Keep Calm And Trust Yohan
Last week, while many of our players were away on international duty (always a quiet time in the season and a fertile breeding ground for gossip!), a Newcastle fan took to his Twitter account and revealed some exclusive scraps of behind-the-scenes info from the training ground. The source, it goes without saying, could not be named, but the rumour was that all was not well behind the scenes. The players were unhappy, they expected more from the transfer window, team spirit was poor.
This latest story rapidly escalated into a swift denial from the official NUFC twitter account, accusing said Newcastle fan of mischief-making. This only served to add further fuel to the fire – too eager to deny the story! They must have something to hide! The story has touched a nerve!
Such drama, and that was only the start of it. A succession of old wounds were opened up. Those who have never really taken to Ashley & co but were forced to pipe down by all those annoyingly good results we had last season were suddenly back with a vengeance. The first flurry of games had been a mixed bag – a good home win and Europa League qualification tempered by an expected defeat at Chelsea and a frustrating draw with Villa.
Not great but not terrible either. Throw a couple of injuries into the mix, suddenly the entire philosophy of those running Newcastle United is thrown back into the spotlight! Speculation was rife; who are the unhappy players? Has Pardew fallen out with the board? Body language experts popped up everywhere from Morpeth to Monkseaton. “Pardew definitely looks unhappy, you can tell if you read between the lines”. “Cabaye wants to leave – no doubt about it. You can tell from the way he’s been playing”.
Pardew, to me, has come across as exactly the same man as he has been since he joined. Someone who understands exactly how the club is being run and what his restrictions are. He knows we made bids for several players in the Summer, he knows we aren’t going to be held to ransom by anyone. This is exactly how it’s been from the start. He looked frustrated after the Villa game, no question, but he also looked frustrated after we lost at home to West Bromlast season. He isn’t obliged to be permanently delighted!
As for ‘low morale’, first and foremost, why is it necessary for players’ happiness to be public knowledge? We may be fans but we have no right to know! What would the club gain from going public about something like that? Do we need a weekly happiness update for each man in the squad? These are issues that have to stay in-house, or the club becomes a mess. Look at Spurs with Modric. By the end he had fans turning on him and the club wide open to late deadline-day bids to take advantage of the situation.
In the haste to be enraged with Ashley some people seem determined to twist every word. Why is it so unbelievable that Cabaye might be a bit off the pace? He missed nearly the whole pre-season and isn’t quite up to speed yet. Cissé had a few quiet games last season – why do similar performances this time around suddenly have to have a sinister undertone?
Don’t be drawn into scrutinising Yohan’s face, no matter how beautiful it is. That grimace might just be him worrying he forgot to lock the front door when he set off for the match.
Whatever happens tonight, the season has a long, long way to go. A win would be great but drawing or even losing does not equate to a crisis.
The media love a bit of drama, so let’s not make it any easier for them to whip it up.
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