Crocked, crocked and crocked – do NUFC get a lot of injuries?

Do Newcastle United get a lot of injuries?

I wondered where I'd left them

The stretchering off of Newcastle United’s Hatem Ben Arfa has raised some questions (at least with this writer) about whether we are indeed an injury-prone club.

This article was prompted by the recent injury to Hatem Ben Arfa in Newcastle’s 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City, but it’s something that has concerned me for quite some time.

As I write this, we sit at the top of the Premier League injury table alongside Spurs and the rabble from down the road and my perception is that we get a lot of injuries compared to other teams.

However, my perception might be clouded by the fact that I support Newcastle, so I set about trying to find some historical stats about injuries and – in the main – failed dismally to do so. I did find a site called LadyArse – a gooners’ fan site – which does contain an injury list that has us 5th, but I can’t vouch for the accuracy of said table.

Another thing that might cloud my perception is that injuries to key players are obviously noticed more than those to squad players, and we seem to have had a lot of those in recent seasons too.

So I guess my first question is: do we get a lot of injuries for a Premier League club?

My impression is that we do, although I can’t back that up with evidence, so if you think we don’t then you may as well clear off and do something more interesting than read the rest of this post (such as watch paint dry)!

If we do get a lot of injuries then the next question is why?

I think the most obvious reason would be that we are buying players who are prone to injury in the first place. Maybe with such things as Demba Ba’s knee we’re taking a risk and should fully expect a greater frequency of injuries if we do so. I’m using that as an example, by the way – I’m no doctor so I don’t know how bad Ba’s injury is or whether it’s even a concern – but, if we are buying injury-prone players, then surely we should stop doing so.

Another reason – at least before the hand of Ashley swept through the transfer policy – might be that we were in the habit of buying older players under the guise of ‘experience’. However, the older you get the more often bits of the body break. It’s just the way things are in all walks of life, which includes professional sportsmen. Think Owen or Viduka, for example. If this is one of the reasons why we’ve had so many injuries in the past (and I tend to think it is) then at least we are addressing through a transfer policy that prefers youth these days.

One more reason might be to do with our training and physio arrangements. Could we be pushing players too hard in training? Or even too little? Are our medical staff up to the job? I really don’t know the answer to that (and I certainly don’t intend to cast unwarranted aspersions on NUFC staff) but maybe it needs to be looked at. Perhaps the new underground heating will help, allowing us to train more effectively during the coldest months.

The final reason might be plain old bad luck. I think that’s certainly the case with Ben Arfa – there isn’t much he could do about de Jong’s crunching tackle (oh I say missus) after all – but you can only blame bad luck for so long before having to accept it’s more than mere coincidence.

I’ve mainly asked questions here rather than providing answers as I simply don’t know.

But what do you think?
Do we get a lot of injuries? If so, why? And what can we do about it?

avatar NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I’m a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called ‘scrumpy’. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he’s not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 633 articles on this blog.

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34 Responses to “Crocked, crocked and crocked – do NUFC get a lot of injuries?”

  1. 1
    avatar sirjasontoon says:

    Maybe just more noticeable because the squad is so small.
    When we do get injuries they are normally pretty severe-shola,smith,harper,Ben Arfa,Barton etc etc

  2. 2
    avatar Jimbob says:

    It’s been going on for years! I remember Roader once only having ten fit players before a home match with Man Utd (drew 2-2).

    There is something wrong with our conditioning teams, or training ground. Even from Sir Bobby we have been at the top of injury lists.

    Maybe the club is just cursed…

  3. 3
    avatar paul says:

    Small squad and the fact you’re a fan.
    Oh and we’re f***ing jinxed!

  4. 4
    avatar frigotoon says:

    We are top of the league….. We are top of the league!!!

    Physioroom Premiership injury list…
    http://www.physioroom.com/news/english_premier_league/epl_injury_table.php

    Always keep an eye on Physioroom injury list for my fantasy footy. Newcastle have always been top or near to top for the last 4 or 5 years.

    Not good!

  5. 5
    avatar TROJAN 69 says:

    we had the best injury record under hughton for some reason,and while he was manager we were playing in the championship,where there are no shrinking violets.
    i wonder if pardew’s training methods are a bit over zealous?,we seem to have picked up more injuries since he’s been manager.

  6. 6
    avatar James RS says:

    Maybe noticeable because of the small squad size as sirjasontoon says, does anyone know what Ben Arfas injury record was in France?

  7. 7
    avatar Rodzilla says:

    I can’t wait to see 25 minutes of Ba and Marveaux this season.

  8. 8
    avatar monkeysan says:

    we’ve always had an “issue” – it used to get blamed on the training gound, but seen as we’ve invested in that they will have to think of another piss-poor excuse for all the overpaid mincers we seem to employ…

  9. 9
    avatar Grumpy Old-Toon says:

    This was supposed to be Big Sam’s area of expertise, which is one reason why I was pleased to see him made manager. Can’t remember how he fared but it was, as it happened, irrelevant as his face didn’t fit with Ashley.

    Whilst they are in the States it might be a good idea for Pardew to see how they operate, I get the feeling they approach the fitness area in a better way.

    Perhaps CLiNT or one of the USA bloggers can give us their thoughts on this.

    Ice baths anyone?

  10. 10
    avatar Thump says:

    We do NOT have a small squad – we have a lack of quality in a large squad.

    @Grumpy: I think ice baths have been standard since Shearer, mate.

  11. 11
    avatar workyticket says:

    TROJAN 69 says:
    July 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    “we had the best injury record under hughton for some reason”

    For one thing, Hughton was always much more careful about rushing players back too soon from serious injuries, hence there were no Gosling / Ireland / Barton type situations, where the player would come back, then almost immeditely reinjure themselves through being pushed too hard too soon.

    Another could be the training methods as Pardew has always been somewhat injury prone, and quite a few players have been injured during training under him, with Leon Best, Stephen Ireland, Shola Ameobi and Jose Enrique being four examples.

    Then again, injuries have always been a bugbear of the club, except under Hughton when our overall injury rate went down markedly except for one fairly tricky patch, which he handled very well under the circumstances.

  12. 12
    avatar workyticket says:

    Thump says:
    July 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    “@Grumpy: I think ice baths have been standard since Shearer, mate.”

    I thought they were stopped under Hughton Thump?

  13. 13
    avatar workyticket says:

    Grumpy Old-Toon says:
    July 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    “as his face didn’t fit with Ashley.”

    For once I agreed with Ashley, except when he replaced him with a manager who had been out of the game for several years and had no interest in returning except to fund the expansion of his Soccer Circus concept worldwide. Allardyce made some of the worst signings in the club’s history ie Smith (crocked for life at Man U), Geremi (Bobby Robson warned the club that his “legs had effectively gone” after speaking with Mourinho), Cacapa(God knows what happened there) and Rozenhal didn’t exactly set the world alight either. Worst of all, Ashley had to pay for them all even though they were signed under Fat Freddy.

  14. 14
    avatar geordiedug says:

    from the horses mouth me pal has just spoke with ben arfa in the hotel and he says 3 weeks with his ankle so it could have been worse hopefully he will be fit for the start of the season

    nufc have always been injury plagued apart from 2 seasons i can remember! the 96 season when we had a 12 point lead and fucked it up and last championship season
    both these seasons stick out in my mind as we had relatively small squads and any sort of major injuries would have derailed the season but we got though them with the odd one here and there

    every other season we seemed to struggle with injuries slightly more than the rest
    maybe its when you have a winning mentality though out the squad? they have a desire and willingness to push though the pain barrier more and maybe they play harder as they want to keep there place avoiding injuries more? the top 4 certainly dont seem to suffer as much with injuries (but there squads can absorb alot more as they have the personal to cover)

    but this also just reinforces the need for 2-3 more quality players at nufc there are far to many question marks on players like hba and ba fitness and durability

  15. 15
    avatar geordiedug says:

    from the horses mouth me pal has just spoke with ben arfa in the hotel and he says 3 weeks with his ankle so it could have been worse hopefully he will be fit for the start of the season

    nufc have always been injury plagued apart from 2 seasons i can remember! the 96 season when we had a 12 point lead and f@#ked it up and last championship season
    both these seasons stick out in my mind as we had relatively small squads and any sort of major injuries would have derailed the season but we got though them with the odd one here and there

    every other season we seemed to struggle with injuries slightly more than the rest
    maybe its when you have a winning mentality though out the squad? they have a desire and willingness to push though the pain barrier more and maybe they play harder as they want to keep there place avoiding injuries more? the top 4 certainly dont seem to suffer as much with injuries (but there squads can absorb alot more as they have the personal to cover)

    but this also just reinforces the need for 2-3 more quality players at nufc there are far to many question marks on players like hba and ba fitness and durability

  16. 16
    avatar workyticket says:

    geordiedug says:
    July 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    “from the horses mouth me pal has just spoke with ben arfa in the hotel and he says 3 weeks with his ankle so it could have been worse hopefully he will be fit for the start of the season”

    We have a real ‘club insider’ geordiedug! :-)

    Thanks for that.

  17. 17
    avatar geordiedug says:

    @ worky says

    “with a manager who had been out of the game for several years and had no interest in returning except to fund the expansion of his Soccer Circus concept worldwide”

    love him or hate him keegan came back to the club as he thought he could give it a good crack and see where it took us. promises were made as he wouldnt have come back on any other terms other than his own.

    give keegan the time and the money and we would be in a far better place than we are right now which im sure he was promised and is also the fact as he won damages off ashley(we would have never been relegated with him either)

    think its a bit naive to say it was only for that soccer circus carry on (it was mothballed when he came back) and it was just a load of speculation in the end!

  18. 18
    avatar workyticket says:

    Geordiedug, do you have any more info about it?

  19. 19
    avatar geordiedug says:

    nar am nee insider the boys were in the same hotel as the team so like i said on one of the other posts the club has allowed the fans full access and by all accounts have the team have been good crack (they even got me a signed shola shirt the b@#stards)

    who need enemy’s eh!!!!

  20. 20
    avatar workyticket says:

    geordiedug says:
    July 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    “(they even got me a signed shola shirt the b@#stards)

    who need enemy’s eh!!!!”

    :lol:

    I’m gannin’ with it anyway geordiedug. I’m sure it’s far more reliable than most of the guff journalists put out!

  21. 21
    avatar geordiedug says:

    we have a purto rican and an american from new jersay who speaks spanish/argentinian plus a couple of expats all die hard geordies!

    so i will be speaking with them latter but thats all i know for now

    enrique trained and was in line to play so dont know why he didnt in the end will try and find out

  22. 22
    avatar geordiedug says:

    worky im with you i take what i read with a pinch of salt but im just relaying what my guys told me and they have been there and wouldn’t make it up

    the American guy who speaks argy ahould be in the chronicle at some point as they took an inter view from him as he wanted a photo next to tiote! hes called eddie and hes one of many die hard toon fans from NJ! i got him over for his first home game last season against arsenal and he was in newcastle just for the game 24 hours! i had him at the angel of the north the tyne bridge the security guys let us in for a quick stadium tour all before 11 then we were sat at half time wounded 4 – nill down! the rest they say is history! he got on his flight out at 0600 the next day having seen one of the finest toon games ever with a monumental hangover so not bad for your first home game!

  23. 23
    avatar workyticket says:

    geordiedug says:
    July 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    “worky im with you i take what i read with a pinch of salt but im just relaying what my guys told me and they have been there and wouldn’t make it up”

    Geordiedug, I was getting back to you on your other comment about Keegan, but I’m just tapping away now. As I said, I’ll bet it’s far more reliable than most guff in the newspapers anyway!

  24. 24
    avatar workyticket says:

    I’ve done a quick ‘blog about it now. Once again, thanks Geordiedug!

  25. 25
    avatar geordiedug says:

    on the why enrique didnt play i got this quote from one of my guys who was in kansas

    “Enrique’s probably gone. Trained Tuesday – looked well. He was bit stand-offish at meet and greet unlike the rest of the squad”

    and he didnt play so think read into that as much as you like but i just hope we have a decent replacement lined up if he goes

  26. 26
    avatar workyticket says:

    Geordiedug, I just wrote an epic comment for you about Keegan, but I didn’t take the advice I offered ro a site user the other day, and the computer just ate it!

    I have no phone, no broadband and no TV ATM, so I’m running this ‘blog from my mate’s Internet caff ATM.

  27. 27
    avatar geordiedug says:

    haha yeah i seen the advise you give about that

    well im waiting for an epic comment as im fully loaded and ready! im a die hard keegan fan!

  28. 28
    avatar workyticket says:

    geordiedug says:
    July 21, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    “haha yeah i seen the advise you give about that

    well im waiting for an epic comment as im fully loaded and ready! im a die hard keegan fan!”

    Well the gist of it was that I would never undervalue what he did for the club in the past, but there were two sides to him.

    At the time of his ‘third coming’, despite the past, I just had a really bad feeling about it abd that was before the name ‘Dennis Wise’ was even mentioned.

    Maybe I’m biased though because my first taste of the abject misery that ‘is being a Toon fan was when he battered us in the 74 Cup final. I was only a bairn too, and my best mate at school had the Cup at his house the year before because his dad was a director for the Tramps. I was gutted. :-)

  29. 29
    avatar geordiedug says:

    and they are the memories that stick with you!

    he has given me probably the greatest years i will ever experience as a newcastle fan! his good points and what he did for the club on both occasions far out way the bad!

    i think if i had the money id buy the club and have him back and see once and for all if he could crack it at the toon!

  30. 30
    avatar workyticket says:

    geordiedug says:
    July 21, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    “and they are the memories that stick with you!”

    Geordiedug, the best ones for me was when my Brother in Law of the time was Supermac’s landlord in Newgate Street and he used to take me round to see him. My worst one (apart from that Keegan season when we almost did it) was the 74 Cup Final again. My Brother in Law (who wasn’t into football) announced that Malcolm had offered top tickets for the final at Wembley, which I would have had off him like a shot. The bastad turned them down! :-(

  31. 31
    avatar geordiedug says:

    the 74 cup final has mentally scared you for life in more ways than one

  32. 32
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    CH also rotated more, openly, & gave players a rest whether they wanted or thought they needed it or not.

    Nowadays, managers have to claim players are injured, mostly, so they don’t get the press bleating on about them being ‘dropped’. That’s fair enough, but on the back hand, said players start getting a rep for always being injured.
    Can’t win either way.
    Might as well just rotate & be damned.

  33. 33
    avatar nufckev says:

    Funny that our more successful seasons coincide with a settled first team and fewer injuries…..players are strange creatures, get niggly injuries when under pressure at the bottom or bored in mid table, give them a chance higher up the table or on a cup run and they manage to play through them – our mediocrity and our injury concerns are linked. Hughton had a settled team in the Championship because we were winning every week. Barring obvious major injuries, this is invariably true. All the sides middle down in the table suffer to a similar extent.

  34. 34
    avatar AndyMac says:

    As Solano said yesterday on Ed’s blog, we may have a squad of 35 or so but by the time you take out the raw youngsters, players to be shipped out and Barton + Jose we struggle to find twelve quality players in the current squad which means that when we get injuries they can have a devastating effect on the team.

    Pardwho said earlier this year that we need 20-22 QUALITY players which would help if we got our usual ten crocks per season. Cant see it happening in Fatman’s reign though :(

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