Whenever I hear Alan Pardew reminiscing about his days at Newcastle United, I can’t help but think of Uncle Albert in Only Fools and Horses.
Some great comedy writing whenever Uncle Albert launched into one of his ‘During the war…’ tales.
Very entertaining but only a very tenuous link to reality.
So, Alan Pardew.
During the Euros he has a weekly column in The Mail and he often refers back to his days at Newcastle United to prove a point, this week we get a few mentions.
In declaring his intention to manage England (just not at the moment), he says that one of the things the next England boss needs is to be accepted straight away by everybody.
Pardew comparing this with his time at Newcastle, saying that because he wasn’t a popular choice for the NUFC supporters, every time there was a ‘wobble’, the fans overreacted. Of course we all know that in reality the Newcastle fans were incredibly patient, the real problem was that when these ‘wobbles’ came along, they tended to be still wobbling months later!
Alan Pardew also uses this opportunity to get some cheap digs in at Alan Shearer, after the Newcastle legend said he was willing to help England in any way. From being manager down to going in to help whoever was in charge of the national side.
Pardew points out that Shearer hasn’t the proper qualifications at the moment (unlike the qualified Pardew, Carver and JFK that we all enjoyed at St James Park…), which is fair enough. Though he can’t resist blaming Shearer for taking Newcastle down in 2010, even though any rational person knows it was Mike Ashley, Dennis Wise and Joe Kinnear to blame, along with a disgraceful group of players, not Alan Shearer’s eight game window at the very end of that disastrous season.
The best bit of this latest Alan Pardew piece though is when he is explaining how all managers have to have an ‘end game’.
Pardew talking about all teams needing a clearly defined strategy to try and win matches.
The match he chooses to typify his ‘end game’ at Newcastle United is the one against Manchester United in January 2012 when Newcastle won 3-0.
Pardew explaining his typical NUFC ‘end game’ – ‘We had a fast mixture of manoeuvring the ball quickly, dangerous set-plays, discipline and power.’
It sounds great, only problem is that a typical Newcastle performance under Alan Pardew, was more a cautious not trying to concede the first goal and that season of finishing fifth (2011/12) was almost entirely built on superb goals out of the blue from the likes of Ba, Cisse, Cabaye and Ben Arfa.
The best bit of his use of that 3-0 win over Manchester United though, is the fact that he was so desperate to try and get a result, Alan Pardew actually totally changed his tactics for that game.
Newcastle had won only one game in their last eight and as usual when things started to slide under Pardew, they were really sliding.
The previous match he’d come up with the bright idea of throwing Haris Vuckic up front with Demba Ba as he desperately tried to halt the run without a win, however that was another Pardew disaster and Liverpool easily beat United.
After the one win in eight, Alan Pardew had another roll of the dice and brought in Shola Ameobi from nowhere and threw him up front with Demba Ba, also pushing Ryan Taylor into midfield instead of Gabriel Obertan and Santon in at left-back.
Pardew simply resorting to long balls up to Shola in the hope something might happen and on this occasion it did, United opening with a brilliant Demba Ba finish after a Shola finish – a Yohan Cabaye free-kick and Phil Jones own goal completing the scoring.
A great win on the day but to claim this as a typical Newcastle performance under Pardew consisting of a ‘fast mixture of manoeuvring the ball quickly, dangerous set-plays, discipline and power’, take some nerve.
Move over Uncle Albert, here’s Uncle Alan…
Alan Pardew writing for The Mail:
‘I want to be the England manager. It is a job I aspire to and it is an ambition of mine….But not now.
I do hope the Football Association will want to talk and I have strong opinions on England, but I have been asked if I want the England job and I have given my answer…One day.
When I went to Newcastle we were starting on the wrong foot. I wasn’t the popular choice and whenever there was a wobble, the fans reverted to that position. We can’t afford that with England. We need an appointment that has the fans and players saying ‘yes’.
I would like the next manager to have an ‘end game’, a vision of what we aspire to be. What I mean by that is: how do we want to play?
When you watch Italy you see their ‘end game’, their strategy — defensive power and kill you on the break. When you watch France, they play a possession game.
My ‘end game’ at Newcastle was when we beat Manchester United 3-0 at home. We had a fast mixture of manoeuvring the ball quickly, dangerous set-plays, discipline and power. Now you can say, of course, there wasn’t enough of that, but that was what we were aiming for.
It makes my blood boil when pundits on TV, such as Alan Shearer, say ‘I’ll do it’. He was a top, top striker but he has no coaching qualifications and his only experience as a manager was very brief — when he took Newcastle down into the Championship.
What experience does he have of putting on a session, of building an identity, when every session needs to be about building, creating that identity and taking the players with you?’