By Max Flinders
Tuesday 23 Nov 2010 09:17:00
Browse all Max Flinders articles



Who is the question.
There is the Number 1 local lad, the 2 fill-in Captains and a new signing. By the time you read this the decision may already have been made but would we be in agreement on the choice? In Chris Houghton I believe we have a no nonsense manager who will make the right decision to appoint a no nonsense Captain.

Harper, of course, would be a popular choice to lead the team out as he is a Geordie and has been at the club for a long time. He was the understudy to Shay Given for far too long and could have easily gone to play first team football for another club. His maturity and status in the dressing room stands him in a good position but all this time he has been gaining years whilst young Krull has been learning his trade. Now that the young Dutch stopper seems eager to push Harper out into the wilderness again, would it be right to give the armband to Harper?


Of the characters who took responsibility last season, Butt, Smith and Nolan all possess leadership qualities and are straight forward hard tackling grafters. With Butt gone, this leaves the Yorkshire lad fighting it out with the Scouser for the right to lead Newcastle United out in Old Trafford on 16th August.
Of the two likely lads however, will Smith be a regular for the season? Smith has experience of the Premier League but does tend to get injured. He has the respect of the team, manager and the fans but will that be enough to give him the armband especially when his track record indicates that he may not be playing week in week out?


A good all-rounder with loads of experience of Premiership football, Nolan may well be wearing the armband on Monday night at Old Trafford. He also has age on his side as he has just turned 28 whilst Smithy will turn 30 in October this year. Nolan could be in the first team for much longer and is in his peak.
The Captain should lead the team by example, be encouraging and offer advice where and when it’s needed. Nolan, played well last season and scored a hat full of goals but  also managed to put in some absolutely terrible performances. Last season there were times when the fans were screaming for Houghton to get him off the pitch. This is not the performance we want to see from our Captain and at a higher level this season, Nolan may struggle. If Alan Smith can keep himself fit then he will be in a good position to lead the team. However there is another.
He has just walked into the club albeit a little unfit and with some stick from the media already. He also has vast experience, Premier League honours and England caps under his belt. Sol Campbell may just be worth a shot. He has been there and done it. He leads by example and was plying his trade at the Emirates just last season – can’t be too bad, can he? Once back to full fitness Sol could lead Newcastle to safety this season with Alan Smith as his Number 2. People may argue about his age. At 36 he won’t have many games left in him but this first season back in the top flight is of the utmost importance. Also who knows why the Captaincy has not been handed out so far? Was Houghton waiting for Sol who he knows well? Was Sol offered the captaincy as a carrot to bring him to United or are we actually the only team in the Premiership who wanted his experience? One thing is for sure we will find out very soon.



Does it really matter who is Captain of the team? We had 3 last season and we won the Championship easily. As long as we have leaders like Harper, Smith, Nolan, Campbell and Taylor we should always have someone to take the reins. However you never know what’s going to happen at Newcastle United. One thing is for sure, we all love the Toon.

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