“People ask me why Newcastle have not appointed a new head coach, and I always say back: ‘Who would you appoint that is available now?’”
This isn’t the first time. For years, the former captain of Newcastle United has earned the right to publish his opinion on Newcastle United, due to his name and the perception that his background within the game has him equipped with informed reasoning and insight.
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A year ago, Bob by Moncur vented his frustration with fans who wanted Alan Pardew out. This did not come as a surprise as his involvement with the club in different capacities – most recently as ‘club ambassador’ on the Fans Forum (where he praised the improvement of our set-pieces against Aston Villa)– presupposes an alignment with the well documented drop in ambition and disregard for fan opinion.
What is now referred to as a disturbing and infectious “vocal minority” – in the words of Lee Charnley at Crystal Palace and in the Fans Forum minutes – is in reality the view that Newcastle United should aspire to more than annual third round suicides and mid-season capitulation by the time 40 points can be discerned on the horizon. In his defense of Alan Pardew, Moncur referred to the presumption that he “knows more than the average fan”. This time, he’s “seen John Carver in training”.
“There is no guarantee of success out there. In the short-term I think John is ideal for the club, and for me he has the team well organised and the players behind him.”
In a way, Moncur’s view epitomizes everything the club does (or does not) in its current semblance. As there is no guarantee for success, why bother going for it? We could be less organised, something that would have jeopardised the two wins from ten games that John Carver’s tenure has generated. Rather than inform us, Moncur’s rhetoric actively promotes conscious resignation to mediocrity, not insightful and realistic expectations.
After reading his latest column, I wondered to myself what purpose his editorial contribution serves. As Moncur’s opportunity to make himself heard in the paper stems from his playing career and involvement with Newcastle United, I would expect him to inform us on why John Carver has done a good job, rather than just state the fact.
He does. The training sessions are fantastic. If only we had known. Away from the actual football, in the financial statements, on the training pitch and according to the statistical charts we seem to be constantly doing great. “Forget about what it looks like to the naked eye”, as a certain someone put it.
There is also the notion that “big name managers haven’t worked out” with references to Ruud Gullit and Graeme Souness, rather than the thousands of names who are more qualified to manage the 19th richest club in the world than John Carver. The indication here being that the absence of a name associated with ability might be the way forward, rather than the contrary.
Moncur then makes use of his experience as he travels through time and points to his fascinating capture of Mick Tait from Oxford in order to legitimize Carver’s proposed role in Newcastle United’s transfer model. It concludes a flurry of Sports Direct approved and indoctrinated arguments, supportive of our pointless existence under the temporary messenger at St. James’ Park, even advocating and preparing us for a prolonging of his reign.
None of this is surprising. It is however an expression of the widening crack between club and fans, initiated and repeatedly worsened by the club. It’s the lack of transparency and trust that has turned the debate surrounding Newcastle United into an opinionated inferno; drained of hope, joy and sympathy.
In the midst of all this, ncjMedia have come in for criticism. In recent weeks it’s been encouraging to see how some of those who stand accused have responded to said criticism, especially Mark Douglas, who seems to care about what fans think of his and his paper’s reporting on the club and the club itself.
At a time when they are the last remaining channel of communication between club and the “vocal minority”, I find it important to value transparency. I don’t think recurring dives into Bob Moncur’s antiquated world does anything but cause further division. Allowing for Mr.Moncur to move from his role within the club – where he underlines the idea that cups are vile and dangerous – to continually promote an exhausted approach to football in the local paper, does not appear to unite a club that needs to be re-united.
You can follow the author on Twitter @noabachner