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Is Alan Pardew The New Kenny Dalglish?

6 years ago
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Having looked at the current squad that has been made available to go on the tour of New Zealand, I had a sudden flashback, circa 1997-98.

Looking back, the side was in need of a bit of cosmetics post-Kevin Keegan, under new manager Kenny Dalglish.

What we got was a major overhaul of style, player sales and recruitment that, arguably took five years to recover from.

However, I can’t help but draw similarities from the Scot’s time in charge to the current position Alan Pardew holds at Newcastle United. Kenny took over from a popular manager in Keegan and was welcomed through the doors at St James’ Park.

Pardew wasn’t afforded that sort of status from the start, but won fans over with a good second season, great displays and attacking football, Manager of the Year followed. Problems seemed to be overcome and Newcastle were in the Champions League (97) and the Europa League (2012).

After great nights against the cream of Europe, Kenny allowed league form to collapse and flirted with relegation, as Pardew did during the Europa league campaign. Relegation was very real on both occasions and both managers’ tactics were questioned, Kenny’s stock finally fell beyond repair in an inept defensive display at Wembley against Arsenal in the FA Cup. Pardew’s fall has been gradual over the course of two seasons, with numerous tactical and discipline indiscretions.

The media never really took to Kenny Dalglish and I can draw parallels with the current media ban in the Alan Pardew era, he doesn’t provide media friendly stuff to print, it’s normally garbage, blame, lies, or smoke and mirrors.

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Another coincidence between the times, is the squad. A decent set of players were available to both managers, but then sold or injured – Alan Shearer in 97 reads Cisse missing the start of the current season. Temuri Ketsbaia perfectly resembles Yoan Gouffran. Likewise David Batty is old school Cheick Tiote.

Is Steven Taylor 2014’s Steve Howey? A local lad with limited ability, picks up injuries and should be moved on? Fabricio Coloccini is akin to Phillipe Albert, popular and likeable, but sadly on the wane. Darren Peacock or Mike Williamson – you decide? Tim Krul is certainly Shay Given for the present day. How about Davide Santon – a defender played out of position, decent going forward, suspect defensively and Italian. Now you’re taking the Pistone.

In 1997 David Ginola was part of a Newcastle side tearing defences apart, but was sold because he wanted away and the manager couldn’t get the best out of him, nor could Dalglish persuade him to be a more defensive minded player. Ben Arfa maybe?

A promising youngster has been bought to do a seasoned striker’s job in the rough and tumble of the Premier League, for minimal cost. Ayoze Perez or Jon Dahl Tomasson? I don’t hold much hope of the club nurturing young Perez, more throwing him in at the deep end and hoping he bangs in goals. We all know what happened to Tomasson here and what he went on to do elsewhere.

In January this year Yohan Cabaye was sold for a sum, but never replaced, and the side never recovered last season. Shades of Les Ferdinand in 1997. The attack was never the same for years. When your attack is awful and your defence average at best, relegation can only be halted by poorer teams in the league. 1998 and 2014?

This summer the squad needs major surgery with Alan Pardew at the helm, or a few buys and a new manager. I can’t see how we have got this far without replacing him. Only at Newcastle. If the season was to start badly, would we be back to getting shot a few games in and writing the campaign off? A bit like 1998 when Kenny was shown the door.

Back then the board at St James’ needed to make a decision, to give Dalglish the full 1998/99 season or get rid in the summer. They opted to let him spend what money was available and hope the season started off well. It didn’t and the Scot was out after two games (A bit of a knee-jerk reaction after a home draw with Charlton and an away draw with Chelsea), but the seeds were sown in the summer, when the club made the wrong decision to keep an obviously ailing manager and hope for the best.

Fast forward over fifteen years and we have the same problems again with uncanny undertones. We have even signed a S********d player in reversal for Lee Clark in 1997. Lets hope we don’t sign a World Cup dud like Stephane Guivarch.

We seem to be stuck with Pardew because the owner’s happy and that’s that. I wouldn’t mind history repeating itself and the club going for an ex-player with a fabulous career behind him, who’s travelled the world, played everywhere and had a bit of experience managing in the Premier League. I’m sure Michael Laudrup would fare better than a certain Dutchman in 98.

I can’t think of a scenario that doesn’t end in Pardew going a few games into the season, or Newcastle having a brilliant campaign. Nice bit of history that . .

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