Well here we are safe and sound on the back of what could only be described as a bloody awful season. The fact that we were safe with one game to spare – through a squeaky backside win at already relegated QPR along with Wigan’s deficiencies saved us the ignominy of a second relegation in 5 years under Michael Ashley.
We lost every other game we played this season – exactly 50% with a staggering NINETEEN defeats.
The previous relegation season yielded 18 defeats – that puts it into perspective. In recent seasons, Blackpool and West Ham were relegated having also lost 19 games each. This is the kind of company we are keeping with this season’s record. Frightening, sickening – unforgiveable?
Should it be repeated, then we are in with one hell of a chance of doing an unwanted double under our voiceless owner.
We cannot go into the new season thinking that this one was a mere blip, and that should everyone stay fit it will be a charge back up the table. The knock in confidence will be massive, add to that the lack of fear teams will approach Newcastle with – everyone will fancy boosting their tally with a match against our rear-guard who on average will give the opposition 1.79 goals per game.
The pressure we put ourselves under through style of play and lack of cutting edge has really been the key this season. A reliance on playing players in unnatural positions, meaning the opposition are constantly on the front foot and coming back at Newcastle in wave after wave. We can’t retain the ball up top, we don’t play with natural width worrying opposition full backs, our creativity is almost nil. Aaarrgghhh! Deep breaths, rant over.
I do not bring HBA into the equation as I think he has the capability if fit of being one of the best in Europe. But because of the teams lack of ideas and flair he takes on far too much responsibility and has resembled myself back in the day in the school yard blindly taking on everybody in site and losing the ball in dangerous areas. But there are no jumpers for goalposts at SJP (at least not yet) and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
We need a radical rethink in how we can attack teams and surrender territory (if not possession) and keep their players worried about us – it just has not happened enough this year.
Scandalously we have failed to score in 11 PL first team outings (16 if you include cups). On top of that we have scored once in a League match 15 times. Only seven times did we score two, four times netting three and once netting four.
There is something wrong, the old analogy of not being able to “score in a brothel” comes to mind. Such is the impotency of Newcastle’s strike-force. Instead of orange at half time maybe a bit of Viagra might do the trick!
But another analogy enters the fray “Couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery”. Has Pardew really gone from hero to zero? I some eyes, he has already gone. In others eyes he never had it.
I went to see him do a talk in at the Fed Brewery last year and the guy was fantastic, his passion and presence could not be ignored. He carried himself superbly well and I truly believed we would be in safe hands under this guy. I totally subscribed into the fact that the players would buy into him. However I had been dubious on his appointment – I mean, seriously who wasn’t. The mistrust of our owner and Llambias was such that anyone brought in must be a patsy to the regime. Words such as “Stooge and Puppet” – being frequently used in conversation.
There was only one way he was going to get by that ill feeling towards his appointment and the antipathy towards the owner and that was to bring home the bacon of results. Can anyone deny that Pardew did that last season? Doubters will say the players did it in spite of Pardew, his fellow managers obviously did not think so when the voted his performance with his players the best in the country.
But here we land present day climbing up from the trenches, covered in clarts, having dodged a big bugger of a bullet with our name etched on it, then only at the last minute scribbled out.
Pardew now has it all to do again. If we are to believe what we read, we are status quo as regards Alan’s job. Can he get NUFC off to a good start next season? If he doesn’t then the heat will get too much and he will go. I am sure of it. People will then say that the club have wasted half a season seeing what if?
Whilst trying to enjoy a post match pint in the Old George yesterday, I stepped in the bar to see an irate guy bellowing and berating all those around for not standing up and saying how terrible Pardew is. Betting everyone that would listen, that under AP we will be guaranteed to be relegated next year. Then started a chant of “Oh we hate Pardew….we are the Pardew haters”. Not many joined, but the fact that they did spells it out loud and clear – he is onto a tanning unless we go off like a rocket.
To go off like a rocket, we need home wins, we need goals, we need clean sheets, we need additions to the first eleven and squad. That’s a lot of DIY required. Big Mike is going to have to dig deeper than ever before – will he do it?
As fans we could not do any more. I thought the atmosphere and attitude for a “dead rubber” affair was excellent and the lads were backed as always. We don’t want much, but what we want is rarely listened to.
I am not shouting for Pardew’s head (yet), nor am I happy just to sit blindly and hope for the best on the back of excuses. What we need is decisiveness, strong leadership and vision. Have we got any?
The very least we can say is that we finished above our very own noisy neighbours. But who the hell grabs any solace out of this? Top dogs my arse.
Until pre season, we can stew on our own misgivings and no doubt argue the toss relentlessly.
Over to you Newcastle United.