I wrote the following a few months ago but never got round to submitting it. But it’s an eternal debate surrounding flair players in black and white and it has reared its head again. Do mercurial talents like ASM get judged fairly on their performances?

It has been interesting listening to the narrative surrounding Alain Saint Maximin since the takeover.

As our one flair player, that player who could cause that sharp intake of breath on receiving the ball, that player, who, in the darkness of the previous regime gave you a glimmer of light the glow of adoration has dimmed in recent weeks.

The thought of him being left out a few months ago would have been met with howls of derision. The last few weeks it has been openly discussed.

ASM has not been at his best lately, injuries, changes in the system and a dip in form may all be contributing factors yet he has still chipped in with some crucial goals against Watford and Man Utd.

Flair players have long been loved at Newcastle United. David Ginola was the epitome of that (his goal against Ferencvaros was a thing of wonder) Tino,  Nobby, Ben Arfa, Robert are other names that trip off the tongue. Go back a little further you have Waddle, Beardsley and Gazza. Of these Beardsley had perhaps  the most successful career because he was combined flair with a work ethic absent in some of the others in that list. Gazza too liked a slide tackle as much as a back flick.

Maybe it’s because of this lack (or perceived lack) of effort that our collective patience seems to runs thin quicker for flair players than it does for your Dummets and Haydens. And when opinion shifts, the adoration can become vitriolic.

Shelvey is an interesting one, whatever your opinion of him it’s clear he has talent, good technical ability and high footballing IQ. There are other aspects of his game which have let him down yet the strength of feeling towards him, the anger directed at him as opposed to his equally ineffective colleagues seems disproportionate. It sometimes seems that they are judged to a different standard.

Player ratings often reflect this, sometimes players are rewarded for a Conservative approach, being neat and tidy but this does not win games and you need players to be brave and take risks and have the  confidence to do it again if it doesn’t work.

Some games it clearly does not come off for flair players but equally they may do a few things that are brilliant but do not lead to a goal, maybe someone else fluffs their lines and misses a pinpoint cross or the keeper saves the shot from a defence splitting pass.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that it irks me that (in my opinion) flair players like ASM are judged to a different standard, I may be wrong.

I try to remember that they are tasked with the toughest part of the the game, namely to create and score goals. They are also the ones who excite and create those moments which live long in the memory. They also carry the hopes of the fans and when they don’t deliver, we feel that hope diminished, which hurts. Tradionally, you don’t get long service from your mavericks, they make their mark and then move on to be top gun somewhere else.

So when ASM loses the ball next suppress that groan, he is trying, he wants to win, he wants to entertain and remember without his goals this season we’d probably already be down.

Post takeover and the January transfer window and we are not totally reliant on ASM but it still baffles me how quickly the tide can turn. I hope ASM is part of what we achieve going forward. His generosity and his commitment to the area mark him out not only as a great talent but a good man too.

Kieron Young