Papiss Demba Cissé – Newcastle United’s New Cult Hero

When a forward is handed the #9 jersey at Newcastle United, you know there must be a certain quality about him. Gallacher, McDonald, Milburn, Shearer, Martins, and Andy Carroll have all worn the famous Black and White shirt. Some have handled the pressure of wearing it better than others, while some haven’t had enough time to prove whether they indeed merited the responsibility. Anyone who has worn it in the past has however, scored goals – albeit in varying quantities. There’s a first time for everything, and nothing could be closer to the truth than the goings-on at St.James Park at the minute. Papiss Demba Cissé was…

Papiss Demba Cissé – Newcastle United’s New Cult Hero

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Andy

May 9th, 2012

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When a forward is handed the #9 jersey at Newcastle United, you know there must be a certain quality about him. Gallacher, McDonald, Milburn, Shearer, Martins, and Andy Carroll have all worn the famous Black and White shirt. Some have handled the pressure of wearing it better than others, while some haven’t had enough time to prove whether they indeed merited the responsibility. Anyone who has worn it in the past has however, scored goals – albeit in varying quantities.

There’s a first time for everything, and nothing could be closer to the truth than the goings-on at St.James Park at the minute. Papiss Demba Cissé was signed from German side Freiburg for a fee of about £9m at the very start of 2012. It was a shock for us Newcastle fans, as it was the first time Mike Ashley had delved into the £35m received from the Andy Carroll sale exactly a year previous.

The Senegalese front-man arrived and was given the #9 shirt in quite a casual fashion. He joined up with his international teammate Demba Ba and began training. His debut, coming on as a substitute against Aston Villa, was one to remember. With the game delicately poised at 1-1 and entering its final stages, Papiss showed up with a remarkable left-footed volley that handed NUFC all three points. It was a phenomenal goal, and a blistering start from our new #9.

Since, then he has notched up another 12 goals. Goals against Wolves, Norwich, Liverpool, Bolton and so on, not just goals – but goals of the highest standard it is worth mentioning.

Considering he only landed in January, this is quite unbelievable form.
Not quite as unbelievable as his goal against Chelsea on Wednesday evening however, the second in a double he managed in Newcastle United’s stunning 0-2 win at Stamford Bridge.

His first on the evening was at the time, labelled as a contender for goal of the season. Santon burst down the right-wing, fed it to Cissé who managed to find a couple of yards inside the box, he controlled it with his right foot and on the volley with his left; smashed it into Petr Cech’s top left hand corner.

The second is without doubt, for me at least, goal of the season. This time with the outside of his right foot he curled one from the sideline – in a banana shape – over Cech into the top corner again. The traveling Geordies were sent into raptures and rightly so.

With that said, it’s not just the goals that have made him such a cult hero. It is the way he conducts himself off the pitch too. Visiting young fans in their homes as a thank you for sending him a “Welcome to Newcastle” card on his arrival; signing autographs for dozens of fans outside a modest barber shop (where he had his hair cut for £6!); working hard on his English lessons; sending a portion of his wages back to Senegal to feed and house his relations.
He does all this with a smile on his face, exactly what football should be all about.

Currently Newcastle United lay tied 4th in the Premier League table – locked on points with Tottenham. The Champions League dream is still alive, despite the turn of events we need to secure top flight European football next year.
With Manchester City up next and a trip to Everton a few days after, it’s going to be difficult to say the least.
However, with Papiss Cissé in such astonishing form, and Demba Ba getting even closer to a long-awaited goal to add to his tally of 16 so far, you wouldn’t rule 6 points out that’s for sure.

Regardless, the second half of the season belongs to a certain Papiss Demba Cissé. His seamless transition into the toughest league in the world has made Nikica Jelavic and his New Year entrance into the Premier League look standard enough. Indeed, he is already weaving his name in Newcastle United history, and more importantly: out collection of fine forwards.

Who knows what Papiss Cissé will do next while wearing the #9 jersey – but one thing’s for sure, I cannot wait to see it!

Kevin Doocey

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