Friday, June 08, 2007

Weigh aye!

Mark Viduka was today finally confirmed as Sam Allardyce's first signing as Newcastle manager - and the ensuing press conference proved to be a feast (pun intended) of quotes of the sort to provoke laughter amongst those who think the Australian is a bit of a chubber.

According to Allardyce, for instance, Viduka has "the size and stature to lead our front line", and is the sort of "big man" with whom Michael Owen and Obafemi Martins could form fruitful partnerships.

For his own part, Viduka claimed to be "over the moon" - some might say the planets orbit around you, Mark... - and he seems to have had dinner on the brain when he claimed: "I want to win things and Newcastle United is a club that has all the ingredients to do that, especially with Sam coming in".

Enough of the jesting, though - it's worth reiterating what I said on Tuesday, that Viduka could prove to be a very astute signing. Provided he does what he's paid to do (ie scores goals) and puts in the levels of effort we've a right to expect, then we'll take to him, regardless of the fact that he's an ex-Smog and a bit partial to the odd pie.

Whereas the protracted negotiations for Viduka and Joey Barton (still not confirmed as a Toon player) have been widely reported, the departure of Antoine Sibierski wasn't. The Frenchman, refused a two year deal despite last season's heroics, has left on a free transfer to hook up with former Toon team-mate Titus Bramble at Wigan.

It seems an injustice that Sibierski has been allowed to leave without any kind of fanfare - after all, he was one of the few success stories of a dreadful campaign, and a wholly unexpected one at that. Thinking back to my initial reaction to his arrival, I'm reminded how sweet humble pie can sometimes taste. Best wishes Antoine.


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