By Chris Ferguson
After two and a half years at the club, Leon Best has signed for Blackburn to become the second Newcastle player, after Danny Guthrie, to move to another club for first team football, according to Alan Pardew.
I’m sad to see Best go because of two reasons. Firstly because my “Leon Best is Mint” home shirt is no longer valid and secondly, he did well to replace Demba Ba when he went to the African Cup of Nations. A memorable goal in a dull game against QPR gave us all three points.
To challenge other teams in the Premier League and get into Europe, you need decent players on the bench as well as a great starting eleven. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to keep hold of good backup players on the bench, such as Best and Guthrie and most players would rather play first team football than sit on the bench every week or play a bit part role – Steve Harper and the Mackem-slayer being the exception.
With the average length of a footballer’s career being just over fifteen years, you can’t blame players for wanting to make the most of it and getting first-team football whenever possible. For Best, his career could be significantly shorter due to the injuries sustained over the years. He is also a Republic of Ireland International and more playing time will, most likely, increase his chances of playing for his country – a reason why Michael Owen decided to join Newcastle.
The likes of Guthrie and Best are hungry for first team football. I’m disappointed to lose Leon and many will remember his hat-trick against West Ham, the goal against QPR and many more that are being shared on the #leonbestismint hashtag on Twitter. I can say the same about Danny and his superb long range goal against Fulham and all his effort in the Championship, with his five goals and thirteen assists, which helped see us promoted back to the Premier League.
I’d like to wish Leon and Danny all the best with their future clubs and would welcome them back with open arms.
Author: Chris Ferguson is a 19-year old Toon fan from Blyth. He is a student at Sheffield Hallam University and has supported Newcastle since his uncle threatened him about the consequences of supporting Sunderland. More recently, he has started following local club Blyth Spartans, but still gets to St. James’ when possible.