Newcastle United – If You Don’t Want To See The Results Look Away Now
Lend me your ears (eyes?) for a few minutes while I play devil’s advocate – I’ll lay it out straight, I’m going to defend our players and our manager, so, to use a well-worn phrase, if you don’t want to see the results, look away now.
The doom and gloom that is hanging over our beloved club is coming to a head once again, the noises of crisis and discontent as predictable and tiresome as our attempts to score from corners.
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We’ve all seen the stats, we know them practically off by heart – 4 wins in 16, 4 in a row without scoring, only 1 goal when Remy is not in the team, blah blah blah. The fact I didn’t have to reference anywhere to find those stats is evidence of their prevalence (oooh, that rhymed) in the reporting of the team’s current situation – and to be honest, I’m sick of it.
I’m sick of seeing us winning a corner and expecting it to end in a counter-attack. I’m sick of looking at the weekend’s fixtures and being fairly safe in the knowledge we’re not going to win our next game. I’m sick of things I can’t even conjure up in my mind so I can write about them here to flesh out this paragraph – but because of the nature of our club’s problems at the minute, I know they exist. I’m also sick of having to hear about nothing but our problems all the damn time.
Our manager came out after the Stoke game and made the seemingly mortal sin of uttering the words, “I actually don’t think the media in the north east helped us this week.” Heaven forbid. Get the pitchforks lads.
We are on a poor run of form – absolutely – but to be honest, if you’re reading every article spurned out not just by the local press, but from amongst the fans themselves, you’d think we were in the place of our near neighbours at the foot of the table, headed back to the not so promised land of the Championship.
As for the reaction of the press afterwards to Pardew’s words – it read a little bit like the bitter words of a scolded child. I don’t begrudge them their views, nobody likes criticism, and the club has done little to endear itself to the journalists who led the charge of damnation after Saturday’s latest pointless return. But for all the reporting, and all the social media fallout afterwards – one steady truth remains – if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
Let’s take a step back from the black hole of morale that we’re all seemingly being sucked into at the minute and look at things objectively. We’re 9th in the league, and will most likely finish there, give or take a place. Being realistic – where did we all think we’d be, come the end of the season? Looking up the league, the only team we could really feel ‘entitled’ to be above is Southampton, who have played beyond themselves this campaign. They’re lauded for being fresh and vibrant and forward thinking, and are the darlings of the media because they’ve got a handful of England fringe players in their first XI. And yet, they are 2 meagre points ahead of us. 2 points. They’re not going to Wembley either, by the way. As for us, the perennial crisis club, the club the press love to jump on – and now it seems, not just the London hacks, but our own in the north east as well – a similar level of achievement apparently is catastrophic failure and heralds certain doom and relegation last season.
Let’s not forget here, although our local writers are close to the pulse in the region, and have access to ears and mouths the rest of us lowly punters don’t – it is their job to sell papers – and the good old British ‘keep calm and carry on’ mentality doesn’t sell. There is no talk to be stirred, rabble to be roused, or money to be made, by putting a pragmatic head on things and thinking maybe we’ll come out the other side of this alright.
For better or for worse, our owner is here to stay – he is pragmatic, and won’t be swayed, no matter how many times we point out his weight, regionality and the legitimacy of his birth. Alan Pardew, as a result, is likely to remain our manager. So really, we have two choices – get behind him, or carry on circulating the whirlwind of discontent and general bad feeling around the club. Take Stoke at the weekend – if we had taken the lead and subsequently the three points – what conversations would we be having now? The manager that was decried for not changing things up did exactly that – and being fair – is he not due some credit for it? He went to 3-5-2, changed things about to try and make a difference. Paul Dummett (a local lad who Pardew has given the chance of an extended run in the team – but it’s not convenient to remember that, is it?) and Vurnon Anita looked lively down the flanks – we had a width and dynamism that we’ve not seen too much of recently, and we were getting balls into the box. Pardew’s giving a run too to Dan Gosling, who has looked lively and enthusiastic, and I think should be given our patience.
Plenty of positives – but they’ve all been lost in the maelstrom. We’re being told things at Newcastle are coming to a head – and maybe they need to, but not in the way we’re being fed our opinions. Maybe it’s time that we donned our tin helmets and dug in around our players and our manager, and even our owner. A house divided against itself cannot stand, and our house is being ripped apart. Some might say from within, but I say maybe it’s from the outside, and the tendrils of influence that modern press and social media giants are generating.
It’s time to draw a line in the sand, and pick a side to stand on. The club, the manager, the players are all going to be on one side of it, and it’s time for the rest of us to choose if we’re with them or against them. In the same way we have been on away days, being battered at Old Trafford, or Anfield, or a host of other grounds over the years, and stood and sang on in defiance to the bewilderment of the home crowds, now is the time to do the same on a bigger scale.
I say dig in around the club and ride out the storm. Form is temporary, the class of our club should be permanent. This isn’t a slow draining of the lifeblood of our club by the Ashley regime, this is a conscious choice to get on board and try and make things work. Let’s get back behind the lads, behind the manager, and at least if we keep losing, we can say we played our part well, and can hold our heads up.
Like anyone whose confidence is low – you build them back up with encouragement and praise, not by screaming at them and pouncing on any mistake. If the local press and others at loggerheads with the regime want to come back over, we’ll welcome them with open arms, but our first and only loyalty should be to the club, and if they are on the other side, so be it. They will always be welcomed back into the fold if they choose to take the positive line.
Let’s be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
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