Written by Michael Race
Here we go again; it’s the same story every week.
Ah, what hard work it is to be a Newcastle fan…
I genuinely think if there was a scientific study into the effects of supporting Newcastle United on your health there would be some horrifying results.
But it’s our club and we must take each week as it comes and I know most, if not every, one of you will be tuning in to this weekend’s clash with Chelsea.
We will wait and see what endures on Saturday evening, but one thing that has concerned me and other Toon fans since the start of the season is the lack of leadership on the pitch when it matters most.
We’ve been blessed with a crop of leaders in the past. Alan Shearer, Gary Speed, Shay Given, Kevin Nolan and, I suppose, you could even include Joey Barton. These guys would fight to the death for the club even those aren’t even Geordies themselves.
Yet I’ve looked at this current batch of players and I can’t seem to find anyone who would take the game by the scruff of the neck and make things happen. This squad is tepid, reactive and needs a leader more than ever.
Our current man of choice, Fabricio Coloccini just hasn’t been up to scratch for too long now. I still get the feeling he’d rather be somewhere else.
To be fair to him, I think he only received the captaincy because Alan Pardew had no one else to give it to after Nolan’s departure. Nolan has been a successful leader everywhere he has played. His game oozes authority. His attributes of being a battler and fighter really made fans warm to him.
Coloccini offers a different cool and composed style, but when things are getting tough I think Newcastle fans like to see their players get stuck in.
So, who have we actually got that would stand up in the middle of the changing room and drag everyone over the line? I don’t see many options.
My first would be Colback. When in form he is one of the club’s best players. He’s the engine of the team, the busy body that does the dirty work and just gets on with it.
From sitting deep in the centre of midfield he can see what is going on all around him.
He’s a good option to be captain and you know he would relish the opportunity.
Being Geordie-born and a fan favourite bodes well for him. Perhaps Steve McClaren should look to the midfielder to lead his team out of this tricky start to the season.
The right back looks to be the only positive to come out of the club so far this season. He’s solid, good going forward and dependable.
Maybe not the most vocal of players, the Dutch international does leads by example with his discipline in defence. A stupid sending off can be forgiven, Janmaat should be seriously considered for the captain’s armband.
Worrying, those are the only players I can see changing the situation on the pitch to drive Newcastle forward.
Moussa Sissoko hasn’t been the same since he jokingly valued himself at £100m and couldn’t force a move to Arsenal.
The Frenchman has bags of talent, but goes missing far too often in games. Hopefully he can use his previous good performances against Chelsea to regain some form this Saturday.
Tim Krul’s performances between the posts have been distinctly average, and I don’t see how him shouting from his penalty box could make that much of a difference, which make me doubt him being able to enforce change on a game.
Siem De Jong could force himself into contention but he needs more games to gain the honour.
So, to put it in black and white, Newcastle has a lack of leaders on the pitch – and something which has to change quickly if McClaren wants to start winning games.