! My point is that the people in charge, contrary to our own beliefs, actually know what they are doing, while we are ‘just’ fans. It is exactly the same as one of us standing over a lawyer, architect or designer and telling them how to do their job when we have absolutely no experience in that field. But because we have seen A Few God Men, watched the Shard being built or bought a Hugo Boss suit we feel like we have an informed opinion. Bollocks. 99% of us have no idea of the mechanics and nuances of football. We have Match of the day, Football Manager, Fifa 2013 and every other bit of back page bullshit we get thrown at us daily but what do we really know?

    That is why I’ve commented on this article because so often fans deride a player and that is the end of it. But here we have a squad player that has worked hard after starting badly, shown his real worth over a period of several years and its now being recognised. Kudos to the Newcastle fans that recognise this.

  4. Although good in league 1, i Didn’t particularly rate Perchy in the championship, and an erratic display led to 2 avoidable Blackpool goals that cost us a playoff final, when he was filling in at left back. A lot of fans were surprised he got a shot at to flight football and most felt £1m was a good piece of business for us. However I’m really glad when any ex forest player does well in the top flight so it is good to hear he is growing into the new opportunity with you.

    • Himanshu Dhingra // September 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm // Reply

      As i said, Husky, he was poor at first but has improved

    • LOL Yeah he was a whipping boy at Forest. Totally unjustified. Any player that does a holding role in midfield with good technique and reading the game as opposed to kicking lumps out of people always is. On a professional level he was trusted and respected by coaches and managers alike in the press and ones I spoke to personally off the record reckoned he was one of the few that would make it. He had good technique, engine, attitude (on and off the pitch so didn’t fit in well with the cool kids at Forest) and learnt from every mistake he ever made. We love our whipping boys at Forest and hand on to every “mistake” they ever made even if it wasn’t actually their mistake. Pleased for him, he was a good guy and good player.

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