Opinion: Jonjo Shelvey's contribution to Newcastle United deserves to be fondly remembered
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Shelvey’s seven year spell at Newcastle United has come to an end following his deadline day move to Nottingham Forest. Although Howe revealed he was ‘devastated’ to see Shelvey leave, there is an acceptance that it was the right time for the midfielder to move on.
And very few departing players get a send off like Shelvey received at half-time of the clash with Southampton. Presented in-front of the crowd, Shelvey was clapped off the pitch by all four stands as an appreciation of everything he did for the club began to filter around the ground.
Arriving during the dark days of Steve McClaren’s brief time as manager, Shelvey showed his immense talents right from the off, putting in one of Newcastle’s best debut displays of modern times against West Ham. Although he couldn’t help prevent relegation, his performances in the Championship were sheer class and were a major reason for United securing promotion back to the top-flight at the first time of asking.
Shelvey then played an integral role next to Mo Diame under Rafa Benitez and was a key part of Steve Bruce’s system. And just when everyone thought his time at the club would be up based on his perceived ‘laziness’ as Howe was appointed manager, Shelvey remained an integral part of the side.
Of course it wasn’t all rosy for the 30-year-old. Various red cards, particularly those against Tottenham Hotspur, angered supporters with his relaxed style of play often also frustrating fans in the terraces.
However, a retrospective look back on his club does reveal just how important his contributions in the black-and-white were, particularly at the beginning and end of his time at the club. The love shown by the crowd towards Shelvey on Tuesday night was reciprocated by the player who released a classy statement following his departure.
Shelvey wrote: ‘I would just like to take this opportunity to say thank you to every one of you fans that has welcomed me and my family to the city, and to this amazing football club.
‘I had been at Newcastle for seven years and it's been the most amazing time I've had in football so far. I will miss the atmosphere so much.
‘I had to take this opportunity for myself. I've made so many friends for life on and off the pitch while I was in your great city. Two of my children were born in Newcastle so the Geordies will remain part of our lives forever.
‘We have loved every single minute of being at that great club. I have to thank the club for allowing me to go and the manager for being a top, top coach but more importantly a top human being.’
Shelvey may leave Newcastle without silverware, without having tasted a European night at St James’s Park and without being able to play his role in the exciting future the club has in-store. However, he should be remembered as a player that helped them through some dark times and provided moments of magic that will be hard to forget.