Cheick Tiote’s 6 and a half year stay on Tyneside has come to an end, with the 30-year-old swapping Newcastle for Chinese side Beijing BG. Tioté certainly has left an impression on fans that will last for years to come.
Tiote’s performance’s for FC Twente in Holland caught former Newcastle manager Chris Hughton’s eye and the defensive midfielder subsequently arrived at St.James’ Park in August 2010 for a small fee of £3.5 million. He announced his arrival properly on a Saturday afternoon on the 4th of February 2011, when Newcastle found themselves 4-0 down to title hopeful Arsenal within 27 minutes. Suddenly a glimmer of hope appeared when Arsenal went a man down after Diaby saw red 5 minutes into the second half.
Two Joey Barton penalties and a Leon Best tap in later, United had managed to pull the score back to 4-3 and in the 87th minute the stage was set. A Barton free kick was simply headed away, however, Cheick Tioté was lurking on the edge of the box. The ball looped up but it was soon to be met by a ferocious smash from the left boot of Tioté. The net rippled and absolute pandemonium erupted in St. James’ Park. Limbs were everywhere, the atmosphere was electric and Tioté’s celebration was fitting for such a stunning strike. 4-4, who could believe it?
That goal went down in history, and the season later his performances were considerably even more memorable. Newcastle were soaring and went on to finish in fifth place, their highest league position since the Bobby Robson days. Tioté and Yohan Cabaye’s partnership worked perfectly and more often than not they dominated the centre of the park, whoever the opposition. From then on though his time at Newcastle went through highs and lows with his disciplinary record certainly standing out, with him accumulating 63 yellow cards and 2 red cards in total.
The enforcer in midfield had a successful spell on Newcastle and for the last 6 and a half years he has been a prominent figure within the squad. He witnessed European nights and relegation fights within his time and it will be strange to no longer see him within the squad. I think he should be fondly remembered in the future, and his services have been highly appreciated.
Thank you and good luck Cheick Tioté.