Fabricio Coloccini has been named as Newcastle United's newest captain in the wake of Kevin Nolan's departure to West Ham United. Coloccini, 29, has emerged as a fan favorite and locker room leader over the last couple of seasons, not to mention a fantastic center back, and he was CHN's pick to wear the armband this season. Captain Colo is level-headed, a team player, and somebody who won't provide the opposition with bulletin board material ahead of a fixture, an underrated quality.
The readers' pick, however, was Joey Barton, who was widely speculated to be Alan Pardew's pick for the position, and the "snub" of the volatile midfielder has led some to wonder aloud about the state of the contract dispute between Barton and the Toon. I'm not one to draw a straight line between a non-incident like this and a player walking out the door - the transfer system is much too complex for that - but those that were hoping that Pardew would offer him the armband as a peace offering are sure to be disappointed.
The timing of this announcement is something of a surprise, as Pardew himself just recently declared that he would take his time with the decision. (Sky Sports) A surprise doesn't have to be all bad, though. Naming Coloccini now allows the team to move on and not be constantly bombarded with questions on the subject throughout the preseason.
It also gives the appearance of confidence that Pardew has beaten his own timetable, as if there were no way he could possibly delay the announcement any further, so pungent is the scent of leadership and grittiness oozing from the pores of his grizzled center back. This was a savvy public relations move, which is a sight so rare around these parts that I believe Newcastle supporters owe it to themselves to stop and drink it in.
Coloccini, for his part, said all of the things you would expect a newly christened skipper to say, which further confirms for me that the right decision was made.
I am thrilled to be named captain of Newcastle United. It is one of the proudest moments of my career. Leading the team out in front of our supporters in our first game against Arsenal will be a great [honor] for me and I aim to give my best for the team and the supporters throughout the season. I would also like to than Alan Pardew for putting his faith in me. It means so much to me.
[via NUFC Official Site]