I’m going to take you back to the 2010 season for a moment, we’ve just been promoted back to the Premier league and a lanky powerhouse from Gateshead led us there. With 19 goals in 42 games Big Andy Carroll looked every inch a great choice to be a Newcastle number 9 and join the list of greats including his hero Alan Shearer, it was a big challenge for the boy from Gateshead but he grabbed it with both of his shovel hands.

So the season began with this absolute unit of a player smashing in a hattrick against Alex’s favourite side Aston Villa 3 of his 11 goals as the first half of the season played out, we once again had one of the most feared strikers in the league who won us games on his own whilst  giving defenders sleepless nights in the process. The man was a beast! Then Mike Ashley did one his most Mike Ashley things to date… Sold our talisman!

He joined Liverpool for £35m that transfer window along with Jordan Henderson from the makems for £20m (how different did their moves work out eh?) that I joked at the time Kenny Dalglish had put more in to the local community than the government that year. As we all know style and injury really curtailed Andy’s Liverpool career and after spells at West Ham on loan he signed permanently.

So after some highs and lows in London as well as more injuries reported than the RVI the Bensham ponytail returned home. We were repeatedly linked to Andy from the minute he left but as he returned we were all hoping for a fairytale style return when the big man had one last hurrah with his home town club, but sadly we all now know that hasn’t quite been the case has it? When he signed that season we all thought he’d be a great back up to our new Brazilian number 9 superstar but due to the latter being genuinely shocking Andy has seen a lot more game time than he probably should.

It’s been 24 league appearances so far with zero goals and let’s be honest with ourselves, does he even look like he’s threatened to break that streak? Not so magnificent from our number 7 is it? What’s even more worrying is that in his last 24 appearances for West Ham he also batted a duck, we have to wonder whether this move was just one of nostalgia? We all want Andy to do well and get back anyway near what he once was but perhaps it’s time to start admitting it won’t happen.

 

The games moved on massively in the last decade with strikers needing to be even more mobile and technically gifted, being big and strong just isn’t enough anymore. Now short of some funny Instagram posts and numerous cases of ABH carried out on centre backs, I’m not really sure what Carroll offers us in the modern day game?

As a striker he’s incredibly immobile isn’t he, come to think of it I’m pretty sure the Shields ferry turns quicker. He still has that power but his timing is so off he just bangs in to players about 15 minutes late and in a Var dominated world he’s a red card waiting to happen. Yet despite all this our illustrious manager insists on playing big Andy in most of his games at the helm this season,we’re so lucky to have such a forward thinking manager aren’t we? You have to give Bruce some credit though, playing long balls to Carroll every time he’s in the side he’s successfully built a time machine and travelled back to 1994! I’m surprised Bruce doesn’t get his old Manchester United shirt on and try to mark him.

After watching big Andy be utterly ineffective tonight against a side 2 leagues below us (in a match played at the red mall car park in the Metro centre by the looks of it) it just depressed me. To be fair to Andy though all of his teammates were crap too and just got it done by the skin of their teeth, but nonetheless it inspired me to write this article. What’s happening to Carroll has actually gone beyond embarrassing for us as a fan base its  become quite sad, for many of us who remember Carroll Mark 1 the powerhouse beast of a player who played with Geordie blood and thunder but with an aggressive effectiveness, the man who scared the shite out of defenders from minute 1-90 to Mark 2 who’s so finished at this level it’s the equivalent of putting a retired boxer in the ring with Anthony Joshua and praying he may land a right hook for old times sake, most of us would’ve thrown the towel in now but Bruce is just watching him taking a beating game after game as the minutes pass him by. Even Andy knows it! You only have to look at his face, his mind is willing to give everything for the Black & White but his body just can’t anymore. It’s strange that we seemingly let go of every decent young striker in our youth set up who may potentially be our next Carroll Mark 1 to bring back the very player 10 years too late isn’t it? Of course I don’t mean in style rather in impact by adding fresh impotence to the side, Adam Armstrong being the most recent (another article in itself) who’s now scoring more goals week in week out for Blackburn than Carroll managed in the last 7 years.

In summary, it’s time for Bruce and the club to admit the Carroll experiment hasn’t worked. We’ll always be thankful to him for what he did back in that championship season and back in the premier league to make us safe once again, but the truth of the matter is as stark as this.. “We sold a thoroughbred and brought back a donkey”

Chris Currie