Reading this blog daily, and like most Toon fans, not in the North East, I crave even more than usual my daily fix of NUFC news. What I am noticing is that Alan Pardew is not only disliked, but he is hated by the majority of fans and has some very unrealistic expectations on his shoulders given the current regime hes working under. Every comment Pardew seems to make is scrutinised and analysed by the fans who are coming to the conclusions that he ‘talks far to much’, hes ‘patronising’, that he is an ‘Ashley propaganda machine’ and have already written him off as one of the Southern shandy drinkers ruining the club!
I cant agree, and in my positive frame of mind, as far as I can see he has not done much wrong in his relatively short term here, he was not my first or even fifth choice, but he is here now and I have a theory on why the fans should try to not be so negative about him and maybe lower expectations this season as its the clubs hierarchy, not Pardew, that clearly have the lack of ambition to move NUFC to the next level.
Jog your mind back to the February 2006, the great Souness years, and the predictable news that big Freddy had reacted again to another disastrous managerial appointment, so as not to feel the direct wrath of the fans he axed the man immediately and appointed the then clubs youth academy director, Glenn Roeder, as caretaker manager. Roeder it was until the end of that season and he got what most mangers don’t get at nufc, which was a total lack of expectation as he was only the caretaker manager, Roeder couldn’t fail no matter what happened that season as he was in a win win situation. The fans couldn’t call him as he was only a temporary fix and was picking up the pieces of the last manager so not much was expected. Much to Shepherd’s delight, Roader became a success in the final games of the season thriving in the low expectation, less pressure environment. He managed to dig Shepherd out of a seriously big hole as big name managers and the like were becoming harder to attract to the club.
Now this is where my theory comes into play as the fans no longer afforded Roeder the caretakers grace, after he was made the permanent manager he was expected to improve the team and league position dramatically by certain fans. The pressure was now on with the honeymoon period long gone it didn’t take the brains of an Archbishop to predict what would happen and he left the club roughly a year later after serious fan pressure and some bad results had exposed him as not being worthy of managing NUFC apparently.
The same situation happened again to Hughton when we got relegated. With all the talk of Shearer and the fans chucking all sorts of names around in the end who stepped up to save the now chairman? but it was the likeable no frills Chris Hughton, and what did the fans do? they give him the same grace that Roeder got as the pressure was off and again not much was expected (of him). Without the normal expectations that come with managing at nufc and Hughton guided us back into the top flight.
The point of my little story is that expectations sometimes get the better of us and we are not always helpful in pushing the club forward. With lower more realistic expectations the manager and new players (Tiote last season was given time to settle without much pressure to perform immediately) seem to perform much better.
I have witnessed first hand the daily abuse from fans who like to shout at Pardew, about the Carroll money, and where the new striker is they were promised. Pardew didn’t sell Carroll and he only relayed what Ashley had told him was going to happen in the press conferences that followed about the mystical 35 million. The Nolan deal makes sense in the long run and he has handled the Barton / Enrique sagas in the correct way, if the fans can remove the Ashley factor from him he might turn out to be decent.
Yes he seems to like a press conference but he has to react to the fan’s / media’s questions and demands for news and updates (its not like its been a quiet summer). If he stayed silent or kept repeating himself like Hughton tended to do, he would be called for not communicating with the fans and some of what he says is taken out of context as people don’t see the whole interview the quotes came from. I believe he doesn’t have a say in the bigger picture at NUFC and has to react to Ashley and Llambias much in the same way we do with the ‘place ya bets and spin the wheel’ attitude they have towards clubs dealings.
We would all have taken the job in Pardew’s shoes if we are honest as you couldn’t pass up on the chance to manage one of the biggest clubs in England even with the restrictions imposed on him from the current regime. I would just like to see him given a chance! At least until the dust has settled on the first five to ten games and the transfer window has closed, we will then have some sort of an informed opinion of his management style and the players he has been able to bring in on a limited budget.
I may be wrong and it all goes ‘tits up’ like it normally does at NUFC, but I am really looking forward to the season and really want to be positive!
Lets fill the ground and sing your hearts out for the lads and cut Pardew a bit of slack as we seem to perform better with less self imposed pressure on managers who have an unreasonable chairman hiding behind them.