Newcastle United – Where did it all go so … right?!
It has been some time since I last wrote about Newcastle United. Many reasons contributed to that, including a change of job that resulted in a heavier workload.
Mostly though I was just plain sick of our seemingly never ending plight. An appalling lack of form coupled with poor results, and of being helplessly stuck in Mike Ashley’s unrelenting catch 22 vortex.
I wanted to forget all about our current predicament and go back to the safe warm glow of the spring of ’84, being a kid stood on the terraces watching in awe as our glorious promotion season gathered an irresistible momentum.
I watched YouTube clips of Peter Beardsley rather than Match of the Day, trying to salvage and rekindle my joy for the once beautiful game.
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However, the icing on the cake, or the placing of the tin lid on it though, for me was the sackpardew.com campaign.
It was part of their statement before the Hull match that brought about a personal sort of epiphany, that the movement’s organisers would remain anonymous to protect them from any potential abuse.
How ironic that struck me, coming from a campaign whose sole purpose was to give one man abuse.
I felt rather ashamed of myself, feeling I had contributed to the general stirrings by writing articles of derision stemming from my sense of anger at the inadequacies of our club.
I imagined what it must be like to be subjected to such public hostility and vilification, especially stood alone on the touchline, the crowd baying for your blood whilst the world’s media examined your slightest twitch.
The guy took a hammering and I found it sickening to see him look ‘defeated’ as one pundit said. He is a human being at the end of the day and I felt uncomfortable with my participation in it.
Sackpardew.com fell short of the mark as it should have been aimed at Ashley. Pardew merely carries the can for most of his deeds.
It felt a bit like having a grievance with Nazis Germany’s Third Reich but taking it out on Rommel instead of Hitler.
To kill the beast you must cut off its head, not its right arm
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t become a Pardew convert overnight but credit should be given when it is due. He obviously hasn’t lost the dressing room as had been implied and we’ve had a remarkable string of results.
It’s hard to put your finger on what has actually changed and how come things have turned around so drastically.
Whatever it was it seems the blue touch paper was set alight by Cisse’s rediscovery of his eye for goal in that Hull match.
Maybe the sackpardew.com campaign brought about unification but one entirely different from its aims?
Seeing though it’s the international break and we have a free weekend, my mind seemed to be taking stock and mulling it over.
Many things have been reiterated over this season and we now must surely forever give up the notion that Ashley will sack Pardew, or indeed that he will ever invest properly in the squad.
This results that when we are on a good run we’re merely flying by the seat of our pants. Key injuries or departures and we are derailed.
Bizarrely enough though, this season has seen a reverse, as through injuries fringe players have come into the team and our form has actually improved.
A new ‘spine’ has been found through Dummett moving to a central defensive role, Abeid taking over from the missing in action Tiote and Perez proving to be a natural born killer, in the goal scoring sense.
Armstrong has done his bit when given a chance and could provide a young but lethal strike force with Perez. Sammy is finally showing what he is capable of and Aarons has been a gem, albeit an injured one now.
Unfortunately, this has given Ashley a great excuse as the January transfer window looms. We’re hearing the same old story spouted via the Chronicle; ‘Youngster’s form mean United unlikely to dip in to market for centre half/ striker etc.’
Likewise the eternal scenario has again emerged with Steven Taylor;
Return to form, like new signing, touted for England call up, then enviably injured again.
Even the much maligned Obertan has risen to the challenge but he too has fallen in battle.
Daryl Janmaat is beginning to show his class and let’s hope it will not be too long before Remy Cabella does likewise.
It is amazing what a bit of confidence can breed but do we have real cause for optimism or will it be as fleeting as a mayfly?
Will it be a season of two halves like the previous one?
A top 5 finish as some of the big guns continue to flounder?
Inconsistency is the one and only constant at Newcastle United.
But one thing will remain unchanged unfortunately and that is that while Ashley is still at the helm, Newcastle United will continue to wing it.
Whilst to the outside world Ashley is reaping the benefits of his loyalty to Pardew, this is only a fortuitous coincidence of his aversion of spending money on the club.
We seem destined to be forever buffeted by the winds of fate, with luck either good or bad determining our fortune other than any sort of a strategy.
But maybe now is not the time to look ahead too far. Now is the time to bask in the moment and actually enjoy our football again. It has been long overdue and deserved.
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