Alan Pardew – Not The Manager But Is He A Coach?
Tony Pulis has always seemed to me as one of the most unsuited managers to Newcastle United.
It conjures up images of cheap tracksuits, club shop baseball caps, and old man runs to the dressing room for half time rants. Tony is prickly in his dealing with the press, uncharismatic on the touchline and generally a dinosaur that plays a brand of football that Allardyce was sacked for. He’s just not our type of coach, or is he?
This frustration has fermented since January and the sale of Cabaye when we were in a great position in the league. In these early stages I could point the finger at our disinterested owner, and yet the incompetence that I have witnessed on the pitch since my return to the area (I was an exiled season ticket holder in America for 15 years) has now overwhelmed my fury with Ashley. It’s not that I don’t blame Ashley, I really do, it’s just Pardew has made it even worse!
If it’s true that Alan is not able to pick who he’d like the club to sign, then I feel for him. This is why I’ve switched from using the term ‘manager’ to the term ‘coach’. Alan Pardew is essentially the head coach of Newcastle United, and this comes to the root of my anger…….we look tactically inept on game days.
I reflect on the difference Tony Pulis made at Crystal Palace, what he did at Selhurst Park was little short of a miracle. Tony came in there and coached that team to what was success for Palace. I can’t really remember being overly critical of their style of football, yes they were probably more direct than those teams in the Champions League spots, however it was exciting and dynamic and more importantly he won games.
(To feature like Stephen, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])
The players knew their purpose and roles, they knew when X or Y happened they should do Z, and they did it. He made players like Jason Puncheon and Maroune Chamakh contribute in a big way; he designed a formation that was difficult to play against and effective in the final third.
In a Tony Pulis team, Jack Colback is drilled to know that when that ball drops to him in the box like it did on Saturday for Hull’s first goal, he’s to clear it into a channel to our forward to run down. Yes, we all loved the Keegan days of Ginola on our by-line nutmegging Neil Cox, but we weren’t bottom of the league at that point.
And this is the crux of my frustration; I see no coaching in Alan Pardew’s team. When I watch us from my perch in the Sir John Hall stand, I can’t place one thing during a game that I think, ‘wow they must have drilled that this week, that was deliberate and consistent’.
What are they doing in training? When I say this to people around me I often receive the response of ‘right, our set pieces are terrible’, which they always are, but our training goes way past that. Decide who is going to set our tempo, and if that’s Cabella then get him the ball as quickly as possible, if we want a patient build up then own that and fill the spaces with passing options.
Don’t just keep the ball until we run out of options and Williamson has to hoof it to the opposition centre-back. Cisse saved Pardew’s bacon on Saturday; it was a roll of the dice that worked, knowing Newcastle that could easily have ended up with him out until the spring with an aggravated injury.
I realise that I am sidestepping multiple issues, which can be addressed in due course. I still feel that Pardew is not the man who is going to pull us out of this hole. I purely use Pulis as an example of a coach who has recently got the best out of a poor team. After walking away from Crystal Palace for what looks like a frustration with a lack of control, even Tony Pulis would probably refuse us.
Alan Pardew loves to talk about how he enjoys making a difference during games, whether that is with an inspirational half-time team talk, a shrewd change of tactics, or a brilliant substitution. The recent statistic that stuck with me, was how Pardew has never won in the league after being down at half-time, that’s six points from a possible one hundred and twenty-six!
I love my club and didn’t feel comfortable focusing on Pardew on Saturday; I’d rather support my team.
The atmosphere has steadily improved at home this season; I was shocked at the silence in our last six games of the season but we’ve endured too much.
Pardew once again uttered those fateful words, “judge us after ten games.”
At the half way point Alan, be careful what you wish for,we’ll see if you can dodge the firing squad and make it through the next five.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]