Welcome to the fifth part of my transcription of Alan Pardew’s long and very revealing interview for BBC Radio Newcastle’s ‘Total Sport’.
In this one, Pardew spills the beans about Newcastle United’s alleged pursuit of Mevlüt Erdinç, and whether he or any other new strikers might be joining joining the club before the end of the transfer window. He also spouts on the new signings so far and how he thinks they will adapt to the Premiership, the “huge fees” paid for them and how he needs to ‘mark the cards’ of the fans on Summer spending.
Total Sport: “Is Mevlüt Erdinç someone that you’re pursuing?”
Alan Pardew: “Well, it’s very difficult to comment on players when no agreement has been reached and he’s one of those players where we have no agreement so I don’t really want to comment too much.
“I was listening earlier when you was talking about the money being spent and I just want to sort of make something clear. When you sign someone like Demba Ba and someone like Marveaux there’s huge fees involved in that, it isn’t just tranfer fees. This is unfortunately how the Premier League works and alot of money in those deals doesn’t come back through the system. Ideally, in the old days we would sign someone from the Championship and it would go back into the English game but this money’s going out through agents and stuff like that. But we spent a fair amount this Summer on those three players in particular, more perhaps than the fans realise and I need to mark their card on that because if you’re going to start adding up the money and thinking ‘Oh we ain’t spent that £35 million’ you’re going to be way off the figures, you really are. Mike promised to put all that money back in, I know what the figures are, I know what we spent on the training ground and everything will go back into the club. We’re trying to locate one or two development players that cost perhaps more than you think as well. Now, I want to say that because I think Mike and Derek’s backing has been very strong this Summer and I’m very pleased with it so far. The noises we’re making on perhaps the last signing, or perhaps the last two are still very very good and it bodes well.”
Total Sport: “Whether it’s Erdinç or not, will there be a striker coming you think before the start of the season?”
Alan Pardew: “Yeah, yeah.”
Total Sport: “And presumably before the start of the season you were talking about there because the transfer window doesn’t close until the end of August and sometimes we don’t see busimess happening until suddenly right at the end, but you think before the start of the season that that’s imperative to be up and running before the first game?”
Alan Pardew: “No, I don’t think before the first game. I’m not going to say that because the market is so delicate, you have to be very careful you don’t miss someone. We may have to play the first two games and then someone becomes available ’cause they’re out of the side that is much better than we could’ve got. We’ve got to be diligent and patient and as I say, we’re starting the season with five players. Kevin obviously has gone but we’ve got five new players and we’re in such a better position already, but we are poised, and I still think we can bring in maybe two more players, offensive players, and we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Total Sport: “And does the fact everybody knows you’ve got that Andy Carroll money affect you adversely because people are aware you’ve got it in the bank and will try to eke out as much of that from you as they can?”
Alan Pardew: “No, I don’t think that’s the situation. The market is such that the player’s value is dictated by his performances and his record. It’s nothing to do with whether the other club have massive funds. If you’re talking about the really top level, like Manchester City, when they go after a player then perhaps there’s a premium put on, but the likes of everybody else, and I include Manchester United in that, we all pay what the value if the player is, no more.
Total Sport listener ‘Richard': “My question is really just for yourself to give some reassurance to Newcastle fans that, I appreciate that a couple of lads we’ve signed, Marveaux, Cabaye, are relatively unknown and Newcastle have got a history of perhaps, the sort of Dalglish days, where we’d sign some foreign, unknown players and they came to the club, they weren’t suited to the style of play, turned out to be a relative waste of money. I just wanted some reassurances that the players we’ve brought so far, and the players you’re hoping to bring in are going to, y’know that we’ve done the due diligence on them and are uncovering more of the likes of Cheick Tiote who have been unknown players but who have actually been real star players in the team. So, yeah, if you could just provide some reassurances on the work that’s gone on behind the scenes to get theae players in.”
Alan Pardew: “Well I think that’s a very important point you made because I think there’s been alot of mistakes at this football club and I’m just going to go through about two or three of these players and the work that goes into it. Cabaye for example, Graham Carr (Chief Scout) watched ten times, we videoed every game and edited it down for me to watch. I went and personally watched him three times. He won the double as their kind of watercarrier / creative force, so I think that says enough about him. Demba Ba was at my old club, West Ham, and obviously I’ve got alot of staff there that are very loyal to me and I checked him out thoroughly. Although he has got an injury to his knee from a long time ago, he trained every day, played almost every game, but we’re still going to have to manage him so we’re aware of that and that’s factored in in the fact that we got him for the price that we got him, but he’s a great player and he’s going to do well for us. I could tell you something he said on the ‘phone but he swore so I can’t repeat it.”
Total Sport: “Can you paraphrase at all?”
Alan Pardew: “Well er, he’s going to give everything for Newcastle. He sort of used an old English saying when he said that. It made me laugh but going back to the old Kevin Nolan point, he’s a real leader, Demba Ba, seriously. When you speak to him, when you interview him, you’ll sense that. He wants to win, so that’s Demba Ba. Marveaux is somebody that Graham Carr has watched for two years. He was a Bosman that we knew was coming up to be a Bosman. We thought we’d lost him to Liverpool, but we managed to secure him. This is a boy who eighteen month ago was really pulling up some trees and because his contract was running out, there was a dispute at the club and he wasn’t playing etc etc and everybody doesn’t win in that situation. But he’s come in here and he wants to be a success so those three players I’m pretty confident about, and the players that we’re still looking to bring in hopefully will have the same history, and bring us success. But ultimately in signing players you are taking a gamble. You’re bringing them to a new culture, a new club, a new league, so you’ve just got to hope that Graham and his team and myself have got it right.”
Total Sport: “And to be fair, this time last year, you’re sitting thinkig who’s Cheick Tiote and who’s Hatem Ben Arfa? and you look what they achieved”
Alan Pardew: “Absolutely, and the thing is about Ben Arfa that’s buoyed me more than anything was a conversation with Gerard Houllier after the Villa game who asked me how he was doing, and said to me that he was a special special talent, one of the best players he’s worked with, and if it weren’t for injury and perhaps a little bit of growing up from Ben Arfa himself, he could still be a massive force in the game and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Total Sport: “It would be perhaps a little optimistic actually to expect everybody to adapt as quickly as Hatem Ben Arfa and Cheick Tiote seem because the French League is very different to the Premier League isn’t it?”
Alan Pardew: “It is and it isn’t. Top level French games, there no differennce between that and the Premier League, they’re Champion’s League teams. Lille’s going to be in the Champion’s League next year and playing against Man United they’ll give tham a good game I promise. But the style, the drive, the constant tempo of the Premier League is different to the French League. There are games in France where you can cruise a little bit if you’re a good side, you can’t do that in the Premier League. We know that and the big test for them won’t be Arsenal and Sunderland away, it’ll be Wigan at home, Wolves at home, there’ll be the games where you’ve got to be really at your very very best just to beat everybody in the Premier League.”
The next part will follow very shortly.