1818: Newcastle: Bad boy Dyer has ea
by : Chris Sherrard
Josemi, Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia are known to Raul from the Spanish National Team, although Garcia is still at this date awaiting his first full appearance. But Antonio Nunez came to Liverpool from Real, in the deal for Michael Owen, a reassuring element of the culture of the Bernabeu at Liverpool.
And there is a certain Fernando Morientes...
Football supporters who can remember the time when the two played together at Real have probably just sat up a little straighter in their chair...
There is more than an ex-teammate relationship between the two; indeed, Raul has made plenty of comments in the past testifying both to his friendship with Morientes, and to his regard for Morientes’s abilities, and how effective their partnership is when playing together.
Oh, and lest we forget, the man running the show at Anfield is also an ex-Madrid player, Rafael Benitez. And Benitez has demonstrated both a willingness to bring Spanish players to the Premier League, and also shown signs of disapproval with one of his main strikers, Milan Baros.
Replacing Baros with Raul? I’m confident enough in the range of Rafa’s linguistic skills to assert that his reply would be something along the lines of, "Yes, please..." followed by an eloquent discourse on the merits of Raul and his winning mentality.
A player, the very symbol of a club, either is forced to move on, or feels it is the right thing for him to do, for the club’s benefit. If the club is still so dear to Raul, and on the surface at least it would appear to be the case, then he would have a harder time finding a better home away from Real than at Liverpool. The two clubs themselves have done recent business with the Michael Owen transfer, which carried some lesser strains of the same soap opera of a club symbol moving on.
If the unthinkable does occur, and the prospect has been raised by Raul himself, then it must also be considered a possibility, and a very real, or dare I say Raul, one at that, that Raul’s hypothetical destination away from his sole stomping ground to date, the Santiago Bernabeu, will be Liverpool, playing alongside his friend and strike partner Morientes, another new face in the Spanish emigre contingent at Anfield...
I'm not a fan of Kieron Dyer. I've never met the Newcastle midfielder but from what I’ve read, heard and seen, I don't particularly want to, either.
But I’m all for giving credit where credit is due. If someone is playing well, doing a good job for their club and keeping their head down and concentrating on the job at hand then I’ll happily remove my hat and salute them.
So fair play to Dyer who has had a litany of bad press in recent years - all quite deserving I should add - but is now showing something of the form which earned him his reputation on joining United as an exciting, bright young hope of English football. In the last handful of games, Dyer has been in blistering form, displaying searing pace as usual but combining it with an end product and, most significantly, a hunger and desire to bring a trophy to St James Park this season.
If he continues to play in this form, supplying Alan Shearer with adequate ammunition whilst also getting into the final third in support of his strikers, Newcastle's hopes will be seriously strengthened. No doubt about it, a thriving, interested Kieron Dyer would be a regular in most Premiership teams and this current strand of form looks like it will be one of the key factors in whether the Toon's long wait for silverware is to come to an end between now and the end of May.
England boss Sven Goran Eriksson has always kept faith with Dyer and the Newcastle man could even be pushing for a starting place for his national team in the upcoming qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan. Certainly, David Beckham's return to mediocrity at Real Madrid will be doing Dyer's hopes no end of good.
I think the major turning point in Dyer's fortunes on Tyneside was the departure of his close partner-in-crime Craig Bellamy to Celtic. The pair were said to be as thick as thieves and it can surely be no coincidence that with one absent the other is flourishing. Graeme Souness presumably decided quite early on in his tenure that they couldn't both stay at the club in the long term. Bellamy was the one he fancied less and subsequently, in perfect keeping with the former Blackburn manager's personality, one was on a fast bus through the exit door.
Even though Bellamy is knocking the goals in for fun at Celtic, Souness has kept the right man in Dyer. The Welshman was never as prolific as he should have been in Newcastle’s attack. Without him the club can still call upon the services of top notch strikers like Shearer, Kluivert and Ameobi. On the other hand, they don’t have a great supply of players in a similar vein to Kieron Dyer. His game is quite unique among the St James Park squad in that he has pace to burn and a great engine which sustains him for the whole 90 minutes. Souness will be a relieved man that he kicked out the right man.
There's little doubt in Newcastle, that Dyer in this form is the one they are pleased to have kept. All he needs to do now is prove this upturn in performance levels isn't just a passing phase.