This staggering revelation would give Toon’s Silver Supremo the same kind of popularity as Kevin Keegan in the heyday of his “Entertainers” side, or Bobby Robson when Newcastle United were once again a top four side who were competing in the Champions League. Yet Pardew’s Newcastle United are currently 14th in the table and sliding downwards, with only one win in our last ten games.
So how can this be?
Let’s look at it another way. If you look at the image below displaying the results in the form of a bar chart, you may also observe that the story linked above could also have had the title “Over 50% of Newcastle United fans are less than content with Pardew Chronicle poll reveals.”
If you read the questions on the results and the questions asked in the original survey, you can also observe that they are different, and that the original questions were VERY heavily “loaded” to the extent where they completely devalue the poll as any kind of honest exercise in collecting the views of Newcastle United fans.
The question as displayed on the results is: “Are you happy with Alan Pardew?”
Yet the original question was “How happy are you with Alan Pardew?” which is significantly different if you examine it closely. Phrased this way it is a classic “loaded” question of the kind loved by salesmen, politicians and the like. It suggests, or even assumes that ALL the fans answering the questionnaire are happy with Pardew, but that it’s just a question of how happy they are. Yet it was consciously changed when the results were published to the considerably less loaded “Are you happy with Alan Pardew?” A seemingly conscious decision which suggests an attempt to manipulate the reader.
Once again, you can see the multiple choice alternatives displayed in the image, with the largest portion of respondents, over 40%, answering “Content but waiting for results to.” On the original, it was “Content but waiting for results to improve.”
There were thirteen questions in total in the Chronicle’s “Big Toon Survey”, but I won’t go into them all here, though they too were similarly loaded in a very clumsy fashion. Others included (with the loaded parts in bold):
10. Do you think the manager was given a fair amount to spend this summer after leading the club to fifth and winning the LMA and Premier League manager of the year awards.
11. Mike Ashley has pumped in more than £200 million of his own funds at St James’ Park. How happy are you with the current ownership or Newcastle United.
The loaded part of the final question there is something of a moot point also. Ashley paid a total of around £134 million for the club and that’s it. The rest, the club’s debts which he inherited from the previous owners, were consolidated Ocean Finance style into one easy, managable loan from Ashley himself. Hence, he has made a loan to himself to pay his own debts which must be paid back not by him but by the club, or anyone who might buy the club from Ashley in the future. It was a hugely advantageous arrangement for Ashley which will also be advantageous in terms of his tax situation too. But that’s another story…
Getting back to this one, this highly manipulative poll seems to be another step in the Chronicle (along with it’s sister paper, the Journal) abandoning all journalistic integrity and neutrality, instead becoming an PR organ for Mike Ashley and the Newcastle United board, and not for the first time either. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a local newspaper getting behind the local team, that’s how it should be. However, when it insults the intelligence of it’s readership with exercises such as this, it has gone too far.
Besides the one other factor which may have also corrupted the results somewhat. Tynesiders will know that the Chronicle also has a considerable readership in the shanty towns of Tyneside’s Third World neighbour, Wearside. Indeed, as well as having it’s own section for Newcastle United, it also has it’s own section for the club which represents the land that time forgot, Blunderland AFC. Of course, we all know what happens when our less developed neighbours see things like a Newcastle United poll!
Finally, I will repeat the question in a poll here in it’s less loaded form, ie “Are you happy with Alan Pardew?” along with the same alternatives offered on the Chronicle poll.
It will be interesting to see how the results turn out on this site.