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Jonjo Shelvey will remain one of Newcastle’s own as he moves on to pastures new

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

12th January 2016 was the day Jonjo Shelvey arrived on Tyneside and since then slowly but surely earned his way into the black and white faithful's hearts. His debut for Newcastle United was one of his finest performances with his passing ability on full display, as he led the magpies to a 2-1 victory against West Ham United. One of the club's biggest regrets that season must have been not bringing in the England International during the summer transfer window, as it was too little too late despite new Manager Rafa Benitez, and fellow winter signing Andros Townsend almost leading the Toon Army to a miracle survival that Premier League season.

When Newcastle were relegated in 2016 the ''bigger'' names exited the doors, with Georginio Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko and Andros Townsend all returning to the top flight. It seemed to be Deja vu, with the likes of Michael Owen, Damien Duff and Obafemi Martins leaving back in 2009 the last time the club was relegated. What football fans love more than talent is loyalty. Jonjo Shelvey was an integral part of that Championship team back in 16/17 who fought to get Newcastle United back into the Premier League, and was one of the oustanding individuals scoring 5 goals and making 42 appearances that season ensuring the team finished top spot. It was Shelvey's overall play that rewarded him a place in the PFA Championship Team of the season.

It wasn't all plain sailing for Shelvey, with the midfielder getting sent off in Newcastle's opening game of the season on their return to the Premier League. Newcastle lost the game 2-0, with Shelvey also losing the mental battle with Dele Alli, who both throughout the game were continually having verbals with each other. Shelvey always played on the edge and when the red card was drawn after stamping on the spurs man, the groans from St. James Park were one of disappointment and judgement. Rafa Benitez seemed concerned about Shelvey's discipline, and there were rumours circulating that he may not have a future in the North-East. Shelvey showed commitment to the cause after the incident, and had regular meetings with a psychiatrist to curb his on field anger. That season Shelvey made 32 appearances with Newcastle finishing 10th.

In what was to be Rafa Benitez's last season with the club in 17/18, Shelvey made only 17 appearances due to injury and his presence in the middle of the park was missed. Newcastle finished 13th with Shelvey scoring only one goal that season, but it so happened to be a cracker in a 4-0 win over Fulham in the capital on the last day of the season.

When Steve Bruce walked through the door in 2019 there was immediate scepticism among the fans, but it was Shelvey's best scoring season that campaign which put Newcastle in a position where relegation wasn't a threat during a COVID hit year. Shelvey finished that season as the club's top goal scorer on six goals in the league, with his thunderbolt against Manchester City in front of the Gallowgate End being the pick of a bunch in an impressive 2-2 performance against the Champions.

Shelvey again was a consistent figure in the 20/21 season, with only Joelinton making more appearances in a difficult year. With the season being played behind closed doors and Steve Bruce under constant pressure from the fans and local media, it's a fair assessment that the majority of the squad did not reach their full potential, including Shelvey himself. However 2021 was a year to remember for everyone in the city as Newcastle United were finally sold by Mike Ashley and welcomed the PIF, the Reuben brothers and Amanda Staveley's PCP Capital Partners. Eddie Howe replaced Steve Bruce and positivity and hope was restored on Tyneside. Despite the incomings in January, the Newcastle players who struggled the season before rose to the occasion and demands set by Howe and his coaching staff. Shelvey was one of those and although the arrival of Bruno Guimarães was one that put Shevley's starting position at risk, his performances and work ethic were there and his goal in a 1-0 win against Leeds United at Elland Road was a catalyst for Newcastle's sensational run of results in the second half of the 21/22 season.

Although Shelvey has been hit with injuries this current season, it's probably fair to say he would struggle to break into the Newcastle midfield with Bruno Guimarães, Sean Longstaff, Joe Willock and Joelinton being at the top of the pecking order and performing so well. Howe has only ever spoken highly of the player and was initially reluctant to letting him go in January. However it only seemed like one outcome was to occur, with Shelvey eager to play regular football, and there's no question he will make Nottingham Forest a better side in that quarter-back role he plays so well.

Jonjo Shelvey won the hearts of Newcastle fans with not just his raw natural ability on the ball, but his commitment in the black and white jersey with every time he celebrated a goal, you would have thought it was his first for the club. It was brilliant to see Shelvey return to St. James Park the night Newcastle secured a place in the final of the Carabao Cup in a win against Southampton. He said his goodbyes to the fans on the pitch and was even involved in the team photo after the win. A player who will always be welcomed back with open arms, and his departing words were a sentimental read also....

'I never thought I’d find myself typing this out, but my time at Newcastle has come to an end. I would just like to take this opportunity to say thank you to every one of you fans that has welcomed me and my family to the city, and to this amazing football club. I had been at Newcastle for seven years and it’s been the most amazing time I’ve had in football so far. I will miss the atmosphere so much. I had to take this opportunity for myself. I’ve made so many friends for life on and off the pitch while I was in your great city. Two of my children were born in Newcastle so the Geordies will remain part of our lives forever. We have loved every single minute of being at that great club. I have to thank the club for allowing me to go and the manager for being a top, top coach but more importantly a top human being. I will miss driving into Benton every day and seeing the lads but you should all be so excited under the owners and the manager. Newcastle is a great place to go and play football and I’ve had some up and downs along the way but I honestly can say I’ve had such a great time. I will miss everyone. I will constantly be supporting Newcastle forever. Once again I would just like to say thank you for everything you guys have done for me at the club and around the city.’



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