So the Aston Villa match didn’t turn out to be such the pivotal event it promised.

What was billed as Pardew’s last stand was quickly deflated by news that his job was safe. With the club quickly giving in advance, what appeared to be the ever dubious vote of confidence.

Incidentally, have you noticed that since the recent press bans we’re getting more ‘insider’ information? Strange that Ashley’s Thought Police have not clamped down on these informants?

aston villa matchEverything seems to be status quo again, as predictable and churned out as the two chord mediocrity of the band of the same name. But the pretence of normality is chilling. What ‘lies’ behind it is the increasingly sinister bumps that are growing under the grass at St James.

It preparation, extra training was promised and days off cancelled. Why then was Sammy in Paris at the weekend? Putting those extra hours in on his Twitter account instead? Brushing up on his French so he can say ‘au revoir’to his Gallic colleagues when they leave in droves? Did the rest of the squad get the time off too? No more mister nice guy then Alan?

The team sheet was pretty much as expected, bar two major exclusions. No place in the squad for regular fixture Santon, or the enigma known as Ben Arfa.  It later transpired that Santon was injured, and has held a meeting with Pardew being keen to save his Toon career. For Benny it’s looking bleaker though and maybe we’ve seen the last of him.

So will it no longer be sayonara Santon, but still Hatem-way and sh*te Benny?

The game itself provided the much needed goal and win we needed. Hopefully some of the rot has been arrested and the remainder of the season can be completed in some semblance of integrity.

In the first half there wasn’t a great deal between the two sides, despite Lambert later stating that Villa dominated the first half, though it should’ve been the Toon that went in at the interval ahead. This would’ve been the case if only Cisse could hit a cow’s arse with a banjo. Wasting a glorious opportunity to get not only himself,  but the team, that elusive goal right on the stroke of half time.

As expected the return of Collocini, Tiote and Remy made all the difference but there was still missing that spark of creativity, it was all a bit of a grind.  As the second half wore on though United’s grip strengthened, and we threatened more, especially after De Jong replaced the ineffective Cisse. It was his graft and persistence that led to both of Remy’s clear cut chances, the second of which he thankfully smashed into the back of the net in the dying seconds of injury time.

The reaction of the players to that goal, and some of the performances on the pitch, restored a bit of pride in showing that they did indeed care. Remy especially – but will he care enough to stay? More importantly, does Ashley care enough to buy him outright and pay him the going rate? Sadly we all know the answer to that.

Apparently next season we will be looking to bring more home based talent in and not rely on the French market anymore. That new switch in direction will be a handy excuse for not trying to sign Remy. So will Carr now be sent off to scour the Conference Leagues to look for talent? It will save on air miles for Ashley too.

When the curtain comes down in May it will be the finale, not only to the season, but also I’d expect for certain players’ stay on Tyneside.

A pivotal summer for the Ashley regime. God help us all.