Xisco finally to earn his £50,000-a-week wages for Newcastle in Europa League

 

The utterance from Alan Pardew two weeks ago was just about as damning as anything he has said as Newcastle United manager. "For the first time since I have been here, he has shown signs of life."

Tonight, that player will sit at Pardew's side, most likely as a substitute in European competition, but then most parts of Francisco Jimenez Tejada's story have been remarkable, from the moment he was signed, as the transfer window closed in 2008.

Anarchy does not usually follow the £5.7m signing of a Spain Under-21 international, but that was Xisco's fate as he and Ignacio Maria Gonzalez Gatti flew into a Tyneside storm.

Dennis Wise in his role as executive director (football) had signed the pair, not the then manager Kevin Keegan. It was the final straw for Keegan, who felt unable to do his job and the parting of the ways saw demonstrations against owner Mike Ashley at the home game against Hull City. Xisco played and scored but he struggled and faded fairly quickly, and only eight appearances followed in the following four seasons, including loan spells at Racing Santander and Deportivo la Coruna. That he has not left has largely revolved around the contract he signed when he arrived, with a weekly salary reportedly around £50,000.

But then, last month, came the game that drew that comment from Pardew, a hat-trick for Newcastle's Under-21 side (as an over-age player, he is 26) against Stoke Under-21s. Xisco spoke to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle in the wake of that game. "Maybe there is a happy chapter still to come for me with Newcastle," he said. "In football, these things can happen – all I can do is try my best.

"It's difficult, and you get frustrated. That's why I tried to go back to Spain each season. When I came here in the first season, it was difficult. We had three or four managers, it was my first season and it wasn't good.

"When I came here I was happy to sign, I wanted to play for the first team. I haven't always had that chance. You train hard, do your best and you don't get your chance."

Tonight Xisco will be in the Newcastle squad for their Europa League tie at FC Bruges, under his fifth manager at the club, Pardew. He will recognise the situation at Bruges: the Belgian side sacked their manager George Leekens at the weekend.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen