Ranking Newcastle’s best and worst foreign forwards

Chris Matthews-Darby Roar Rookie

By Chris Matthews-Darby, Chris Matthews-Darby is a Roar Rookie

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    So another Newcastle Jets striker has bitten the dust as Aleksandr Kokko leaves after just one season to sign with Eastern Lions in the Hong Kong Premier League.

    It must be tough being a foreign player in the A-League with a high turnover and even higher expectations, and that pressure is no higher than in Steel City seemingly with ten forwards coming and going since the league’s inception. So let’s rate the best.

    Guy Bates
    Much was expected from Guy Bates when he arrived for the 2005-06 season being brought in from Newcastle United in the Premier League, but he only made three appearances in Australia failing to find the back of the net before departing at the end of the season.

    Bates has gone on to play for eight clubs since leaving the Jets scoring 54 goals in 169 matches.

    Donny De Groot
    Donny De Groot played a part in the 2009-10 season, the last time Newcastle made the finals. That’s just a coincidence because the Dutchman had no impact on the side playing four times and scoring no goals before leaving at season’s end.

    De Groot went back to the Netherlands where he stayed until retiring in the 2014-15 season.

    Edmundo Zura
    Ecuadorian strikers never seem to work out for Newcastle and Edmundo Zura was the first example. The ‘fool me once shame on you’ example. Zura was on loan at the club at the start of the 2008-09 season and failed to trouble the scorers in his seven matches. Zura’s best chance as hitting the post from the spot against Melbourne Victory but other than it was a failed move from a player Newcastle made their marquee.

    Zhang Shuo
    Similar to De Groot, Zhang Shuo was brought in for the 2009-10 season but the same can be said, as there is no coincidence his absence is the reason behind him leaving and the team not making the finals since.

    Shuo netted once in four appearances, a consolation in a 5-1 loss to the defunct Gold Coast United before being released at the end of the season, like so many before and after him.

    Aleksandr Kokko
    Things never went the way Aleksandr Kokko wanted his A-League career to go last season, declaring that he would outscore Melbourne City marquee Tim Cahill.

    Injuries and poor form hampered his stay as he only found the net once from 13 appearances. No wonder why Ernie Merrick didn’t stand in his way as the Finnish striker moved overseas.

    Mario Jardel
    When the owner wants a player at a club more than the manager issues are going to arrive. And so they did. Jardel rocked up to Newy with no boots and a few kilograms overweight for the 2007-08 season.

    Long gone was the player who represented Brazil ten times and score a tonne of goals for FC Porto and Galatasaray and the like. And gone was Jardel after 11 matches for the club. The Jets went on to win the comp without him so they didn’t miss him at all.

    Francis Jeffers
    Now Franny Jeffers wasn’t too a signing for Newcastle. The former Everton and Arsenal forward came to the club at 29 years of age and quickly forged a pretty decent partnership with his teammates including Marko Jesic, who he assisted a few goals.

    But unfortunately goals for himself is what he lacked scoring two in 26 matches between 2010-12. Jeffers is now coaching Everton’s academy.

    Edson Montano
    Remember how Edmundo Zura was the ‘fool me once shame on you’ example. Well Edson Montano was the ‘fool me twice, shame on me’. Again arriving on loan from a Ecuadorian club the forward played all 27 matches in the 2014-15 season where Newcastle finished last winning just three matches.

    Montano found the back of the net six times which was three times clear of the Jets’ next top scorer, but it wasn’t enough to save the Jets from the wooden spoon and he returned to Barcelona (not that one) the next season.

    Milos Trifunovic
    Milos Trifunovic was maligned in the 22 matches he played in the 2015-16 season but netting nine goals wasn’t a bad return at all. Most of the hate came from the fact four of those came from the spot and he went seven matches without a goal.

    The Serbian striker failed to see out the season, leaving for Kazakhstan.

    Milton Rodriguez
    The A-League didn’t know Milton Rodriguez for long, but they loved the time they spent together. Rodriguez arrived late but scored twice on debut as Newcastle came from 2-0 down to draw with Sydney FC.

    Rodriguez would score a further five times in his 20 matches including an away goal in the first leg of their semi-final against the Sky Blues. Rodriguez became a cult hero with fans wearing a head band and wig to look like the Colombian forward. He left at the end of the season but made a big impact while he was here.

    Emile Heskey
    Could Newcastle’s biggest and best foreign signing be anyone else other than Emile Heskey? Capped 62 times by England, Heskey spent a decade in the Premier League before coming to Newcastle in 2012-13 alongside Alessandro Del Piero and Shinji Ono.

    Although he didn’t have the impact those two had he scored five goals in his first five matches. The goals dried up, only scoring ten in 42 appearances. But the impact he had on and off the field can not be denied.

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