The Mag | Issue 271 | 8 Sept 2012The brand new issue of The Mag features a great interview with Chief Sportswriter at The Journal, Mark Douglas.

Every issue we interview one of the top journalists covering Newcastle United in our Press Watch feature and here we bring you some edited highlights from the interview, to read the whole interview and of course the rest of the magazine, you can buy single copies online (Only £3 plus postage), or subscriptions here, delivery available to anywhere in the world.

Should Newcastle fans be happy because we’ve kept all of our elite players despite only buying one first team player in Anita from Ajax?

Happy? No. Satisfied? Possibly. I have little doubt that if Pardew had led Newcastle into mid-table last year a blue chip performer would have gone. His ‘reward’, if you will, was to keep all the stars while the club would do business if they felt they could get a bargain.

Personally, United fans must be looking at the summer as an opportunity missed. Had Mathieu Debuchy and Luuk de Jong signed it would have mixed things up a bit – while also adding international class to the squad. Then you’d have fancied Newcastle to have a real crack at repeating last season’s fifth place – or even better.

One argument is that NUFC could have wasted a massive opportunity to build the squad with new back-up signings and ensure we’d be top six or so again, other one is that club shouldn’t pay over the odds for players so Ashley is right in not strengthening more as players supposedly weren’t there at right price. What do you think?

You can’t argue with Ashley’s business model given the improvements over the last few years but it’s asking an awful lot of Alan Pardew, John Carver and the rest of the coaching staff to repeat what happened last year with essentially the same squad.

Newcastle shouldn’t go down the route of spending stupidly again but their approach was controversial. Their initial offers for de Jong and Debuchy were almost half of what the selling teams wanted and that got their backs up. It also makes players wonder whether they really value them that highly. Had Newcastle been prepared to spend an extra million on Debuchy he’d be in black and white – and I’d say the same about de Jong. A bit of flexibility would have given Pardew a real chance this year.

If a ‘big’ team falls away this season, how likely are they to come after (Manager Of The Year) Alan Pardew and do you think he would be tempted?

20 years ago, I would have said a top four club would have taken him in an instant. But nowadays I can’t really understand the mentality of their owners. Tottenham sacked Redknapp and replaced him with AVB, who had done nothing at Chelsea. Foreign managers are in vogue and good British coaches like Pardew are finding a Champions League glass ceiling.

If the call did come I don’t think Pardew would go at the moment. In public and in private he never shies away from how much he likes the club, the area and working with supporters who live and breathe the game. He is building something at Newcastle but his loyalty and commitment will surely be dependent on whether the club backs him. If a rival is prepared to offer him an unfettered hand in the transfer market and a warchest of £30-40million to rebuild their club, I’d think he’d be tempted.

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