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Tyne Talk

Newcastle United Launch Their Latest Five Minute Plan

8 years ago

‘I say I say I say, what do you call a ship with no captain?’

Alan Pardew is a man of many different parts, one moment manager of the year and next minute (season) a liability to many.

As the main (only?) spokesperson at Newcastle United, he has the unfortunate task of having to comment on pretty much everything that happens at the club, talking so often means that he regularly says some ‘interesting’ things.

After the Braga friendly produced a goal from a corner, our manager couldn’t wait to say that it was no surprise as they had worked on a game plan, and that in training and the other friendlies, the corners had been looking far more dangerous – to the bemusement of anybody who has watched the pre-season games.

No doubt if Tim Krul had belted it down the pitch and scored a freak goal, Alan would have claimed that this was also down to some new initiative in training.

The point I am making is that the whole club, including the manager, is run on a wing and a prayer, there is no long-term plan. At least not one that will lead to a successful Newcastle United on and off the pitch.

The fifth (top) place finish was seized upon by Derek Llambias as proof that Newcastle’s ‘five year plan’ was working. As in, that when Mike Ashley bought the club he had laid out a path that had cunningly led to that leap forward.

The fact that a number of our fans lapped this up is beyond all comprehension. So you had to believe that the ‘plan’ was to give Allardyce a (relative) fortune to spend/waste on over the hill players like Viduka and Geremi, as well as seriously damaged goods such as Barton and Smith. Then to bring in a fans’ idol like Keegan on a false premise, KK belatedly discovering that it was Wise and not he who decided which players would come and go. Xisco in and Milner out, you couldn’t make it up.

Then year two of the plan was to cleverly get Newcastle relegated before accidentally appointing a decent manager in Hughton, before sacking him because he’d won promotion at a canter and established the club in mid-table. Hughton acting with great dignity despite being undermined to such a degree that Ashley wouldn’t let him appoint his own number two, with the manager refusing to leave of his own accord they had to sack him despite beating the mackems 5-1 and winning at the Emirates in the weeks leading up to his dismissal.

I could go on…and I will.

After a remarkable leap to fifth place, Alan Pardew then stated as fact in an end of season interview on Radio Newcastle that the club were going to sign a number of players including Debuchy and a dominant centre-back amongst others, plus bring in a coach to specifically work on corners and set-pieces.

None of these things happened that summer and it was then left to Alan Pardew to come out and say it was actually a GOOD thing Newcastle hadn’t signed these essential extra players, as it meant the kids would get more chances.

A central strand of this long-term planning is claimed to be this revolutionary transfer strategy of only buying younger players who will have a higher resale value after a couple of years of their contracts. So where exactly does bringing Remy in on loan fit into that plan?

Graham Carr was undoubtedly a good appointment but he is operating with one (two?) hand tied behind his back. He’s got great experience working for the likes of Spurs and Manchester City and a wealth of contacts but is restricted to looking for bargains whose contracts are nearing their end, or injured players (Marveaux, Gosling), or those with clauses in their contracts. Nothing wrong with that but it shouldn’t be your ONLY plan. Imagine who the club could bring in if Graham Carr’s judgement was properly backed?

The pre-seasons have never been great under Ashley (in terms of moving the club forward commercially and/or the quality of the opposition) and even the one where they travelled to America was blighted by poor ‘planning’. These past  two summers simply  last minute farces that see us playing Wonga (Blackpool) and Sports Direct (Rangers) derbies this time around, plus matches played on a field somewhere in Portugal , with 3 men and a donkey watching.

Much was made at the end of last season when meetings were taking place between Ashley, Llambias and Pardew. The message afterwards coming out of the club that everybody had agreed on a plan that would see United bounce back.

Only weeks later somebody rings up Sky Sports claiming he is now in charge at St.James’ Park to the bemusement and horror of everybody who cares about Newcastle United, we know this person all too well.

Days later and Derek Llambias resigns via his mate David Craig live from Ascot races on Sky Sports. The departing Managing Director making clear by going down this route before the official club statement , that he wasn’t happy at what had come to pass.

These latest stages of the ‘plan’ were obviously agreed so far in advance that it was only natural that it would take the club 48 hours to confirm Kinnear’s appointment.

This delay leading to many fans/neutrals thinking that this was the ultimate big lie from JFK, to go with all the other ‘misunderstandings’ from his past.

Yes, we can all see that now the plan is coming to its ultimate conclusion, with a person of the profile of Joe Kinnear the most powerful employee at St.James’ Park.

There are even some mischievous people who suggest that Mike Ashley simply met up with Joe Kinnear for a social drink that Sunday lunchtime and on the spur of the moment offered Joe the job, to go and sort out the mess at St.James’ Park. Quite unbelievable…isn’t it?



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