He may have spent over four years on Tyneside, but any utterance of the name Papiss Cisse will always immediately bubble up memories of his outrageous start to life as a Premier League footballer.
Everything after that was basically null and void. Sure, he still scored a few goals in the four full seasons he had at Newcastle, but those of us without an affiliation to the Magpies rarely saw past those first six months.
Which is no way a discredit to his ability or what he achieved after the 2011/12 season, far from it, it’s simply because he was so frighteningly good in those 14 games that he reset the bar for what could be described as ‘impact’.
Seven years playing in France earned him a move to the Bundesliga in 2009, where he found his feet in top level football with 39 goals in 67 outings.
Cisse didn’t even have chance to finish the 2011/12 campaign before the Premier League snapped him up, in what will probably go down as Alan Pardew’s finest signing.
It was also Newcastle’s highest top flight finish in eight years, which was a largely in part to the Senegalese striker’s incredibly short bedding in period – as well as strawberry syrup, of course.
The Toon already had themselves an impressive forward hailing from the same nation in Demba Ba, who was finding the back of the net with his own credible regularity. But the need for another striker was clear, and Pardew made the £9.6m move for Cisse.
But even for someone with the arrogance of Pardew, nobody could foresee what would happened next. Seriously, it was sensational.
Coming on as a substitute in the 14th minute against Aston Villa for his debut, Cisse set the tone for the rest of the season.
Donning the famous number nine jersey, he fired a scintillating strike into the top corner to seal all three points for his new side. Great technique and a superb finish. Cisse was here and what a start,
A tricky trip away to Tottenham followed in which he has handed his full debut, but the Magpies fell to a crushing 5-0 defeat and Cisse was powerless to stop it. Great start on his first appearance, but maybe that’s it? Ha! Not a chance.
Back at St. James’ Park and Wolves were in town, but it was Cisse who showed the predatory instinct on this occasion, reacting quickly to a loose ball for a well measured finish to open the scoring. Two homes games and two goals. Not bad…
Then two games pass. No goals. Is he of the Georginio WIjnaldum ilk? Is he incapable of scoring away from home? Seems like he could be good, but he’s not all that, is he? Is he???
Oh, Norwich came up next in the north east…and Cisse scores again. This lad is actually good, isn’t he?
Time to pop off to the midlands and take on West Brom. Newcastle are chasing a European berth this season, so Cisse needed to find his (away) scoring boots. Well, 45 minutes gone, and he’s got himself a brace. Wow, have Newcastle uncovered a gem here? What’s going on?
Liverpool at home next. This is Cisse’s turf. He’s shown what he’s got, he’ll score again.
Hasn’t scored a header yet though, has he? Spoke too soon, 90 minutes later and he had, along with a sit-Pepe-Reina-on-his-backside bit of skill in the penalty box. At this point you could feel Pardew’s smugness, but, on this occasion, you have to praise him because he signed a man on fire.
At this point he was breaking Newcastle scoring records, scoring every type of goal possible and striking fear into even the most seasoned Premier League defenders. It had to stop. It had to eventually.
So, Swansea come around next away from home and he scores another brace. ANOTHER brace, that included a gorgeous lobbed finish in the second half. This is getting ridiculous.
Now just stop it. This is ridiculous Cisse, mate. Stop scoring, you’re making everyone else look bad. Nobody comes into a new league and scores nine goals in their first eight league matches. Oh? They don’t? They score ten in their first nine???
Cisse certainly does, as Bolton found out next up on the fixture list.
Stoke next. What’s coming? A goal, obviously.
Wigan come and go. He doesn’t score. It’s outrage. who is this inconsistent striker who can’t score against Wigan? Can’t be all that, can he? Now with Chelsea coming up at Stamford Bridge next he’ll surely buckle under the pressure.
Well, folks, he didn’t. This striking sensation scoffed at the mere utterance of the word ‘pressure’ to score one of the finest EVER braces seen in Premier League history.
His first is sadly forgotten about, simply because his second was on another planet. But let’s not forget his flick up and resulting volley in the first half, as it was special in its own right.
But when you manage to score a goal that has its own sodding name – more commonly associated with a half-moon shaped fruit – then you’ve got magic in your boots. We all know the ‘banana goal’, go online and watch it again for the 1,000th time, it’s so worth it.
He wouldn’t score again in the remaining two matches of the season, but he sure went out with a bang. Falling neatly into the ‘streets don’t forget’ category for his 14-game showing that season, Papiss Cisse left his mark.
The Premier League was spellbound, he wasn’t supposed to take to it so quickly. But truth be told, everyone loved it. Whether you’re Newcastle or not, it was fabulous to watch.
People were smitten by him, and I’m not joking, a compilation of those goals online has over 1.3m views.
Hats off to the man from Senegal, England didn’t know what hit it.
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