Yesterday, we lost a family member. Cheick Tiote was a fantastic player and a great personality. He may not have been the most flashy player on the pitch, but he was certainly the hardest working. A player who gives it his all every chance he gets is a true member of the Toon. From THAT goal, his brilliant defensive moments, and the greatest backline in the history of Newcastle United, Tiote is going to be missed by us all.
We thought it only fitting to do a tribute to Tiote, who for a good deal of us youngins here at Coming Home Newcastle was one of the first personalities we witnessed. He set the bar that much higher, and gave us a sense of what being a member of Newcastle United was all about. Dedication, heart, and friendship.
In a word, I was shocked. Chieck Tiote always seemed like such a strong player whenever I saw him on this pitch, so to think that he had collapsed during training seemed just unreasonable. He regularly ran players off the ball. He was a brilliant midfielder. He was not flashy by any means, but he struck you as a hard-worker the moment you saw him. I always considered him one of my favorite Newcastle players because of his reliability. You knew what you were going to get out of him for 90 minutes every match. He is deeply rooted in my earliest memories of the club, being one of the leaders of the team when I began to follow Newcastle. He will be sorely missed by so many Toons around the world.
I have been trying for most of the day now to formulate a succinct thought on what Cheick Tioté meant to me and to Newcastle United; and what I keep coming back to is this – simply put, every notable moment or trend at Newcastle, for better or worse, found Tioté at or near its center for the entirety of his tenure. Tioté joined United in 2010 following promotion from the Championship and immediately formed the heart of a solid back six that helped retain Premier League status while providing the legendary final goal of the four-goal comeback against Arsenal in February of that season. In the summer of 2011, he was joined by Yohan Cabaye to form one of the Premier League’s most stable and successful midfield pairings, leading the club to unexpectedly finish in fifth place and earn European competition.ds In the summer of 2013, Tioté was one of a handful of players to (understandably) voice objections to having a provider of predatory loans as a kit sponsor on religious grounds, only to (less than understandably) be the subject of fan derision as a result. Tioté’s season-ending knee injury in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, which would be won by his native Ivory Coast, and resultant loss of form led to an instability in the middle of the pitch that unsettled Newcastle for the next 18 months, ultimately playing a key part in 2016’s relegation.
To focus on the footballing aspect of Tioté’s impact on the Newcastle United community is admittedly vapid, but I will leave testimony to his full life and humanity to those who knew it far more intimately than I did. The outpouring of grief at the loss and the support shown for his family certainly indicate that the player we knew was an incomplete window into the full scope of his being. Instead, I can only speak on what I know, and what I know is that I love Newcastle United, and that, for a half decade, Cheick Tioté was Newcastle United. We will certainly miss you, Wor Cheick.
Some of my favorite Newcastle memories involve Cheick Tiote: the 4-4 goal, his masterclass at the Emirates earlier that season, the entirety of 2011/12 season in which him and Yohan Cabaye were one of the best midfield tandems in the league. It’s hard to comprehend that he is not here now, it was only six months ago when he put on a Newcastle shirt for the last time. Everyone knew it was time to part ways when he left for China. There weren’t hard feelings, it didn’t feel like an end this certain.
He was one of the first players I took to while following Newcastle. I’ll remember his relentlessness, his smile, and how the entire stadium yelled “SHOOT” every time he touched the ball. He was more than just another player, and the constant tributes from around football confirm that. We have lost a special player in the history of Newcastle United, and we have lost a special person by all accounts too. A final comforting thought is that he won’t be forgotten, whether it’s us and our memories, or whether it’s long after we’re gone, when those who never watched him play will see that Arsenal goal on a highlight package somewhere. He is a part of Newcastle United who will loom large, who will never go away.
When I saw the news that Cheick Tiote had collapsed and died on the training pitch this morning, I had to do a double take. I couldn't believe that a player I had so recently watched and cheered for was gone. As a player, Tiote embodied what it was to be a Newcastle United player at a time when we severely lacked players with that NUFC identity. He always left his heart and soul out on the pitch and was one of the most vocal players when the team wasn't giving their all. Though his challenges were sometimes suspect, he continuously fought to win every battle and was determined to help the club succeed.
Two moments I'll always remember Tiote by: 1) In 2014, when we beat Chelsea 2-0 behind two Papiss Cisse goals, and he posted an Instagram picture in his car with an open champagne bottle, which showed me how elated he was we beat a top 6 club while also showing how goofy he was, and 2) THAT goal. RIP, big guy. You're always in our hearts.
Tiote was certainly a special kind of player. The kind of player on any team in any sport that was loved by his teammates and by fans because he put everything on the line. With Tiote you got 90 minutes of a holding midfielder who was all over the pitch making tackles, covering for the back line, and even surging forward to participate in attacks. If you look at his stats, you would say he was not that important of a player,I mean one goal in almost 150 appearances doesn't seem that impressive ( even if that 1 goal is probably one of the greatest goals in the history of the club). But here is the thing, Tiote put everything on the line for his brothers, every match he played in. He didn't complain, he didn't start drama, and he always gave 110%, that is why he will be missed. One play kind of sums up this willingness to sacrifice himself for his brothers, in which he dives at the ground to head a ball away to stop an attack, injuring himself while doing so. It is my favorite play in his career surpassing the goal, because this play is the perfect representation of who he was, and how we will remember him. Tiote, you are missed, and in the words of so many of your brothers "may Allah grant you Jannah",
Classic Tiote. Never afraid of a challenge. pic.twitter.com/OFlQN8exqJ— ㅤAdam. (@SimplyMitro) June 5, 2017
When things like this happen, shock is the overwhelming emotion. Cheick Tiote did not deserve this. Although, we were all powerless to stop it.
What does he deserve? To be remembered for what he was. A great player, one that gave everything he had every single week. A great man, one that served the club we love for many years. He did it for us.
He will be remembered for what he was, because we have all the power to do that.
Thank you Cheick. You will not be forgotten, ever.
You’ve already heard most of what I’ve had to say about Tiote in our intro. But let me reiterate: for seven years, this man was at the heart and soul of every magnificent thing Newcastle United embarked upon. And while it was time to say goodbye when he left for China, it was too soon to say goodbye for good. Our hearts go out to his family and those who knew him personally. Of course, we all felt that we knew him personally, because he gave everything to us. The least we can do is give you this: