7 Mar 1987
Hatem Ben Arfa was perhaps as gifted a player as many will see at St James Park. There will of course be arguments that in the same generation we had Ginola before him and Saint-Maximin after. Whatever you view, and you can make a case for all, that fact you can mention these players in the same sentence tells you of the mercurial talents of Hatem.
Arriving form Marseille in 2010, initially on loan, making his debut in that September with a loan fee of £2m paid for his services and a pre-agreed sum after 25 games.
Coming on as a substitute against Blackpool in the cup, his full debut was a 1-0 win against Everton with the Frenchman scoring the only goal. And a belter at that.
Just a month later Ben Arfa suffered a devastating double break of his leg, an injury that would see him out of action for 10 months. It wouldn't take that long for the two clubs to confirm his transfer however, with both reaching an agreement just 8 weeks after his injury when a compromise was found on the transfer fee.
His initial return to action was not as successful as his opening spell but he was back on the score sheet against Bolton towards the end fo that year.
In January 2012 he scored a goal that the great Messi would have been proud of. A home Cup tie was the game and his pick up in the centre circle and dribble, beating 4 players, before scoring was quite breathtaking. And that, in a moment, was a epitome of Hatem Ben Arfa. Spells of little, moments of magic.
By the start of 2013/14 Ben Arfa was in a rich vein of form. No matter. Ben Arfa was not a favourite of manager Alan Pardew, himself a man of huge ego. And under Director of Football Joe Kinnear the Frenchman was given the bullet. First dropped from the squad, to the huge frustration and vocal disapproval of the Newcastle faithful, and then shipped out to Hull on loan.
His career at Newcastle over.
A wonderful player who would go on and play for PSG. One who also played 15 games for his country. He will live long in the memory of those lucky enough to see him in the flesh.