The club’s signing of Shefki Kuqi still has Newcastle United supporters scratching their heads.
Like every club, Newcastle United has made its fair share of wacky signings. Whether it has been to pull an exciting transfer out of the blue, or to underwhelm supporters with a disheartening arrival, the club’s transfer policy has bewildered and infuriated in equal measure.
Take a look at the club’s XI of signings who supporters might have been surprised to see walk through the door at St. James’ Park.
The late Pavel Srnicek was laid to rest in December 2015 and the city of Newcastle mourned their former goalkeeper who was a popular figure as he played over 150 games during a seven-year spell in the 90s. It was his return in 2006, eight years after his exit, which took most by surprise.
With Shay Given stricken with injury, the Czech penned a short-term deal at St. James’ Park and made two appearances for the club before he was released in May 2007.
While it was a signing completely out of the blue, he received a wonderful reception upon his return and it seemed fitting that he would end his career at the club where he enjoyed most success.
James Perch has recently stated he has ‘nothing but love for Newcastle’ but he was a peculiar signing when Alan Pardew brought him to Tyneside in 2010.
The Magpies had chased the Nottingham Forest defender whilst in the Championship but having been promoted, many would have assumed Newcastle would have set their sights on bigger game.
Perch began his career in the north-east in shaky fashion, receiving five yellow cards in first five games and scoring a decisive own goal against Stoke, but he soon won over the support due to his tireless work ethic and was dubbed ‘Perchinho’ for his troubles.
Had Sol Campbell arrived five years earlier, it would have been a stupendous coup by the Magpies. Unfortunately for Alan Pardew, Campbell was on his last legs at 35 when Newcastle offered him a one-year contract upon gaining promotion to the top-flight.
He had turned down the offer of a two-year contract from Celtic to join Newcastle and he made just eight appearances for the club, with both player and club quickly realising that he was no longer suited for the Premier League.
Zurab Khizanishvili might have caused as many headaches for shirt-printers as he did Newcastle fans who struggled to get their heads around his signing.
While the Magpies weren’t exactly used to marquee signings every summer, the arrival of the journeyman Georgian international in 2009 signalled exactly where their level now was – the Championship.
Having fallen out of favour at Blackburn Rovers, making just five appearances the previous campaign, Chris Hughton snapped him up to aid the Magpies’ Championship conquest. In the end, he made just seven appearances for the Magpies.
Olivier Bernard was possibly one of the most under-rated left-backs of the Premier League at one point. Quick, nimble and possessing an explosive strike, the Frenchman was a threat in Sir Bobby Robson’s quick-thinking sides. Similar to Srnicek, however, it was his return in 2006 that left many scratching their heads.
After ending his five-year stay on Tyneside in 2005, his career stagnated at both Southampton and Rangers. Within 18 months he had returned to Newcastle after reneging on an agreement to join Leeds United.
After struggling for fitness, he never did make his second debut for the club and was part of Sam Allardyce’s cull in May 2007.
While there are many to be blamed for Newcastle’s relegation during the 2008-09 season, Ignacio Gonzalez could indirectly (and unfairly) share some of the blame for his role.
After Dennis Wise was insistent that the club sign the Valencia midfielder, judging him on some YouTube clips, Kevin Keegan decided that he had reached breaking point with the boardroom chaos and stormed out, leaving Newcastle a rudderless ship.
Keegan was reportedly after Luka Modric and Bastian Schweinsteiger at the time, while Gonzalez ending up making just two appearances for the club and is now playing for Montevideo Wanderers Football Club. Make your own mind up about whether or not it was a wise decision.
The final day of the January 2011 transfer window was a chaotic day for Newcastle fans, with Andy Carroll snatched from their grasp and sent packing for Merseyside.
It probably slipped their attention for a few hours that they had sealed the signing of Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland on a loan until the end of the season.
It was a strange signing purely for the fact that the Irishman was already injured and subsequently suffered a number of further setbacks during his time at St. James’ Park, including an incident with team-mate Leon Best outside a nightclub before a match.
He played just 49 minutes of football on Tyneside and admits it was a ‘waste of time’. You’d be hard pressed finding a Newcastle fan who’d disagree with that analysis.
Geordie boy Lee Clark was a local hero on Tyneside. Having spent ten years at the club prior to his move to Sunderland, he infamously wore an inflammatory shirt degrading the Black Cats at the 1999 FA Cup final, effectively ending his time on Wearside.
He would spend six years at Fulham, careful not to celebrate against his beloved Newcastle whenever he found the back of the net. At 32, he finally returned home much to the glee and surprise of Geordies, although he would manage just one season before hanging up his boots.
When Gabriel Obertan was kicked out of Manchester United, with Sir Alex Ferguson having grown weary of his overhit crosses, it seemed for all the world as though his time in England was over and a swift return to France was impending.
Alan Pardew should probably have allowed that narrative to run its’ course instead of offering him a five-year-contract at St. James’ Park.
The bald-headed winger spent the next half-decade running down blind alleys and flattering to deceive on Tyneside, making Geordies wonder how he ever managed to fool one of the greatest managers of all time. And no, we’re not talking about Pardew.
When star man Andy Carroll was sold to Liverpool at the last minute of the January transfer window, Newcastle had left themselves with a quandary.
The club were not yet safe from the threat of a relegation battle and he had been their main outlet of goals. With the transfer window shut, the £35 million was effectively void until the summer. As such, Newcastle were forced to enter the loan and free agent market, with their only options being Jeremie Aliaidiere and Shefki Kuqi.
Newcastle supporters were still seething with Carroll’s departure so when the club announced 34-year-old free agent Kuqi, formerly of Ipswich, Swansea and Derby, they almost blew a fuse. The striker had not scored a top-flight goal for five years, and his previous outing on loan at Derby County had seen him net twice in 12 Championship games.
Antoine Sibierski’s signing was a bolt from the blue, and was one that was greeted with much antipathy and cynicism from the Tyneside faithful.
He signed on deadline day from Manchester City in 2006, after spending the previous season on the Eastlands bench With the club having recruited the £10 million Obafemi Martins earlier in the summer, the 32-year-old’s arrival was an underwhelming one.
However, the Frenchman soon became a cult hero at the club, his work ethic earning the respect and admiration of the fans. His knack of popping up with a goal on European nights also helped his cause.