Ben Arfa appearance cancelled

12 August 2014 11:16

Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa's appearance at a book shop to meet fans on Tuesday has been cancelled because it would be "counter-productive".

France international Ben Arfa, 27, has become a peripheral figure for the Magpies and has been training with their development squad this summer.

His meeting with supporters at The Back Page in Newcastle was set to take place on the same day as the Tyneside outfit's open training day at St James' Park.

A statement issued on Tuesday by The Back Page said: "It is with great regret that we must announce that the planned appearance of Hatem Ben Arfa at The Back Page shop later today has been cancelled.

"Since accepting the invitation last week, it has become increasingly clear that Hatem will be excluded from the training day event at St James' Park today.

"In light of the increasing media circus that news has prompted, both the Back Page and Hatem agree that staging the event would be counter-productive and cancellation is the most logical course of action.

"Hatem sends his apologies and is saddened that he's unable to meet supporters at this time.

"The shop remains open as usual today and we look forward to seeing many fans after they've visited SJP."

The club themselves on Tuesday announced a "long-term" extension to their partnership with their official kit supplier Puma that will take it "into the next decade".

Puma have supplied Newcastle's kit, replica and training wear since the 2010/11 season.

The Magpies' 2014/15 Barclays Premier League campaign gets under way at St James' Park on Sunday when they face reigning champions Manchester City.

And Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is hopeful midfielder Cheick Tiote and forward Siem de Jong - one of the club's numerous new signings, and a player the manager has likened to former England striker Teddy Sheringham - will win their battles to be fit for selection.

Pardew told Sky Sports News: "On whether Siem and Cheick will be be available - it will be disappointing if they are not, but they are running well today.

"So they could be available and make it an easy job for me to pick my strongest team. But we'll have to see."

On De Jong, he added: " I think he is a terrific player.

"I have been lucky enough in my career to manage some great players and I think he could be one of the best.

"I worked with Teddy Sheringham and he reminds me a lot of Teddy in the way he conducts the game, the way he conducts himself, and that will be shown on a matchday."

Source: PA