Paul Dummett reveals his reaction to social media criticism as he opens up on his career
Paul Dummett’s had his critics over the years. And many of them have been on social media.
But something’s changed. And Dummett has changed it.
Speaking last year after hearing his name chanted for the first time, Dummett said: “It was weird. Normally people shout ‘Dummett, you’re s***e'."
The self-effacing defender was one of the first names on Rafa Benitez’s teamsheet. And, most likely, it’ll be the same under head coach Steve Bruce, Benitez’s successor at Newcastle United.
When fit, Dummett was in Benitez’s starting XI. And the 27-year-old could pass the 200-game career milestone this coming season.
The Newcastle-born player’s six-and-a-half year stint in the first team has flown by. Not bad for a player who was once told by Alan Pardew that he wasn’t good enough for the Premier League.
“It seems to have gone quickly looking back,” said the left-back. “Although 27 is still not old, you look back and think ‘where have the years gone?’. I’ve played a lot of games for Newcastle now, and, back then, when I made my debut, I didn’t think I’d be sitting here after more than 150 league games for Newcastle and still playing here.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work, dedication and determination. I kept on coming back from injuries, and with different managers, who have tried to buy players for my position.
“Thankfully, I’ve always come out of the other end and every manager has seemed to like what I’ve done and given me opportunities for me to play.”
Dummett – who, as one of the club’s senior professionals, appeared alongside Bruce at his first press conference in China last week – has had to work hard, over many years, to win over some fans.
Asked about hearing his name chanted for the first time, Dummett said: “I think it was two years ago. There’s always, still now, any player in the Newcastle team will have people that don’t like them as a player or criticise them. It was never only just me.
“There was a lot of people that used to criticise me when I first broke into the team. You need to be a strong person for those kind of things.
“I always looked beyond that, and my thought was that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks as long as the manager’s happy with what you do on the pitch. He’s in charge.
“I don’t know what it was or what changed. One game, they started singing a song, and from that day, more people stick up for you online. You get more plaudits. I had a few good games and changed people’s minds.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
“You’re also a young boy breaking into the first team. A lot of fans always say they want local boys playing in the first team, but as soon as we sign a player, and we’ve had a player break through from the Academy, they always want the new signing to play.
“I’ve had that a lot from being in the first team when we’ve signed players in my position. I always see they want this player to play to get me out of the team. They want this player to play.
“Really, the player they’ve signed never did enough to get in the team or ends up leaving or not playing. It’s always been the same throughout my time in the first team.
“They always want something better, but for the past five years, that hasn’t seemed to happen. I just need to keep on doing the best for myself and the team, and hopefully keep on playing.”
Dummett was never the biggest name in his team as he moved up the age groups at United. Dummett, however, was the steadiest. Other more talked-about players didn’t make it, and Dummett – who had loans at St Mirren and Gateshead – was the one who achieved his dream.
“From being a young boy supporting Newcastle, you always dream of playing for the first team,” said the Wales international, who has had to overcome a series of hamstring injuries. “Everyone’s always out there saying that ‘it’ll not happen’ or ‘not many players make it’.
“For me, I always thought ‘I’ll be the one that will do it’, even though people were telling me I wouldn’t. Even 10 years ago, when I would’ve been 17 or 18, I was never the biggest name talked about in the team – the same as I am now.
“Everyone knew what I’d do on the pitch. I’m a steady player, and always give what everyone knows I’ll give. Sometimes managers like that – they know what they’ll get.”
Dummett has had his critics from the stands – and on social media. He has almost 100,000 followers on Twitter. How does he handle the comments – good and bad?
“A lot of people say ‘don’t read the good comments and don’t read the bad comments’,” said Dummett. “I don’t know. I think, because I’ve been used bad comments in the past … I think I just laugh.
“Everyone wants Newcastle to win and do well. It’s one of those things you have to look beyond, good or bad.
“You have to take everything with a pinch of salt, really.”
Twitter, though, can be salty enough to start with.