Paul Dummett has just signed a new contract with Newcastle United which will keep him at the club until 2023. He’ll be 30 years old by that point. He’s 26 now and a huge favourite with the manager and a section of the fan base. He’s a player worth writing about not just because of his improving performances but because not everyone is sold on Paul Dummett. Or hasn’t been until very recently. I mentioned in the post Man Utd match report that he’s a player I wanted to play for United throughout his career. I cannot imagine Paul Dummet playing for another club. It wouldn’t be right.
Wolves at home last year was grim (in the league). One of those home games in a season of highs that just didn’t work. In the second half Dummett played the ball out of play (accidentally, obviously) when attacking and the fury of the Corner and lower Gallowgate was unleashed. ‘You fucking useless c*nt’ as the bloke below me stood up to scream at our own player. He wasn’t alone and it’s not been a one off. Someone I respect said to me last year ‘I remember when it was the opposition players who’d get abuse at the Gallowgate’. No one has suffered more in this respect than Paul Dummett. Normally attacking the most vociferous part of the ground (until Block V came along) in the second half, it’s often fallen to him in years gone by to get something from games as his colleagues often drifted inside or went missing when it mattered (hello Gini Winjaldum). Social media in years gone by has had people often attach the word ‘shite’ to the same sentence Dummett was mentioned in. He’s done this the hard way.
After the first Gallowgate Flags display against Huddersfield last season, it was so late by the time we got finished that we had to walk through the tunnel to get out of the ground. If you’ve not been inside that part of SJP, you’ve a larger area that lead to the dressing rooms etc and where players and managers are interviewed after the game. When the group was leaving the ground there was a distraught bloke sat on a chair hunched over, looking at the ground. It was Paul Dummett. I’ve never seen anyone so gutted after a game, not in the stands, not in leaving a ground. I’ve seen United relegated twice and seen us take some hidings. Never has one bloke looked so gutted. ‘Alreet Paul’ was muttered a few times by the passing group and he was polite and answered everyone. Being gutted about losing a game may seem normal and nothing to be celebrated but in an age when players are accused of caring little about their football club, Paul Dummett most likely takes defeats as badly as the fan base, if not worse. It was one game at one moment, but tied in with his application on the pitch this is a player who probably breathes Newcastle United more than any other.
On the pitch Paul Dummett isn’t perfect. Laughably Alan Pardew had Dummett on all corners and set pieces for a spell in 2013/14. I presume Pardew couldn’t turn the left back into a left back so experimented with different, exotic ways of ruining a player. That’s probably not how Dummett see’s it with Pards giving Dummett both his league debut and a regular spot in his side. Since that season Dummett has been first choice left back despite number of serious injuries. Dummett returns from injury so well it’s easy to forget that at 25 he has suffered regularly from hamstring issues and has missed 43 league games due to injury, more than a full season of a career which started late at the top level after a number of loans. Whenever he’s been missing, United have struggled.
No one likes to get skinned. When you come up against some of the world’s best wingers, the chances are they’ll make you look silly. For Paul Dummett he started last season by getting rinsed at Fulham ( a player using his own back to make Paul look silly). He was made captain for the game to Reading at home and then dropped for the next game at Bristol City. That’s the last game I can think of where Dummett was left out of a United side for another player. At the time I worried that he’d managed to make the step down a league look like a step up. The thing about Paul Dummett is that he learns and he learns quickly. I don’t have insight here but wingers in the second tier are as quick and as skillful as many in the top tier, but they either have no end product or a wildly inconsistent end product. As last season went on Dummett got better and better and learned when to pick his battles. He had a really tough day at SJP against Ryan Sessegnon and co as Fulham ran out easy winners, but was superb in the run in as we comfortably secured promotion. Paul Dummet never lets his head go down and he rarely (if ever) has two bad games in a row.
He played a sublime ball down the line at Ipswich last season which lead to an equaliser and as the season progressed he and Yoan Goufrann produced an attacking and effective partnership to the extent that Goufrann became a key player and Rafa tried to keep him on for this season. Goufrann needed Paul Dummett . These days Dummett produces moments of Premier League quality and while he’ll always be a ‘defensive’ full back, his vision and ability on the ball has increased significantly since Rafa Benitez has come to the club. He’s one of Rafa’s most important players. He gives everything. Lesser players and lesser people would hide from the ball, fail to give colleagues an option and essentially go into their shell when SJP groans or abuses him. Dummett started his United career alongside Debuchy, Santon, Williamson and Yanga Mbiwa. Compare the career’s of those players to his own and see where hard work and dedication gets you.
Not everyone will come across to the Paul Dummett fan club but more and more fans are starting to appreciate what he brings to the side. Against ‘lesser’ sides he’ll still occasionally frustrate but he’s most likely the best defensive left back in the league in an age when Ashley Young and Fabian Dleph are getting gigs at the biggest sides. It always helps to have Rafa Benitez as a cheerleader for you in public but that Rafa is so keen to big up our big left back, is significant.
So lets hear it for Paul Dummet, the geordie lad living his dream, giving his all and wining mags over. It’s players like him and Mo Diame who’ll keep us up. All out effort and application gets players places and takes them to heights they wouldn’t otherwise reach. . Remember that the next time you see someone abusing Joselu and calling him worse than shite. Paul Dummett has seen all the haters off, something I couldn’t have rpedicted even last year. If he’d have listened to the masses (even though it’s a vocal minority) he’d have believed the people on social media tweeting him calling him names, and not got a Premier League contract at his home town club to take him into his 30’s.
We could do with producing a few more Paul Dummett’s at United in the coming years.
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