Tuesday, January 14, 2014

So long, Spidermag

When Spidermag took to Twitter at the weekend to say "It was an honour and a pleasure to play with the Newcastle shirt and to have the support of the Geordies", it was clear his time on Tyneside would soon be up. There was hardly time for speculation about his possible destination to start circulating before his former manager Chris Hughton, now at Norwich, confirmed the Canaries' interest - and now a loan deal for the remainder of the season has been agreed.

Back in 2008, King Kev was delighted with the recruitment of the Argentine (certainly more delighted than he was with subsequent purchases made on his behalf...) and Spidermag announced his arrival in English football with a tremendous debut as we drew at Old Trafford. Sadly, just as that was a false dawn for a season that was to end in relegation, he never quite lived up to those early high standards, or his billing as one of the best players in the league (according to one Lionel Messi). He certainly grafted hard but rarely gave us as much as might have been hoped going forwards - ten goals in 195 appearances is a poor return from a supposedly attacking player. As a winger, his crosses were too often below par, flat and easily cut out, and when the Silver Fox shifted him to a more central and defensive role he was too easily knocked off the ball to be effective.

Spidermag's regular inclusion in the side last year was to the annoyance of many fans who failed to understand what he contributed, but this campaign his status as a manager's favourite has been lost and, also afflicted by injury, he's featured just twice - rumours suggesting that a couple more appearances would have triggered a clause in his contract resulting in a new deal and pay rise. In his absence, Goofy has established himself as a superior player in the same mould - an exceedingly hardworking and defensively savvy operator on the flank, but one who can also come up with crucial goals at crucial times.

Spidermag is an astute signing for the struggling Canaries, and a known quantity for Hughton, and goes with our best wishes. Let's hope this kickstarts our own recruitment drive - we need bodies in, especially if we're prepared to let bodies leave.

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