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2014-2015 Season Review From The Horse’s Perspective

6 years ago
  • We start the season in dreadful fashion and collect four solitary points from seven games.
  • My son is born and we win five in a row (plus a cup match) – happy days.
  • We gain another seven points before Pardew leaves and we decide to give the job to Carver, despite an alleged 80 CVs in the post.
  • JC manages to spout the same drivel as Pardew, just not quite as eloquently, which in turn makes him look foolish. You know the content so I won’t bore you with the details.
  • He takes us on a ten game run gaining one poxy point, jeopardising our Premier League status, while potentially destroying my relationship with my now seven month old son who could easily have been targeted with the blame. What a turnaround!!
  • We put in a heroic (?) performance (finally), against a team with not much to play for it has to be said, and ensure our own survival on the last day. Oh, and Mike Ashley finds his voice and admits he’s been a bit of a plonker with his attitude towards running a football club.
  • This continuing into next season does not bode well.

So Mike Ashley can speak!

However, the one bit of his speech that does worry me (other than being very sceptical about the other moments his lips were moving) is what he said about choosing a new manager.

Pardew left when many people wanted him gone anyway so it was a gift wrapped chance to get somebody decent in and give the club a lift.  What an ideal opportunity we were presented with to change for the better.  But before you can blink, Carver is in the hot seat and touting himself for the full-time position with seemingly Lee Charnley happy with this?

This is the same Lee Charnley (and football board, whoever they are) that Mike is saying will pick the new boss.

What on earth this man’s credentials are to make such a huge decision I’ll never know?  I can’t believe Mike Ashley doesn’t have an opinion on who is going to be the figurehead of his club.  Although I couldn’t believe many of the other decisions he’s made during his time, so maybe it is believable.

Needless to say I’m cowering behind the settee worrying who I’m going to see rolled out in front of the media.  An alleged list of 80 candidates whittled down to a bloke who was coaching one of the poorest performing teams in the league to become a caretaker.  I’d love to know who the other 79 were, although I do know my nephew is keen to get into football management despite having no experience at all.  Maybe his CV was in the pile.

To quote Ian Ladyman in the Daily Mail this weekend,

“…The fact his (Carver) team survived their relegation fight had absolutely nothing to do with him.  The fact they were in it in the first place, on the other hand…”

At the time of writing the season has been over for a week and we are no nearer to appointing someone.  If we really did have a plan it would surely be put into action by now, wouldn’t it?  If I’m being objectively fair, maybe we have someone lined up but their contract hasn’t expired yet.  Maybe I’m straw clutching.  Will we go through another 20 rejections before we end up in a Souness position?

Carver stating he will help pick players when we’re told players are ‘give’” to a manager, sorry, head coach to mould into the team, just stinks of more inconsistency.  Are players really going to come when they don’t even know who their leader will be?

The 2015-2016 season starts in less than 10 weeks so surely we will appoint somebody soon as we need players and a plan of how to play that gets tried out pre-season, not some cobbled together last minute signings thrust randomly into a 4-3-2-1 formation for the first game.

Some (Souness for example) will tell you stability will reap its rewards.  So did giving Pardew an EIGHT YEAR contract give us stability, largely more of the same rubbish year on year, or in fact regression?

Some will say sacking a manager during the season to improve results is premature and you should give people a chance to pull things around.  Leicester stuck with Nigel Pearson and survived, so it can work, but ultimately 3 teams will go down and like this season some stick and some twist with varying results.

Hull stuck with Steve Bruce and look what that got them.  The Mackems continue to buck this theory too, although reality is it’s our fault they keep surviving.  In my opinion we are also stuck with a poor coaching set-up, so stability must be balanced against shorter contracts that give people an incentive to perform better to earn the next contract, while giving the club a route to get rid of them if they don’t cut it.

Sam Allardyce was quick to tell everyone he provides stability and an average mid-table finish, how exciting.  That’ll be why Real Madrid (among other top clubs) haven’t yet offered him a job and why he was quickly sussed at Newcastle, because they just want winners not near death experiences!!

For me, Harry Rednapp jumped ship and as a result, as far as I can tell, has not had one finger of blame pointed in his direction for what is going on at QPR.  Funny that.

Who do I think should be the next manager?  Well, for one I don’t know who there is out there as my name isn’t Lee Charnley.  I have a full-time job doing something completely different and a family to entertain in between, so I don’t have my finger on that particular pulse.  I also don’t have a clue who would agree to come to Newcastle under its current guise.  What I would hope is that we would have a group of football knowledgeable people at the club looking at all the options, which we should have been doing since the day Pardew left.

Unfortunately, I think we all know that is not the case.  Probably why our club came up with the gr-eight idea of these ridiculously long contracts which don’t work for the reason previously stated.  It just doesn’t fit the football model.  The 12 month rolling contract model seems better to keep people on their toes in some respects and as we know it’s a bit of a merry-go-round on the managerial circuit anyway.

So how long before we know who the next hero or patsy is going to be?  We currently seem no nearer to knowing and that has to be a worry.  It feels like we will stumble into the new season under prepared yet again playing catch up with the rest.

Finally, some observations from our final game.

  1. The atmosphere was back to its best. It’s just a damn shame that it takes such a game to generate the cauldron of noise that’s been missing for years now.  Instead I’ve had to endure the apathy around me but also listen to others more intent on singing abusive songs about Mackems in bother with the law, than getting behind our own.  Any newcomers to St James Park must be wondering what all the fuss is about our legendary atmosphere and I wouldn’t blame them either.  I’m more embarrassed to be associated with the lack of noise these days than when we used to be proud of backing our team.  Objectively though, what has there been to get excited about?  By the way, get rid of those stupid (under employed) flags they wave around when we score too, as before we know it they’ll have some god awful piped music after goals as well.
  1. Vurnon Anita was outstanding, but I’m worried it was a one off. Is that a sign of things to come?  Did the opposition make him look good?  Will it mean we’ll stick with him?  Is he just another squad player?  Will that one game suddenly make rational fans doubt themselves as to whether he should be near the team?  One to watch I think.
  1. I’ve been a huge critic of Jonas before and incidentally the reason I found myself first writing to The Mag. Only because I felt he could be so much better and I reckon Keegan would have made him a superstar but unfortunately he’s had lesser folk guiding him.  If it hadn’t of been for having such a threadbare squad he would have been nowhere near the team.  We need to improve on what we’ve got rather than settle for some soppy sentimental reason to hold on to someone.  It may sound harsh but that’s the tough decisions that go with running a successful club.  However, Jonas has been magnificent since his return and his performance against West Ham was out of this world.  I reckon his cancer treatment must have turned him into a real superhero.  As one of my mates said afterwards, that was a David Kelly moment and it was hard to disagree.  He won’t have to buy a drink whenever there’s a Geordie in the room.  Jonas, thank you for last Sunday, but for me you can bow out with your head held high as an honorary Geordie.
  1. Ryan Taylor was given a hero’s reception after returning from injury earlier in the season but ultimately he became shown up for what he is, an average player who can’t tackle but can occasionally pull a cracker out of the bag. That is no good for the Premier League and his performances gradually became worse and I was happy he was finally left out when it mattered.  Again, if we’d had a half decent squad he’d be nowhere near the bench never mind the starting eleven.  Harsh but fair?
  1. I could be here all day critiquing the squad. For ease I’d keep Perez, Colback, Cisse and Janmatt for definite.  Krul, Tiote, STaylor and Sissoko need to buck their ideas up.  Cabella, Haidara, Anita and Abeid need to convince me if given the opportunity.  Will Aarons and De Jong play more than a week a season?  That doesn’t leave us with much does it!!
  1. After 30 minutes of ‘sitting in’ it was great to enjoy the post-match drink and see people laughing and smiling again. I think that was more to do with the performance rather than surviving relegation.  That game by no means makes up for the failure of the preceding 3 months.

Will ‘hope’ become part of our vocabulary again next season?  I guess that’s the 100 million dollar question.

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