Connect in the back of the net

On the 5th June 2017, it was confirmed that former Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote had sadly passed away after collapsing during a training session with his club Beijing Enterprises Group FC.

Tiote began his career with Ivorian team FC Bibo before moving on to Belgian club Anderlecht in 2005, followed by a switch to Dutch side FC Twente in 2008.

The Ivorian was best known during his time at Newcastle United, in which he spent the most years of his career.

Signed from FC Twente in 2010 for only £3.5m, the signing of Tiote proved to be a coup for the Magpies.

 

Early success

The midfielder enjoyed early success during his spell with at the Toon, flourishing particularly in his first few seasons.

His tough-tackling nature and no nonsense approach helped establish himself in the first team in his first season as well as making him a fan favourite.

He also assisted his newly-promoted club in securing a mid-table finish at 12th place.

In the same season, Tiote became a Geordie hero by netting the equaliser in the 4-4 draw at home to Arsenal with a wonder-goal; the Ivorian hit an outrageous volley from outside the penalty area to the bottom corner, drawing his team level after they had been 4-0 behind.

 

It was an even better second season

His second season with the Magpies was arguably his most successful.

He performed a formidable partnership with new signing Yohan Cabaye in the centre of midfield, providing a perfect balance to the Newcastle United team.

Tiote’s grit and tidying up in midfield, coupled with Cabaye’s eye for a pass and creativity were pivotal for Newcastle in the 2011-12 season as they finished in a lofty 5th place, qualifying for the Europa League in addition.

Tiote produced some exemplary displays during the season, including a defensive-midfield master class in the 3-0 victory at home to Manchester United in January 2012.

 

Catching the eyes of England’s elite

Tiote was recognised as one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League and his performances on the pitch led to attention from the Premier League’s elite, with Chelsea and Manchester United among the interested parties at one point and were linked to big-money moves for the midfielder.

However, the Ivorian remained loyal and signed a new six-and-a-half year contract in 2011, causing the Toon Army’s love for him to increase even more.

 

Moving on to China

After playing in Europe with the Magpies and helping them to become a recognised Premier League team, Tiote was then hampered by injuries during the latter stages of his career at St James’ Park and was unable to prevent Newcastle from being relegated in 2016.

Tiote only appeared once in the Championship for the Magpies before moving to Chinese club Beijing Enterprises Group FC.

 

Forever a Geordie legend

As the news of his death was announced, the Ivorian will always be remembered for only scoring wonder-goals, with his magnificent strike against Arsenal coming to mind.

Although this was his only goal for the Toon, his work-rate and presence in midfield will forever make him a Geordie legend, while many aspiring defensive midfielders will surely look to Tiote for inspiration.

 

Written by Dawud Arshad

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