At last! The final part of my transcription of Alan Pardew’s long and winding interview for BBC Radio Newcastle’s ‘Total Sport’ programme.
In this final episode, Mr Pardew tackles the question of players he considers to be lesser lights of the squad and what’s to be done with them, gives us his thoughts about the number nine shirt, how next season will be one of “transition” for the club and how it’s great to come in and put fan’s fears “to bed”, something which Mr Pardew is quite adept at if reports of his alleged shenanigans at his previous club are to be believed.
Total Sport: “A few people are asking on text as well about various other players, mainly strikers about what the sitution is with them and will they be alowed to leave the club. For example Alan in Shildon said what’s the situation with Nile Ranger? Also, Leon Best has been mentioned on text. John in Berwick’s even asking about Xisco, who I presume will be expected back at pre season training as well”.
Alan Pardew: “Well I think it’s unfair to talk about those players when I haven’t actually got them in front of me and spoken to them this new season. One or two of them will be having conversations with me that I need to have with them privately before I go public. But, you know, we have got a strong squad at the club and there are players on the fringe of that squad who will have to leave this football club because they’re not going to get in the first team. You know, I’ll be having conversations in the next two weeks with players to make it clear to them that they can stay and be a squad player or if they want first team football they’re going to have to look elsewhere.”
Total Sport: “On the strikers, do you envisage there being a number nine this season? I know that might be an unfair question because you don’t know necessarily who’s coming through the door but are you the kind of manager who’s inclined to give the player the number nine shirt regardless? Or would you hang fire and think that number nine shirt needs to go to someone who’s worthy of it so to speak?”
Alan Pardew: “I think the last part of that question is important. I think if you’re a Newcastle fan you’ll be wanting to look at that number 9 and hang your hat on him a little bit.”
Total Sport: “I think you’ve said in the past it’s a heavy shirt to wear, to use your analogy” (that isn’t really an ‘analogy’ incidentally)”
Alan Pardew: “It is, I think the only thing I would say about that shirt is are we going get that strong, bustly, aggressive type striker that Alan Shearer was and Andy Carroll was, and I’m not doubting their technical abilty of course but that sort of character who went with that shirt. I just wonder if we’re going to crack that type of player. I think it will be a different type of player but I will give it to somebody, and I’ll give it to somebody I think can carry it with the dignity and the technical power to deliver in that shirt. You know it’s a tough shirt to wear.”
Total Sport: “Alan, I know you have to leave us now pretty much so thanks for the time they’ve given us this evening. Just give us your thoughts on, general thoughts I suppose on your hopes and real goals for this forthcoming season.”
Alan Pardew: “Well I think where I sit, where I knew I was going to sit at the start of this year would be a transition period for the squad. When it was clear that Kevin’s contract was a problem, it was always going to be a situation where we need to bed players in, and we’re bedding alot of foreign players in. So I think we’re going to have to start fast, and hopefully we will find our feet quickly, and I’m sure in the second part of the season were going to be alot stronger. I expect us to build on last year and hopefully control games more, and that way, hopefully, hopefully get ourselves in a position where we can take on the top teams and not just beat them, but desarve to beat them. You know, I can think of one or two times last year where we was, we won against a couple of the top teams but by a thread really and a bit of good fortune, which you need in football. But I’m hoping that we can really get a reputation in the Premier League where we’re a real tough nut, a real proper side, that we’re challenging for the Cups and in and around that top ten, and then next year really push on from there, and keep the players through the Summer that we want to keep.”
Total Sport: “You’ve changed the makeup of the side quite considerably haven’t you? I keep looking at the squad and keep thinking how it could work, and if it did work these could be, potentially, exciting times. There’s an awful lot of emphasis on seemingly, I used the word earlier, flair, and flair we haven’t seen at Newcastle for a couple of years, two or three years. As you said, they got themselves out of the Championship. Last season we talked about games where they were in it to win it, but they weren’t really creating anything, they weren’t getting fans on the edge of their seats. The players in this squad now have the potential to do that.”
Alan Pardew: “I think that if you just rewind your mind to the Blackburn – Aston Villa period when we was just near around that top ten, and we did really well at Blackburn but just lacked that creative flair and we was in the game for so long, so much without actually threatening the goal, and that worried me those two games in particular. I think we’ve got more creative flair, I think we’ve got more pace, and I think I’m going to add to that, hopefully, in the next signing or two. I think if we can be strong enough defensively, and the back four hasn’t changed so far, and hopefully it doesn’t, then, if we’re strong enough defensively to cope with the flair players in, I think we’re going to be exciting to watch. If we’re not going to win a trophy, and I certainly hope we can, then we’re exciting, and I think if you’re a Newcastle fan, that must be good news. Let’s just hope we put on the playing surface the general excitement we feel as a staff, a squad at the moment with the new players.”
Total Sport: “Alan, thanks very much for coming in this evening. I know Lots of people wanted to get on air and talk to you, didn’t have a chance. Hopefully, one day soon, you may have a chance to come back and join us in the studio once more.”
Alan Pardew: “No! I love coming in and it’s great to put a few fears to bed because you know what it’s like, it gets whipped up into this and that and things get cloudy. I’ve said all along, since I’ve come here as manager that comminication with the fans and being honest is a big part of what I’m about. I’ve done that at all my clubs and the information’s important and hopefully they back us to the hilt like they did last year. There was some fantastic games and atmospheres, you know, that I’ll remember forever and just long may it continue!
Total Sport: “Thankyou Alan Pardew the Newcastle manager.”
And that was that!