Rewind the clock three months to August 2nd 2019, “ASM” was still just part of the acronym to some weird whisper therapy nonsense, Newcastle United were preparing to endure a season of turmoil under Steve Bruce and to be honest, heads were hung low on Tyneside. Following the signing of Joelinton from Hoffenheim two weeks earlier, United then announce the signing a French winger from OGC Nice by the name of Allan Saint-Maximin.
Almost instantly, the NUFC Bloggersphere is inundated with articles about the alleged “attitude problems” he demonstrated in his time on the French Riviera. As a whole, the Geordie nation let out a collective sigh – “not another one of those for crying out loud…”
Now, back to present day, ASM has just made his seventh appearance in a black and white shirt with yet another mesmerising display – this time down at the London Stadium. With his sheer pace, tantalising skills and ability to grab a game by the scruff of the neck, he’s been nothing short of a sensation for the Magpies.
However, it’s not just his on-field prowess that has captured the hearts of the Geordie Nation, but the way he presents himself off it too. With visits to the Newcastle fans’ beloved ‘NUFC fans foodbank’ charity, as well as constant interaction with his followers on his Twitter account, it’s fair to say the fans have fallen in love.
ASM the new toon hero
The way ASM uses his social media should be seen as an example to footballers the world over. The great thing about Twitter is it allows fans and players to interact with one another, and no player takes advantage of that the way ASM does. Be it using his sharp wit to fend off hateful tweets or just simply thanking fans for their kind words, he’s gained plenty of fans through it – and not just on Tyneside either.
His straight-up confidence hasn’t gone without notice either with the Frenchman telling the Telegraph, “I am learning all the time. As a team, we are working on how to get me the ball higher up the pitch, how to get me one-on-one with a defender because if that happens, I will kill them.”
There is, however, one slight concern early on in his NUFC career – his end product. On Saturday, his performance was electric, the West Ham defence couldn’t deal with him as he repeatedly got in behind them and caused all sorts of problems. However, despite having at least two glorious opportunities to open his account for the Magpies, he failed to take his opportunities. As far as I’m concerned, if he keeps playing like this, it’s only a matter of time before he does open his account though – it shouldn’t be too much of an issue just yet.
Put it this way, his performance was so good despite the missed chances, he made Alan Shearer’s team of the week – and he seems pretty pleased about that:
So, a few months into his career on Tyneside and ASM has been nothing short of a revelation – there’s certainly not been any “attitude problems”. In fact, his attitude has been absolutely exemplary from the get-go. Hopefully he’s on Tyneside for many years to come.