Mike Ashley & Alan Pardew Consider Their Options
There have been a fair few articles bemoaning our current situation in the league, to some extent the complaints are justified, we’re loitering just above the relegation scrap and have woefully underperformed in a few games.
To me the biggest contribution to this situation is lack of depth in the squad, however there still seems to be a few voices who are determined to lay the blame firmly on Alan Pardew. Whilst he should certainly be prepared to take some of the flak then some of the underperforming players should also be in the firing line, it goes without saying that our frankly bizarre transfer policy hasn’t helped.
The situation with injuries, suspensions and the additional matches in the Europa league has thrown up a few tricky problems and a dilemma. We know that there is pretty much no hope of winning the League so it’s a scrap for the Champions League spots, realistically given our current form then that is a seriously long shot as well, now the tricky question, do we push for a Europa League place again or just aim for mid-table mediocrity & safety and give it our all in Europe and the FA Cup?
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This however, brings me back to the point about our wafer thin squad, a concerted push in the cups could be a dangerous gamble knowing that risking our first choice starting 11 could end up knacking them for what could be vital matches in the league. To that end it is vital that we bolster the squad in January which brings me in a roundabout way to my next set of points.
Some of the more vocal anti-Pardew brigade are saying that he should be given the boot, ok fair enough you could argue that on current form then that would certainly not be too harsh, however that would be totally ignoring the work he has done previously and at this stage of the season I feel would achieve nowt and probably make things worse.
There are 2 reasons why I think giving Pardew the boot at this point in the season would be utter madness. Firstly but not most importantly, whilst Graham Carr does an excellent job of scouting and has delivered a few absolute gems, I’m assuming to some extent that he gets his ‘shopping list’ from the manager.
To make a brief comparison to the game ‘Football Manager’, Pardew says to Carr, “I’m looking for a LB with the following X qualities between the age of 20-25 and whose contract is nearly up”. If we suddenly bin Pardew, firstly would the new manager have time to compile his own list and what happens if he decides that he is after something completely different to Pardew , effectively the last X months of scouting is down the pan and we end up in danger of making some panic signings, if any at all .
My main concern and this is the big question is, if we binned Pardew, what are the other options? Seriously, who is available? There is a website called the sack race, it’s got a section ‘the job centre’ listing some of the more well known managers who for whatever reasons are currently not managing anywhere.
There are the usual faces like David O’Leary , George Graham , Paul Jewell and Howard Wilkinson all lurking there , then there are the more high profile names Bert Van Marwijk , Pep Guardiola , Sven Goran Eriksson and a few up and comings i.e. Roberto De Matteo , Henrik Larsson . The full list is at the website, there are a few that now have jobs on there but on the whole it gives a pretty good idea of who is out there.
So the next question, obviously we’d love to get Pep or someone like him, but who do you honestly think we would end up with? If managers are wary of going to Chelski because of Abramovich and his itchy trigger finger, what makes us any more of an attractive proposition? It’s all well and good saying get rid of Pardew but if all we end up doing is bringing in Phil Brown or Steve Cotterill (I mention those 2 because I reckon it would be somebody of that ilk that Ashley would go for) etc. Then have we really made any progress ?
Personally I reckon we should stick with Pardew, he deserves our backing for now and if he is allowed to bring in the players that he feels we need then we might well get something out of this season. If he is allowed to build his team and everything still goes to crap then fair enough, it’s thank you and goodbye at the end of the season , mid-season chopping and changing will just end in misery.
As for which players we should bring in , there’s already enough silly articles naming the same names over and over so I’m not going to bother getting into that debate , all I will say is to my eyes we need at least 3, but ideally 4, quality signings.
Cheers and let’s hope things really start to pick up, the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.
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