R.I.P. Cheick Tiote: Tribute to a Midfield Warrior

The news of Cheick Tiote’s sudden passing shocked the footballing world, after the midfielder collapsed in training. Tiote will be sorely missed by family, friends and fans alike. The amount of tributes that came flooding in after the news broke, shows how popular he was in the game. Cheick Tiote was only 30 years old.

Of course a lot of people will remember Tiote for his famous goal against Arsenal, when Tiote struck a beautiful left-foot volley from distance to make equalise for Newcastle United. A game in which the magpies had trailed 4-0. Many people will talk about that goal and rightly so, however I will always remember him for the amount of effort and passion he showed on the pitch. Tiote was never one to shy away from a tackle, he was an old fashioned defensive midfielder who loved to put himself about, he would always remind his opponent that they were in for a tough game.

There is a misconception that Newcastle United fans demand too much, in reality we just want a team that gives their all on the pitch – If a player does that, they will be loved by all Newcastle fans. Cheick Tiote was a player who epitomised the meaning of giving their all. When Cheick walked onto the pitch, you knew exactly what to expect from him, dedication, heart, passion, desire and above all great quality. Everything you want in a player, Newcastle paid a fee of £3.5M to sign the midfielder – An absolute bargain, when you analyse the amount of work he did for the team. Tiote loved the game and gave his all in every training session, with his former manager Steve McClaren stating:  “Some days they would have to pull him out of training, because he was just such a ferocious competitor, such a winner.”

Tiote was a vital part of the Newcastle side that finished 5th, under Alan Pardew during the 2011/12 campaign. A season in which Cheick Tiote thrived, the midfielder was absolutely outstanding and formed a formidable partnership with Yohan Cabaye. After Tiote’s thunderbolt against Arsenal the previous season, every time the midfielder was in range, cries of “shoot!” would rain down from the stands. Tiote was a real leader and one of the most popular players in the Newcastle dressing room. The midfielder, helped the young players at the club and his beaming smile would light up the training ground.

I have never witnessed another player quite like Cheick Tiote in a Newcastle United shirt. His performance at St James’ Park, in a 3-0 win over Manchester United during the 2011/12 season, sticks in the mind. Tiote was the first to every ball, shrugging off Manchester United players with ease, the Ivorian made Wayne Rooney look like a schoolboy at times in that game. For those who did not have the pleasure of watching Tiote play, his performance against Manchester United, showed off his every quality, strong tackles, his distribution was fantastic. Although not blessed with the best passing range, Tiote did the dirty work and allowed Yohan Cabaye to control the game with his superior passing ability. Tiote spent seven seasons on Tyneside, his performances caught the eye of the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, who were linked with big money moves for the player.

Tiote was not only a fantastic player but a great and humble person. My thoughts are with his family and friends in this very sad time. Tiote will be remembered very fondly at St James’ Park, we will never forget his hard work both on and off the pitch. Thank you for the memories, you will never be forgotten. R.I.P. Cheick.

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