Having completed an assessment of all of our defensive options in an earlier issue of true faith, now amidst the transfer window, true faith scribbler Nick Clark has posted a similar summary of the talents and otherwise of our midfield options. He’s rounded things off with a good scrutiny of what we have up top. Over to you Nick … 

Ayoze Perez

A shining jewel in the massive dog turd that was the 2014/2015 season. Ayoze arrived for a

couple of mill pretty unheralded, labelled as ‘one for the future’.

However, such was the paucity of attacking options provided by Kim il Ash, Ayoze was thrust into first team action from day 1.

Like most, I instantly liked the look of the kid. Whether playing centrally or wide right he offered much. A lovely first touch and great movement promised much and for the most part he went on to deliver, with some great assists and some excellent goals.  A superb back eel flick at the Hawthorns being the pick of the bunch.

As the team laboured in the second half of the season his work rate never diminished but some of his performances did. I thought his finishing, so naturally cool pre-Christmas looked more tense and chances were snatched at. An excellent chance to level at the death at Sunderland a good example of this.

Overall, however his class shone through.  A superb and vital equaliser v West Brom late on in the season underlined that we have a good deal more to look forward to from Ayoze.

7/10. Keep. Definitely

Emanuel Riviere.

Having played up front with Falcao in the Badlands of Monaco, Manu Rivière arrived for Emmanuel Riviere Close Up Newcastle United£6M last summer. I knew very little about the guy and after reading a number of French football journos views on him, I wasn’t exactly ecstatic at his arrival.

It’s not his fault that he ended up here. This is what happens when you piss about and offer well below market value for your chief scout’s top targets. You end up panicking and settling for your 4th choice target.

Having watched him score a Sir Les type header v Schalke in a Pre-Season match I felt a little more heartened, but that was a feeling that was fleeting and now a distant memory.

I think it’s fair to say that what we have all witnessed of him so far, he is a long way from being even a common or garden Premiership striker. His first touch is generally poor, his contribution minimal and his finishing, well absolutely atrocious. That he runs around quite a lot and appears to try hard is not enough. Apart from that Mrs Kennedy, how did you enjoy Dallas?

I would pedal him now, but I can’t imagine anyone bonkers enough to want him, so I thoroughly look forward to him trundling around up front alone v Barnsley away in the League Cup next season and vainly attempting to improve upon the 1/10he has fortunately been given for last year’s ahem, effort.


Papiss Cisse

It almost beggars belief to compare the Cisse of the last couple of years to the guy who Cissespitarrived in a blaze of glory from the Bundesliga. He looked like the next big thing back then.

This is a really tough one for me. On the one hand, without his goals last time out not only would we have been relegated but definitely as the rock bottom team. He looked much less of a donkey than the year earlier (not difficult mind) and actually scored a few really good goals. I recall a particularly decent little dink over the keeper at the Liberty Stadium to underline this point.

But, and it’s an effing big one, he missed pretty much half the season with niggling injuries and suspensions due to his ridiculous red cards.

His behaviour on the pitch Everton when he basically repeatedly assaulted Seamus Coleman would’ve seen him done for ABH out on the streets and spitting at Manc bellend Evans, evening retaliation was as disgusting as it was mindless.

His actions can only be described as a dereliction of duty. They nearly contributed to costing the club very dearly indeed.

Marks out of 10? 5. 5/5 for the goals and 0/5 for the rest of the circus we all had to put up with.

In a perfect world I would pedal him and replace but as I can’t see us bringing in the 2 quality strikers we require to go alongside Perez & de Jong I guess I would reluctantly say keep him. It does not sit well with me, though.

Adam Armstrong

Since being alerted to this lad a couple of years back, I have kept my beady on him.  It adamarmstrongmust be a real bone of contention at the club that such a small percentage of development players make it anywhere near our first team.

Why is that? Most other teams get some through. Liverpool, with Mcmanaman, Fowler, Owen & Gerrard to name but a few have had great success over the years. Recently, Middlesbrough was unfortunate not to be promoted to the top flight with a decent smattering of home-grown. But NUFC? Virtually Nada for a generation.

Adam has looked brilliant in his still flourishing England youth career. His performances and goals have lead even to him being awarded the captaincy.  I have seen some of his goals for both England and NUFC’s reserves & u18’s and they really are impressive.

Before I hear someone cough “Brayson” or a “Chopra” into their hands I shall move on, because if I’m honest his first team appearances haven’t amounted to much thus far. Also, his diminutive frame concerns me when you think of him going toe to toe with battle hardened Premiership centre halves.

I would like to give more, but cannot offer much better than 2/10 for last season.

Pedal or keep. For me, it’s a no brainer. Keep him and loan him to QPR for a season as part of a deal to bring Charlie Austin here.

See if the kid can cut it at that level, playing in a team who will be at the top end of a league,  winning more than they’re losing (as opposed to the struggling one he had to try and make his mark with here). This can only benefit him and NUFC in the future. If this or a similar move happened I believe his natural talent would shine through.

Siem de Jong

I was really looking forward to seeing this guy play. Like Janmaat, it seemed we had siemdejongobtained another player of pedigree for a bargain £6M. Captain of Ajax, seasoned international and a decent scoring record both in the Eredivisie and even a few notched in the Champions League.

I was always a massive Teddy Sheringham fan and this lad appeared to have a few similar attributes. A pearler in preseason at Oldham only heightened my anticipation.

As it happens, I’m still looking forward to seeing him play as he was basically a spectator for the whole of last season. We usually win one title each season. That of having most injuries. Perhaps that’s really why we bought him? I mean, we gotta try and win something!!

The groin which kept him out for ages was bad enough, but whoever heard of a player being out with a frigging collapsed lung?!?

Back in the Roaring Twenties when Charles ‘Charlie’ Charles smashed the back doors off a couple of tins of Capston Full Strength each day, having completed 12 hours down a mine & cycling 20 miles to play Arsenal at home, you might have thought it would be a common occurrence. But in 2015? You couldn’t make it up!

I’m not going to give him a mark for last year. It would just be silly. All I will say is remember his superb finish at the Gallowgate End v Swansea and pray he stays fit!



PS a special mention for the Selhurst Mourinho who panicked and brought him back too early vs Crystal Palace at home (oh, the irony).  Thus, exacerbating his injury woes even further. De Jong and Aarons further fettled in one season. Impressive, Alan. Impressive.

So that’s it. Not a thoroughly positive synopsis of where I see our playing staff. I’m guessing you mainly agree with me & possibly violently disagree re Tiote or Tayls but as the yoof say, “Don’t be a hater”. Opinions are like bottoms. Everybody has one.

Apologies to Sammy Ameobi, whom I totally forgot to score. However, that in itself says a lot…


Nick Clark.