So  Alan Pardew  has  been  awarded  with  an  8  year  contract.  A  fitting  reward  for  last  season’s  performances  and  ultimate  European  qualification.  Or alternatively  for  being  a  yes  man,  unwilling  to  rock  the  boardroom  boat  no  matter  what.

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At  this  point  I  will,  no  doubt,  have  incensed  the  sad  defenders  of  the  faith;  my  thoughts  derided  as  the  rantings  of  a  madman.

Pardew’s  stock  has  risen  and  deservedly  so.  He  assumed  control  and  was  given  a  vision  of  the  future;  a  vision  mirroring  that  of  Arsenal,  where  young  talented  continentals  could  be  brought  in  cheaper  than  their  Premiership  counterparts,  hopefully  perform  without  the  millstone  of  expectation,  thus  creating  an  arts  academy.  Graham  Carr’s  contribution  has,  as  we  know,  been  integral  to  the  plan,  a  stunning  visionary  we  are  lucky  to  employ.

Unfortunately  and  perversely,  the  up/downside  of  last  season’s  exertions  has  seen  us  qualify  for  the  much  maligned  Europa  League.  A  marathon  of  a  competition  that  is  fundamentally  flawed,  with  its  hectic  league  set-up  followed  by  the  inclusion  of  the  Champions  League  ‘losers’.  It’s  a  competition  that  needs  a  club’s  best  players,  if  not  for  the  full  90  minutes,  then  at  least  for  a  30  minute  cameo,  where  the  gifts  of  a  Ben  Arfa/ Cabaye/Ba,  could  prove  the  difference,  especially  when  the  strikers  are  showing  the  profligacy  of  Maritimo  away.

However,  to  leave  them  behind  at  Darsley  Park  beggared  belief.

Then  the  League  Cup  trip  to  Old  Trafford  looms  and  with  Fergie’s  history  of  blooding  youngsters  in  this  competition  I  sensed  an  unlikely  victory  was  possible. Yet  the  exclusion  of  Ba,  Cabaye  and  Ben  Arfa  beggared  belief.  A  winnable  competition,  a  route  back  into  Europe  and  a  shiny  silver  pot  compromised  by  the  baffling  tactics  of  a  man  who  saw  fit  to  omit  the  likes  of  Ben  Arfa  from  the  travelling  party.  So  when  the  teams  were  read  out  and  Fergie  realised  his 2  rookie  centre  halves  would  only  have  to  deal  with  Shola and  Vuckic,  Cisse  at  worst,  he  must  have  been  mightily  relieved.

Forgive  my  ignorance  or  applaud  my  common  sense,  but  why  enter  winnable  competitions  without  at  least  having  your  best  players  on  the  bench. Moreover  the  sad  delusion  Pardew  appears  to  be  labouring  under  is  that  our squad  players  are  good  enough.  Let’s  be  clear  now;  Gosling,  Obertan,  Marveaux,  Vuckic  are  third  rate,  and  don’t  get  me  started  about  Sammy.  Pardew’s  post -match  ramblings  were  as  predictable  as  they  were  frustrating.  Echoing  other  games  where  we  showed  guts  and  praising  the  players’  application.  Another  nearly  night  presided  over  by  a  nearly  man.

We  are  not  going  to  win  the  league,  so  surely  other  competitions  must  be  given  more  priority,  or  is  the  foreboding  spectre  of  Birmingham  City’s  cup  success/relegation  stalking  Pardew/Llambias/Ashley  like  a  ghost  of  seasons  past.

If  so,  the strengthening  of  the squad  should  have  been  undertaken  in  the  summer,  yet  it  was  not.  Instead  we  were  bizarrely  told  by  our  manager  after  the  transfer  window  was  slammed  shut,  that  we  as  fans  should  be  thanking  Mike  for  not  selling  any  of  our  top  players!

Another  worry  is  Pardew’s  handling  of  Ben  Arfa.  He  reminds  me  so  much  of  a  young  Beardsley,  yet  with  more  guile,  however  his  talent  warrants  more  than  him  stuck  in  a  routine  4-4-2.  Yet  it’s  plain  to  see  Pardew  struggles  to  make  the  most  of  his  playmaker.  He  thrives  running  at  defenders,  yet  for  long  periods  he  doesn’t  see  the  ball. Baffling.  His  skills  are  no  doubt  being  monitored  by  the  big  boys,  so  we  probably  won’t  be  watching  him  in  black  and  white  for  much  longer,  so  the  more  time  he’s  on  the  ball  the  better  for  me.

Contracts in football mean  very  little  these  days,  long  ones  seem  to  indicate  settled  times  and  happy  employers  and  employees.  So let’s  be  content  with  an  occasional  foray  into  Europe,  and  not  rocking  that boat, eh?

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  • gary

    No surprise here from this sad article which is littered with spelling mistakes. This sad site and this article is not the rantings of a madman just a sad little man with an over inflated ego.

  • Chapp

    A decent article by Darren which in my view just about sums it up. Marveaux, Gosling and Obertan will never make it at premiership level and for all Vuckic looks to have a little bit of skill, he has no pace whatsoever and is weak as p*ss. Personally I want to be challenging for these so called lesser cups (a trophy is a trophy for f*cks sake) and we are not exactly lavished with them. As for AP’s failure to challenge the board over the lack of transfer activity (mainly players in), I am absolutely convinced that this is the sole reason he is being rewarded with an 8 year contract. Unbelievable.

  • Tom

    I’m not sure I’m convinced by the arguments in this article. Pardew has been set a target of 8th in the league this season, and as a consequence needs his strongest players in the league. I honestly don’t care about the league cup, and my excitement dwindled further when we were drawn away to United first game. You can write off Obertan or whatever, but talk up the talents of Tavernier who had an outstanding game. Rob Elliot looks good as well, and I think if we’d had a bit more luck, we’d have gone through. Furthemore, the league cup was an unwelcome distraction after midweek European games, so I’m perfectly happy to let this one go. If we’re still in on three fronts come January (FA cup, league and Europe) then Pardew’s decision will have been justified. I agree about Ben Arfa, perhaps he could be used as more of a playmaker, but no player is bigger than the team and he has played some great stuff in his time at Newcastle. In Pardew we trust!

    • Paul Soulsby

      “United”, are You actually a Mag ?, outside the region United might refer to manyoo, up here there’s only one United though.

  • Mal

    I cannot understand why there is so much negativity about. I’m sure pardew would have liked another couple of signings but he didn’t get them and is making the most of what he’s got. He’s got an incredible balancing act to do considering the number of games the team has to play. It’s ok saying play your best team in every match but that isn’t an option and if we did do well in the cups but fell back in the league no doubt you’d still be critical. He deliberately left some of the top players at home when we went to maritimo to spare them the travelling (Ben Arfa was suspended by the way) and we only beat Norwich 1 0 – what might have happened against norwich if he’d played them all in maritimo. As for the Man U game he wouldn’t actually know their team until he’d handed in ours – so he wouldn’t have known about the rookie centre halves anyway.
    Calling Pardew a ‘nearly man’ after his performance last season is quite honestly insulting. Perhaps you’d like to go back to the days of Allardyce and Souness – they were always good for making the big signings that you apparently crave.

  • brin

    why do we seem to be happy he was set a target of 8th…last year we finished 5th(nearly 4th)..with just a little outlay we ould have improved..we should have improved !!
    Hope he isnt a yes man..would be a shame

  • Paul Soulsby

    A pretty spiteful article, we can only guess what Pardew was told on his appointment but I think he would have been made aware that he would be working within certain budget constraints. For him then to finish 5th in his first full season was a staggering achievment, something that was beyond the much vaunted Marty Ziff at the Villa despite Randy Lerners largesse. We need to remeber the man has been here less than two years, last season was always going to be a hard act to follow, giving the extra burden of Europa League games on a small squad. Some people wil always have a moan but lets not give the man a kicking just yet !

  • Keith

    Pardew is not going to openly criticize his bosses in public, that does no one any good him or the club by causing rifts as we all know more than most. I think he manages to get his point over without the need for it anyway and he has made the owner aware of the need for new players many times. What people don’t seem to be able to get here heads around is that when you look at the set up at NUFC now its very much in the continental style with Pardew being a coach who can present areas of weakness in the squad and then players are then identified and the board make the financial decisions. The days of managers being given 20-30m and being told to fill there boots are long gone. That an only be a good thing in my eyes as at this club it left us with a string of inadequate big names and a squad with no balance or plan signed by a successsion of managers