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
Independent Dating
and  

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

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'