Alan Pardew deserved punishment for his misdemeanour at Hull for bringing himself and the club into disrepute, despite their being no contact or harm done.
However, just like the coverage overall, isn’t there just a little bit too much being made of what impact the Newcastle manager’s absence will have on the players.
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It’s as though the team will descend into some ‘Lord Of The Flies’ scenario like in the classic book/film, where a group of kids are left stranded on a desert island and all order breaks down, leading to bullying, misery and eventually murder.
Will the players all turn on poor little Vurnon, or will Obertan be ran out of town?
Alan Pardew explained carefully yesterday that he would talk the players through their game plan just before they get on the bus to take them to Craven Cottage from the hotel.
They’re only going to play a game of football, it isn’t like an aeroplane pilot’s had a heart attack and they’ve asked for a passenger to volunteer and land the plane, or the players have drawn lots on who will perform emergency heart surgery.
Maybe the biggest joke is the idea that Alan Pardew has any kind of a clear positive effect on his team during matches. Most supporters are of the belief that Pardew does very little to help when things are going badly, while when Newcastle take the lead it appears that the players are then ordered to gradually retreat and try and hang on for the win – rather than finish the opposition off.
The same with substitutions, the usual players are regularly replaced and if we are behind you can usually count on one or two coming on with around 25 minutes left.
The biggest shame is perhaps that John Carver hasn’t been given license to do things as he sees fit during play and instead will be given a rigid plan to follow, as well as whatever messages Pardew is sending over while he’s watching the game in the Queen Vic.