Does Alan Pardew REALLY love Newcastle United?
“I believe in this team and the staff I have around me to turn it around. You have to understand that this is my business. I love this football club.”
Strong words from Mr Pardew. The Londoner came out in his pre-match press conference this week in defiant mood, likening his current situation to a ‘boxing ring’. Whilst he may carry some of the arrogance and swagger Muhammed Ali did in his pomp, there is one critical difference between the two – Ali had the ability to back up his words. He was the best in his sport. Alan Pardew is not.
The main issue though I have with these quotes from the former West Ham boss is the word ‘love’. Does he actually love the club? Or does he just enjoy being relevant in the footballing world as a manager? Because his actions on the field suggest otherwise.
I’m talking about the predictable set-pieces, the consistent selection of players in wrong positions, the unclear style of play and – most infuriating – the willingness to just say ‘yes’ to the main controller which is Mike Ashley.
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A respectable manager would never do such a thing. The most successful coaches in history – such as Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson – were their own men. They all had clear a philosophy of how the game should be played and the type of personnel they needed to achieve it. With Pardew, you feel like that’s all been lost over the years.
Maybe it’s been the constant setbacks and to be fair to the man, he’s had to deal with plenty of them during his topsy-turvy reign. However, I’m reluctant to offer him too much sympathy considering the inflated salary he’s undoubtedly receiving. The terminal decline of the club though carries an unerring correlation with the announcement of Pardew and his staff’s unprecedented eight year contracts.
The idea behind it of course was (allegedly) stability, something we haven’t had as a club for a long time, but it looks to have backfired. Massively. Pardew and his staff have lost focus and arguably interest in Newcastle United’s future.
How else can you defend using the same free-kick routine to Mike Williamson at the back-post for three years? Or our dire goalscoring record from corners? It begs the question as to what exactly the team does on the training field during the week.
The insistence on this 4-2-3-1 formation which, for some obscure reason, everyone beside Pardew can see has not worked throughout 2014, is baffling. Surely if you ‘loved’ something so dearly, you would try a different alternative or method and not repeat the same mistakes. Or even when the squad was crying out for at least another defender and a striker back in the summer, you would push your boss to make those final acquisitions.
For me, Pardew does not ‘love’ Newcastle United. He is more than happy to collect his wages while Ashley sucks the assets out of the club. Something has to change. Pardew’s rapport with the fans dissipated a long time ago and even if we were to win on Saturday, the pressure would only subside until the next defeat.
This brings us on to the next question – Pardew’s successor. It’s well documented that Ashley likes to surround himself with people who he trusts and Pardew is obviously one of them. In other words, he likes ‘yes’ men, someone who he can control. I fear for who may be brought in with Ashley still at the helm, more than likely a manager in the mould of an Iain Dowie, who would snap your hand off for another crack at management.
Nevertheless, I do think even a manager of such ilk would be able to get more out of the team in the short-term, but realistically how long would it be before we are back in this position?
Under the Ashley regime it feels as if we will forever be going round in this circle of mediocrity until there is major change in the hierarchical structure.
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