Fabricio Coloccini took over the captaincy in the summer of 2011, and led us to fifth place in his first season with the armband. Looking back, it’s difficult to place too much of the praise onto the captain for that campaign as since then, his influence as captain has been more of a hindrance than a help. There have always been doubts about Coloccini as captain in recent years with many suggesting he doesn’t have the capabilities as a leader.
Against Everton, he made a ridiculously ludicrous decision to make a challenge on Aaron Lennon at 2-0 which was both clumsy and out of control. He was rightly sent off for it. Now if this challenge was made by a younger, less experienced player, it could be understandable as the team was under the cosh and getting frustrated is a natural reaction. However as captain, Coloccini let the side down as he should know a lot better than that and he needs to lead by example. Newcastle still had an outside chance of getting something out of the fixture, but that chance disappeared as soon as the Argentine lost his cool.
His performances have fallen away this season and instead of having the odd bad game mixed in with consistently good performances, the skipper is only playing well on rare occasions. The majority of the time, he has been poor and his decision making is becoming increasingly questionable. When you consider that the club only had three defenders available today, Coloccini needs to know better than to increase the strain on the squad with a suspension. The club continues to self harm and as captain, Coloccini needs to lead with calmness, but his sending off has only increased the calls for him to lose the captaincy.
A captain needs to be the manager on the pitch, who creates a positive playing environment, leading by example and calming down his team-mates to prevent any unneeded strain on the side. Kevin Nolan was excellent at that, and often pulled the side out of the mire when he was captain of Newcastle. However you don’t get the same feeling with Coloccini as captain as he seems to hide, especially when you consider he only ever talks to the in house media and he never comes out to face the criticism after big losses.
A lot needs to change in the summer. Coloccini has been a rock for this football club and is one of the most talented defenders in our history. However the time is right to let him focus on getting consistency back into his game and allow somebody else to take the responsibility of the captaincy.
There are a number of contenders for the role, with Tim Krul, Cheick Tiote, Daryl Janmaat and Moussa Sissoko all possibilities. For me the standout candidate has to be Jack Colback as he works tirelessly, never hides away and knows the club well as he is a local lad. There might be opposition to this due to his past as a Sunderland player, but this must be overlooked as he is definitely the best man to lead this club forward on the pitch.