On this day in 2011, Demba Ba became a Newcastle United player.
It wasn’t a signing that was met with much hysteria. The forward had spent the previous six months at West Ham, but was unable to keep them in the Premier League despite scoring seven goals in 12 games. And a clause in his contract meant that he was able to leave the Hammers for free.
Alan Pardew’s Magpies swooped in, and Ba was handed the number 19 shirt ahead of what was set to be an incredible season for the club.
After a moderately slow start, he opened his account with a hat-trick at home to Blackburn. Ba then netted another hat-trick away to Stoke City, who had previously turned down the chance to sign him due to his ‘ticking time bomb’ knee that never ended up going off.
The Senegalese striker became Newcastle’s talisman, scoring goal after goal, including a great finish in a historic 3-0 win over Manchester United. He ended the season with 16 Premier League goals.
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The goals would dry up when Papiss Cisse arrived, but the season after Ba was back to his old self. After finding the net 13 times in 20 games, Chelsea came calling. And a low release clause of £3.5million meant that he was off to Stamford Bridge.
He was a bit of a flop at Chelsea, and the striker has gone on to play in Turkey and China.
Ba was a real fan-favourite at St James’ Park, and the Toon Army have been gushing over their strawberry syrup enthusiast on the anniversary of his signing.