Why Alan Pardew And His Players Deserve The Support Of Newcastle Fans
Ok, I am more than aware that this article will anger certain fans. Those eternally pessimistic fans who simply do not have any faith left in the players, management and ownership, need to get a grip, and put a few things in perspective.
This wonderful club of ours has indeed been its own worst enemy on the pitch, at boardroom level……and in the stands.
We were all dismayed when the ‘window slammed shut’ (copyright Sky Sports News) at 11pm on that Monday but there are still big positives to be had, and I dare say we are probably the only set of fans in this country who wouldn’t see them.
Firstly, let me clear a few things up. This article is NOT defending Joe Kinnear. The man is a deplorable human being and let everyone down this summer. Ashley at times is indefensible, but history shows there have been worse owners (oh I can hear some of you wanting my blood already). He is clearly a great businessman but a vindictive individual who can’t run a modern day football club.
The main point of contention I have with all this negativity is the complete and utter unjustified loss of faith in the players and Pardew. Yes, don’t rub your eyes, don’t adjust your screens, that’s what I said. I have faith in Alan Pardew.
Last season was awful, there’s no denying that. We were limp up front, disorganised at the back, easy to play against, and among the most unattractive teams to watch in the league. His attempts to use the same players that had ended the previous season so well in a different formation was odd, and moronic. His seemingly pathetic pandering to Demba Ba’s diva-ish demands of playing through the middle instead of on the left of an effective front 3 smacked of a man terrified of losing a quality player to a ridiculous get out clause. The way he set the team up against Sunderland and Liverpool at home, his choice of substitutions in various other games reeked of a man so scared to lose, it affected his judgement.
As he was last summer, he has been let down terribly in this window. In fact, he has been let down in every single window with the exception of last January. For me it’s a case of weighing up 18 months of excellent management against one year of poor management. Had that one poor year happened when he had all his resources available, I may have a different opinion, but the simple fact is, he didn’t, and I don’t.
The job he did in his first half season after losing Carroll was excellent in my opinion. We lost the focal point of the style of play. That team had played that way for a year and a half and when the entire reason it had played that way was lost, we adapted, finished comfortably mid-table and Best, Lovenkrands and Ameobi had all the goals they had in them milked out of them, playing a different style that was more pleasing on the eye. The season we came 5th needs no explanation.
So what went wrong last season? Being in the Europa League hit us hard, that’s been stated a million times. It’s not just the extra games that causes injuries and fatigue, it’s the fact that rather than spending a full week preparing tactically for a premier league game, you spend a day, maybe two. How will that not affect a squad and performances? Before any of you jump on my point and say that managers in Europe regularly do this, they usually have the squads. We certainly didn’t. Remember when David Moyes guided Everton to 4th place? Well they lost the qualifier to Villareal and ended up in the Europa League, and finished 17th the following season. Injuries and extra games decimated them, then confidence drops, and you’re on a downward spiral. Does that make Moyes a bad manager? Did Everton fans turn against him? Or did they read between the lines.
A huge factor in the style of play last year was the back four…..I fail to see how Pardew could be solely at fault for this. Coloccini and Santon missed large parts of the season whilst Yanga and Debuchy took time to adjust, and when they signed the rot was already too far gone.
If you’re playing with players like Taylor, Williamson, Simpson and Perch how are you meant to play football. Guardiola would struggle with that lot, they are half decent defenders, but technically poor footballers. Teams recognise this, and whenever any of our defenders were in possession pressed them and harried them, and what happens then? Long ball.
If any of these players were indeed big money Pardew signings I could understand the criticism but they aren’t. Simpson and Perch cost £1.5m each, Williamson a cool million, all while we were a Championship club. They were all here when he arrived and to be fair he did well getting them to perform above themselves for so long.
The back four that started against West Ham and Fulham has to be the one to take us forward. Pardew needs to leave out three players; Steven Taylor, Tiote and Gutierrez as they are simply not good enough anymore. He needs a midfield trio of Anita, Cabaye & Sissoko and a front three of Remy, Cisse & Ben Arfa. That team can challenge for a European place. Yes injuries may play a part but surely we can’t be as unlucky as last year. If you look at the team that went on the great run at the end of 2011-12, this one is stronger. Debuchy for Simpson? Yanga for Taylor? Anita for Tiote? Sissoko for Gutierrez? Remy for Ba? The last comparison is the only one that is up for debate in my opinion, yet in a wide position Remy is far better, as he possesses more natural pace and skill and used to be a winger.
So in summary, Ashley and Kinnear are useless and need to go. Our manager is not, and fans would do well to not put all three in the same category.
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