Whilst the portly controller has again shown his capacity to surprise us when we’re least expecting it, this week provided one of those all too rare occasions when his impromptu actions haven’t been met with a hail of unprintable expletives and vitriol from the happy masses.
By any measure, the capture of Papiss Demba…err Rodney (?) Cisse from under the noses of rival managers – be they silly jigging Irishmen or twitchy, shady Londoners (hereby referred to as ‘the accused’, until Monday at least) – represents a real coup for Pardew and, by extension, his paymasters.
I understood that Pardew had despatched club representatives to the African Nations Cup to run the rule over potential transfer targets – what I hadn’t considered was that one of those representatives would be our current centre forward and player-of-the-season-in-waiting. However, if your top target is our hero’s very good friend and international strike partner, then a few quiet words in a pal’s ear can work wonders – words such as ‘fifty’ and ‘thousand’ and ‘fans’ coupled with words like ‘Cattermole’ and ‘Bramble’ and ‘Bendtner’ should be enough to do it and in this case, it was.
If the transfer itself wasn’t enough to tick our boxes, the circumstances around it have certainly added chortle value, our new number 9 has gone on record to confirm that he turned down other suitors not a million miles away and furthermore is looking forward to playing alongside our free scoring free transfer rather than in place of him.
All of which suggests that Demba (the Ba-man) has performed his club duties impeccably yet again, only this time behind the scenes.
Until now, I had been trying to convince myself that we weren’t slowly morphing into a feeder club for teams who we could and should be competing with – Spurs and Liverpool in particular. A well-travelled road for us in the past. Once in a while though, we reach a tipping point, a moment of truth when the club comes up with something, a signing perhaps, which ultimately proves that despite all of our fears, we were actually serious about giving it a go regardless of how it might have looked on the surface – Robert Lee, Alan Shearer……Michael Owen…….Albert Luque… were all ‘tipping point’ signings, statements of intent (ok, I didn’t say it always worked out did I?).
Hopefully the arrival of Demba Rodney to partner Demba Ba is another tipping point and a firm double digit response to Sky’s dismissal of our right to challenge the top 6 and ‘the accused’s’ / Dogleash’s arrogant assumption that they can pillage our playing staff whenever the mood takes them. I said hopefully.