THEY WERE SHITE IN BLACK Ní WHITE..Jean-Alain Boumsong
By Omar Mirza
Thursday 03 Feb 2011 08:59:00
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Since the 90’s return of The Entertainers to the big-time,  the one thing telly ‘experts’ and your average non-Newcastle fan can always relate to and dredge out is that Newcastle have always been a bit suspect in defence.

A theory given credence by our 1995/96 implosion, and subsequent managers since KK have always been lambasted for failing to recognise this problem.

 

Despite having hosted the likes of Albert, Distin and Woodgate separately to great effect, we’ve never had that all-conquering centre-half pairing to rival anyone.

So amidst some weary trepidation it was a slight shock during the January transfer window of 1995 that our club had just shelled out the princely sum of £8 million on Rangers defender Jean-Alain Boumsong on a 5 and half year contract.  Puzzlingly, Souness was paying an extortionate fee for a player unproven in a big league who had only played for Rangers for a short period of time.

His Rangers connections no doubt helped pave the way smoothly for our latest transfer coup, and with such an inflated transfer fee shelled out,  there was no doubt in my mind we must surely be welcoming the black Bobby Moore to Tyneside.

Our new French superstar actually made the transition from the cloggers paradise of the SPL to top-flight English fair with relative ease and in his first few outings it seemed we had indeed unearthed a gem to compliment our other rock at the back, erm Titus Bramble.

 

Boumsong displayed pace, strength and good awareness and he genuinely looked like the real deal in his outings leading upto to the Summer of 2005.

 

There were notable ricks however. The first signs coming in that stinker of an FA Cup semi-final at Cardiff where Boumsong and co were ripped to shreds by Man United in a 4-1 defeat remembered solely for the magnificent levels of support given to the side by those in black n’ white, and Nicky Butt thinking he still played for the opposition.

 

In fact our latest French hero had gained slight cult status with the singing of ‘Booooooooom’ pretty much everytime he was in the thick of the action.

 

So in 2005/06 we had a platform at the back to build on it seemed. Err not exactly. With Bramble continuing to prove a costly liability, Boumsong seemed to have been afflicted by the same disease as his early form went out of the window. Dramatically.

 

The Newcastle United defensive syndrome returned with a vengeance as our man went to pieces in our hallowed shirt. Suddenly unable to deal with the any sort of high ball, bouncing ball, anything in fact. His first touch deserted him as opposition forwards sensed blood and his composure and concentration were reduced to rubble.

 

Oh dear.

 

Souness’ was still clinging on for dear life during the season and eventually given the push after one hiding too many, a 3-0 seeing to at Man City.

 

Glenn Roeder took over at the helm and an immediate upturn in fortune followed for Boumsong and United as our new boss himself a United centre-half of yesteryear brought out the best from all the boys.

 

Sadly Jean-Alain’s time was to come to an abrupt end with Liverpool coming to town. What followed was a horror show of epic proportions. Within ten minutes perennial striking beanpole Peter Crouch had somehow managed to evade the back-pedalling Frenchman (who in turn kept him level with the flag) to head home.

 

More dozy defending let Gerrard crash home from inside the box.

 

Before a passage of play that encapsulated Boumsong’s time on Tyneside perfectly.

 

Trailing 2-1 by this stage, Gerrard’s hoof up the pitch saw Boumsong struggling ineptly to read the bounce, fail miserably to control the ball, as Crouch eased clear of him and into the box our clumsy shirker wrestled him to ground. Penalty, red card, 3-1 no complaints.

 

Jesus wept.

 

 

Having bent a sympathetic ear to Boumsong’s woes, Roeder duly banished him from the starting eleven for good!

 

And this culminated in a fine run of results, that swept all before them and guaranteed Intertoto Cup football. With Craig Moore coming in to steady the ship, yes Craig ‘fucking’ Moore replacing an £8m wonderhit and showing him how it’s done.

 

Boumsong’s days were numbered and for someone with a degree in Maths, I bet even he would have struggled to tot up the amount of howlers he actually made for  us!

 

We somehow managed to coerce Juventus into parting with £3.26 million for the lumbering oaf when in all honesty £326 seemed overpriced.

 

Jean-Alain was indeed, Shite In Black N’ White.



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