Get your daily update and weekly newsletter by signing up today!


Newcastle United – The Long Ball Kings

8 years ago

The most alarming factor about this season so far from our manager, is not the formation or who he picks to play within it, but the seemingly complete lack of an actual strategy to win a game of football. Our performances are so poor, does he even have one?

Not once in the league so far at St James’ Park has the team had a performance to shout about and be proud of. Not one. We have been outplayed and even out-worked for parts in every game so far. Some more than others. Now seeing as we are on our own patch and some of the level of opposition we’ve faced are nowhere near the quality of our squad, that is simply unacceptable.

We have ridden our luck for every single point gained from our home form and have completely relied on individual brilliance. Watching the team perform, to decipher an actual strategy being carried out from us to defeat the opposition is on the whole, completely non-existent. This is down to the manager.

Given the quality of players he has at his disposal in the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, if his direction to the team is for the centre backs to just hoof the ball forward, then he deserves to be sacked right here and now. No wonder he wants to bring Carroll back.

He may as well sell the above players to pay for it seeing as they are totally wasted. If he isn’t actually instructing the team to carry out this diabolical way of playing, then he needs to put a stop to it right now.

Does he even realise how much we do it or is he completely oblivious? Does he not look at the stats after every game?  (Newcastle still play on average 67 long balls per game (742 in the 11 Premier League matches so far) which is the HIGHEST in the Premier League. So that’s more than anti-football Stoke, more than Fat Sam’s West Ham with Carroll in their side and more than bloody everybody else. I’ve had enough, you’ve had enough and I am sure the players have had enough)

I would much rather we at least tried to pass the ball to each other with purpose and a clear direction and fail, then to not try at all. Cowards do that and that isn’t us.

Can anyone honestly tell me that our home form is any better than the relegation season? The only difference from that team to this is the quality of the individual. It’s those individuals that have got us the points we have. It’s not the way the team have played.

Where would we be without Demba Ba’s clinical finishing versus Spurs, Norwich and West Brom? Without Ben Arfa’s genius versus Aston Villa and Spurs? Without Tim Krul coming out on top in countless one on one situations and making point blank saves in every game he’s played? I’ll tell you where, near the relegation zone. Just like in 2009. Now I am not saying we will be anywhere near relegation, because we won’t. Joe Kinnear is long gone.

The fact that we are failing to create many clearcut chances and seem to be completely void of ideas, cannot be ignored. Newcastle United has famously been a momentum club over the years. When we are doing well, we do very well. When we don’t, it’s insufferable. If we go on a run of bad defeats than our season could get embarrassing and be over before we know it.

We all know 4-3-3 is the best system for our team, so Pardew needs to recognise it and have the balls to stick to it once for all. Our set-pieces are non-existent. We haven’t scored from one yet this season and it is well over a year since we last scored from a corner. They are a shambles. We can talk about systems and players all you like, but if the team that’s picked doesn’t even have a strategy, what’s the point? It becomes meaningless.

I genuinely have sympathy for our fans who pay their hard earned money to anticipate watching the likes of Ben Arfa and Cabaye to show us how good they are in our team that were good enough to finish 5th last season, to be then subjected to this pathetic, clueless, anti-football every single week.

I have always had a question mark over Alan Pardew. Even with the LMA Manager Of The Year award. That award was given to Pardew for the unexpected season our football club had as a whole, rather than well known tactical genius or a philosophy of football. This season is proving why I have had that question mark.

Yes, he is the manager who lead our club back into Europe but so was Glenn Roeder once upon time. Whatever happened to him? One season wonders don’t wash with me. I am far from that fickle. Alan Pardew needs to get back to what he threatened to do last season and be a manager with a strategy, rather than a coach with motivation. The team don’t need any more motivation, they need a clear and effective strategy that gets the best out of them. Once we do, we will start to play well and win games comfortably. Seriously, what kind of a manager worth his salt would play Cabaye and Ben Arfa in a 4-4-2 midfield? Just think about that?

If you look at the other top 8 teams, they all have their own issues, but what is consistent with them all is they all have their own identity. They have a manager who is trying to play a certain way and are doing their upmost to make it work no matter what. Our manager isn’t. It’s like he isn’t even trying. You know when you first take over a team on Football Manager and your tactics are a blank 4-4-2 with no strategy put in place yet? Well that’s us. That’s how we play. I have had enough. We all have. We have supported teams like this in the past. Why should we put up with it again with the quality of players we have at our disposal?

This long-term deal for Pardew looks more insane with every game that goes by. He needs to be a manager with a clear footballing strategy worthy of the 21st century. Rather than a coach who concentrates on motivating his players up to the eyeballs. Average managers with average players do that. If that’s Pardew’s standards, then that’s where he needs to be. Back at an average club. We’re too good for that. Far too good.

The definition of insanity: is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Also see: Newcastle United at home.

Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano


If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]

Have your say

© 2021 The Mag. All Rights Reserved. Design & Build by Mediaworks