Many thanks to “ToonBano” from the Toon blog www.toonbano.com for his fourth guest blog here – wt.
As we managed to fall over the line to a 1-0 ‘win’ over QPR its got to be said that was one of the worst games of football I have ever seen in my whole life. Which was caused by mainly two things a) QPR being one of the worst teams that have ever shown up at St James’ Park and b) Our defensive starting line up. Those two miserable things cancelled each other out into an insufferable bore fest that would kill anyone’s Christmas spirit no matter how jolly they were feeling prior to kick off.
But this kind of performance from us on our own patch against a completely inferior side is no surprise whatsoever to all of us, or it shouldn’t be. It’s a typical Alan Pardew performance which we have come to expect in his 2 years here as manager. We didn’t exactly ‘win’ that game on Saturday afternoon but just managed to get the ball into their net on that bare minimal occasion, as the opposition had no chance of doing the same to us. QPR were hopeless. We were not much better.
If it became public that Pardews tactics is to strangle a game to death for 70 mins then try and steal it with his subs, then I would believe it. The thought of hammering a far inferior team for 90 mins making the afternoon not just more entertaining but a whole lot easier for us, doesn’t even enter his brain. We could/should have won that game by 2 or 3 goals without a problem if only Pardew had the ambition to do so. His starting line up sums him up.
Why on God’s green earth Pardew picked that starting line up against a team who have only won one game all season is one of the most baffling, negative, inexplicable team sheets I have ever seen. Having James Perch AND Cheick Tiote in the same starting line up alongside Anita in the middle of the park was totally unnecessary. Was Alan Pardew THAT scared of Adel Taarabt? A player who is as consistent as the sun staying out in summer. If Taarabt played well last week, chances are he won’t be as good this week. That’s what players like him are like. Sure enough he was abysmal. He offered barely no threat to our defence, yet Tiote and Perch played for 70 mins until Cheick was withdrawn. Ridiculous.
But that arguably wasn’t the most inexcusable factors of our starting line up. No, that honour goes to the decision to not just play a defender and holding midfielder together but to also play Jonas Gutierrez in the left wing position. Sweet Jesus Christ! The thought of this line up for a home game against Queens Park Strangers makes me want to burst out laughing in terrified bemusement. But Pardew actually did it! We had Jonas, Anita, Tiote and Perch as part of a front 6 with Cisse stuck out on the right wing. This is literally mind boggling considering the importance of a win and the quality of the opposition.
Playing the most defensive ‘wide player’ we have arguably had in our 120 year history in the advanced left wing position of a 4-3-3 is probably the LAST thing I would choose given the options available. I kid you not I would rather we had played Sylvain Marveaux, Gab Obertan, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Sammy Ameobi, Davide Santon, Shane Ferguson or Shola Ameobi in that position before Jonas Gutierrez and I am not just saying that for dramatic effect. Yet low and behold ‘Mr 8 year contract in the back pocket’ went and did it! Incredible. The fact the game was still 0-0 with no shots on target by the time he was dragged off was of no surprise to me or any of us whatsoever. What a waste of attacking space.
As soon as Sylvain Marveaux came on the pitch after 75 minutes of nothingness, he got himself an assist within 3 minutes. That’s THREE minutes. Just imagine what he could have done with 90 minutes to work with. He almost got himself a goal just 2 minutes after that. He literally did more in 5 minutes than Jonas Gutierrez managed to achieve in an hour. Now I am not saying Jonas is a terrible player, I am saying if you’re going to insist on playing him, then do it in a position that suits his game. Because he certainly isn’t a flying winger. He hasn’t been one of those since about the year 2009. Wake the hell up Pardew.
In fact, why am I even wasting my time by suggesting Pards to wake up? It’s never going to happen. This is a man who thinks we have actually been playing well recently. He has been quoted several times using the words ‘in form’ to describe our recent games. He is a madman. He must be spending his Christmas at the head of a table wearing a mad hat sipping tea with a white rabbit and some shrunken down blonde girl next to a vanishing cat that won’t stop grinning. Pardew is on another planet to the rest of us. When he believes things like ‘we have been playing well recently’ is when he totally unintentionally exposes his standards as a manager. Only an average manager who is used to fighting relegation every season would think that what we have been churning out over the past few games is of a decent standard.
The loss at Stoke wasn’t a good performance, we lost. We lost to two soft avoidable goals and created next to nothing in chances. Our performance at Fulham wasn’t good, we lost. We lost to two soft avoidable goals and created next to nothing in chances. Our performance against Man City was better, but we lost. We lost to three soft avoidable goals (whilst being ripped apart consistently) and created next to nothing in chances. It’s a recurring theme. If that theme is the definition of ‘playing well’ and ‘being in form’ with the quality of the our squad available than your either lying or your topping yourself up at your mental tea party with Alice and the twins. Sheer madness.
What Pardew does is frighteningly remind me of not just one but three of our managers in recent times. In a very subtle, but the more you think about it, very obvious way. When I think of Graeme Souness I think of two things a) Not being able to get the best out of the best set of players he has ever worked with and b) using injuries as the excuse. Alan Pardew is doing both these things perfectly this season. He has never, and never will again, have a squad of players this talented at his disposal yet he is proving to be completely incapable of getting the best out of them. The fact that I don’t believe he even knows his best team is at this stage of the season says it all.
The injury excuse Souness tried to hide behind has been churned out more times than I care to remember by AP and it doesn’t wash. We have only ever had 2 or 3 injuries to players that actually matter at any given stage this season with good enough replacements to join the other 8 or 9 first teamers to keep our league campaign on track. I wouldn’t expect us to be flying high in the top 4 but languishing near the drop zone is totally unacceptable. Are you telling me Norwich, Aston Villa, Swansea, Stoke and Fulham have a better team than us, never mind squad?
All teams have injuries. Did Michael Laudrup moan about missing first team defenders Neil Taylor and Chico Flores when they played us this season? Did he hell. He turned up with replacements and took all three points home, thanks very much. But when Steven Taylor misses a month or two Pardew will tell the world at how unfortunate he is. The man is pathetic. He should feel privileged to even have the likes of Ben Arfa and Cabaye to have missing. They are two of the best players he will ever work with. The fact he can then replace those players with the quality of Anita and Marveaux should fill him with gratitude. But no. Why would he do that? He was only working with League One players in his last job – That he got sacked from.
Another ex-manager he reminds me of is Glenn Roeder. In the fact that he has no CV to speak of with any quality whatsoever but finds himself still the manager of Newcastle Utd and living off one flash in the pan season. The following season of which is then royally cocked up as their true managerial pedigree gets exposed. The fact both managers were ex-bosses at West Ham and did their best at relegating that club is another glaring similarity. Pardew even failed at that, at least Glenn saw that relegation through (sly chuckle). West Ham relieved themselves of inevitable doom under AP and got Alan Curbishley to save them. Pardew then went to Charlton to relegate them instead. Well he had to take someone down didn’t he, why let a sacking stop him?
Flash Harry seasons prove nothing. Even George Burley finished 5th, qualifying for Europe, with Ipswich Town once and he had Titus Bramble in defence. George who you say? Exactly. Good old George even won manager of the year for that seasons achievement. However he then relegated Ipswich the following season and got sacked shortly after…that’s a frightening fact isn’t it? So it can happen? Were Ipswich fans protesting ‘well he took us to 5th last year’ when they were slipping out of the Premier League? If you’re one of our fans you often churn this excuse out to defend Pardew. then just have a little think about George ‘Manager Of The Year 2001 for finishing 5th in the league then got relegated the next season’ Burley the next time you do.
The third and final ‘wise man’ he blatantly reminds me of, as Saturday afternoon well and truly nailed it, is The Fat One. Mr. Arrogance himself, Sam Allardyce. This fat piece of lard served up some of the most dire football any of us have ever seen as NUFC fans. Alan Pardew is matching him stride for stride. I almost lost the will to live during the QPR game. I swear I’m sure my heart stopped beating and had to kick start itself. What a complete waste of an hour and a half none of us can get back. Fat Sam revelled in the ‘percentage’ game voiding any ambition of quality of any kind and we all know that NUFC are top of the ‘long ball’ table this year. Can anyone seriously tell me that what Pardew has offered this season is any better than Fat Sam?
This 8 year contract was madness when it was given to AP a few months ago, I said as much here, now after no doubt we will have ended the year with just 3 wins since he signed it (don’t fool yourself into thinking we will get anything but a harsh lesson at Old Trafford and The Emirates) it looked like the owner and his sidekick locked us all onto a speeding bus with a drunken insane driver who is intent on doing what ever he likes without any consequence or fear that he can be stopped and they threw away the key. There is talk that if Pardew were to be sacked than the pay out would only be for a years worth of wages. Let’s bloody hope those reports are true.
Any of the ‘three ghosts of Christmas’ managers I have spoke of were rightfully sacked for dragging this club into depths it should never have been in. So why is Pardew immune from this kind of treatment? What has he done to void himself of any pressure whatsoever? Because we finished 5th last season? Well so what. Are we going to finish 5th this year? No of course not. Will we finish in the top half? Probably not going on the first half of this season. We’re in a relegation battle that nobody can deny. What nobody else can deny is that Souness, Roeder and Allardyce were rightfully sacked and the idea of stability only works with the right manager. Can you imagine suffering 8 years with any of these ‘wise men’?
We are still 2 points worse off than at the same stage in the relegation season. That’s how dire AP’s team has been. The fact we finished 5th last year makes this season’s diabolical performances even worse. It is not a worthy defence. All that fact does is show how good our players are and what they are capable of. We have yet to see anything like our potential this season. We are heading into the new year with no quality performances to speak of whatsoever. That’s an unbelievable achievement considering the quality of our playing staff.
Under harsh circumstances Alan Pardew would have been sacked with the form of losing 6 out of 7 games.
Under normal circumstances Alan Pardew would have been lamented by fans and critics alike for the standard of performances all season.
Under generous circumstances Alan Pardew would be under pressure to turn the results and performances around with polite talk he could lose his job.
Under the circumstances we seem to find ourselves in, Alan Pardew not only hasn’t been sacked, he is void of any mass of criticism from fans and critics alike and he is not under any real pressure to turn things around as his job is not under threat whatsoever. Will any of the above circumstances come about if we lose at Man Utd and Arsenal bringing our form to 8 defeats in 10 games? Probably not. It’s like a twilight zone we’re living in.
I don’t know how exactly we have found ourselves in these circumstances of having a manager who is clearly not good enough for the job, receiving no real criticism or under threat at losing his job by taking a top 6 European team into a relegation battle, but it probably has something to do with where Mike Ashley took us prior to AP’s unexpected arrival two years ago. Nothing can possibly be as bad when Joe Kinnear dumped us into the Championship, so this season seems to be accepted by many and merely tolerated by the rest with the outraged very much in the minority.
In an ideal world Alan Pardew would be thanked for last season before being relieved of his duties and then a European class manager would take over to work with our European class players and be given a healthy budget to create a European class squad. Unfortunately we aren’t in that world. We are still in the recovery world of total Armageddon that came in May 2009 at Villa Park.
The best we can hope for is for Alan Pardew to learn from his mistakes and turn around this season with a fresh new outlook of optimism in the year 2013 and hopefully with some new quality players. Hopefully there will be a Geordie Christmas Carol and he can be visited by the 3 ghost ex-managers I spoke of on Christmas Eve to snap him out of his ways.
You boy… what day is this?!
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