Ben Arfa tells of his Newcastle United 'hell'
Hatem Ben Arfa before his exile at Newcastle - image via

Any Newcastle United fan will be familiar with the rollercoaster of emotions involved with following a team including Hatem Ben Arfa.

The talented Frenchman gave Magpies some amazing memories with his skilful dribbling and wonderful goals. But his last months at the club were sour and his relationship with manager, Alan Pardew, disintegrated. He has now lifted the lid on those final few stages of his career in England.

St James' Prison

Many fans wondered if they would see a revival of a potentially glistening career for Ben Arfa when he was sent out to Hull City on loan, but the answer looked to be a negative. However, since his switch to French side, Nice, he seems back to his best.

Ben Arfa was forced to train with the reserves before being loaned out to Hull. Speaking to France Football, he claimed he had been made to feel like a 'prisoner' by the club and that he hated his time at Hull, also.

He added that what he described as "a very, very difficult" period had been "the worst of my career", and "a hell" which had been the same during his time on Tyneside.

Final months in England

After returning from pre-season overweight in the eyes of Newcastle bosses, Ben Arfa was forced to train with the reserves before his deadline-day loan. He describes how the young players would take "cheap shots" at him and how he would tell himself "to not let go".

He also says he received a fine due to his weight but still claims it was 2.5kg worth of muscle and not excess fat, as the club had stated.


After his release from Newcastle, Ben Arfa says he was offered deals by Nice and teams in Turkey but it was a no-brainer to return to France, despite the Turkish sides willingness to pay him "five times" of what Nice were set to offer.

Hatem Ben Arfa celebrates for Nice after leaving Newcastle United
France's Hatem Ben Arfa has been in great form since leaving Newcastle United - via

It proved the correct decision as he has been in scintillating form this season, producing seven goals in 13 games. Many of these have been goals of the highest quality, as he looks like the player he once was on Tyneside.

The resurgence has led to Ben Arfa receiving his first French national cap since 2012.