Friendlies, Twitter and Pardew: how does it all fare for next season?

Posted on August 1st, 2011 | 72 Comments |

How does the 2011 summer affect Newcastle United's coming season?
A little respect (just a little bit)
Newcastle United have had a trying summer both on and off the pitch but how does that bode for the season ahead?

It’s a fine old kettle of fish isn’t it? This pre-season, that is. We’ve had some poor results on the pitch and the various missives from people like Nolan, Barton and Enrique have done little to enhance things off the pitch.

First up, the friendlies we’ve had. I’m not convinced as to how much of a yardstick for the coming season such games really are, but let’s hope they’re not a particularly accurate one.

One school of thought says friendlies are all about experimentation and that players don’t really get out of third gear for them, but another school of thought says that’s nonsense and that when players are on the pitch they’ll play with all they’ve got for a win.

When my mate – who currently lives in Hong Kong – visits, we traditionally have a ‘friendly’ 4-way competition that involves darts, pool, table football and – bizarrely – tennis. Whereas we might start off with a friendly game of darts, I can tell you that by the time we’re huffing and puffing in the fifth set of a tennis match it’s anything but friendly!

Nevertheless, I do think football players do hold back a bit with friendlies and managers do indeed use them to experiment, so I don’t think summer friendlies are a particularly good yardstick for the season ahead. We may turn out to be completely useless next season or may be flying high but I don’t reckon there’s much clue as to which of those it will be based on our US tour and the match against Leeds. You might disagree with that assessment of course.

The off-pitch stuff is quite concerning though in my opinion. I believe in free speech but – like any employee who criticises their employer – those who do speak out should expect to be punished for doing so. We’ve already seen Enrique get a two-week fine for his tirade on Twitty and I’m surprised nothing similar has been handed out to Barton, although whether or not that would stop him is a matter of conjecture.

What worries me most though is that Barton and Enrique are, at least for now, Newcastle United players and I wonder what kind of respect their off-piste rambling shows for Alan Pardew and whether or not it makes life difficult for him in the future.

I’m a firm believer that respect is earned, unlike obedience, which can be demanded and enforced, either through laws or by putting someone’s head in a vice for example. So the worry for me is whether or not the actions of Enrique or Barton have any repercussions with the rest of the team. I don’t think it should come to fining a player or otherwise disciplining them; if the respect existed in the first place it wouldn’t have happened at all.

Of course, nothing’s perfect and there’s no accounting for people. Hell is other people, as Sartre said. Maybe this is merely the petulant reaction of a few disgruntled players and maybe managers far better than Alan Pardew would have not have been able to stop it. In fact that has been the case in the past – Barton isn’t the first Twitterer to fall foul of his manager.

Maybe the actions of two players (we can ignore Nolan as he’s left) is just ‘isolated’ rather than the tip of any particularly gruesome iceberg, but I guess all we can do is wait and see.

On that general note: have either the on-pitch or off-pitch happenings at Newcastle this summer changed your opinions of how we’ll fare next season?

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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72 Responses

  1. Preseason friendlies give little or no indication of how the season will pan out. It’s a time for the manager to do a bit of experimentation and to see how the new players slot in.

    Pardew has probably learned that Vuckic and Abeid are ready for the first team. Gosling is showing why Everton thought so highly of him. Cabaye, like Tiote before him, is showing the skills and commitment that enabled both to win their respective domestic leagues. Demba Ba could have more to his game than a straight forward target man. Ben Arfa could be spending more time on the treatment table than on the pitch. Marveaux could become a good left winger but will be in competition with Jonas. The defence needs Colo for his positional play and reading of the game. Saylor is a far better bet than Williamson, particularly in the opposition penalty box. Only Harper and Krull are in contention for keeper. There is no ready replacement for Jose. Barton is better in midfield than on the wing but there are already at least two players with as good if not better qualifications than he. We haven’t got a 20 goal a season forward and it’s looking increasingly unlikely that PSG will be providing one.

  2. I think the season will be a disaster.
    Especially if we lose Barton and Jose at the end of the window.
    This window has been like any other and the sheer greed and nerve of the board and their puppet is unbelievable.

    Partridge mustn’t know if he is coming or going as he jumps from pillar to post whilst spinning lie after lie that on reflection don’t add up even if you try and fudge the figures.

    This could of been a platform to really see some progression with some sensible investment and tying up the contracts that where most important long before now.

    It was mentioned that cracks are starting to appear I think they have been there a while and expect a dogged season once injuries and suspensions kick in.

  3. PSG boss Antoine Kombouare insists that Mevlut Erding is still part of his plans.
    The Turkish striker played 90 minutes against New York Red Bulls in the Emirates Cup at Arsenal and has been heavily linked with a move to Newcastle.
    Toon boss Alan Pardew is eager to bring in another striker before the start of the season.
    Kombouare said: “He’s playing in the team, he’s out there on the pitch, he’s a part of my team.”
    “Mevlut was in England only to play in the tournament,” Erding’s agent Pierre Frelot said.
    “He has not had discussions with Newcastle and he will not have discussions with Newcastle this weekend.”

    Dead Duck…was never alive to begin with in my opinion.

  4. I, for one, am getting pretty sick of Barton’s tw@ttering and I hope he is rewarded with the fine he was asking for. As one of the four old guard credited with rebuilding team morale after relegation, he must fully understand how important that is and he is now doing his best as an agitator to undermine it. He should be fined and kicked out pronto as that is the last thing we need at the present time.

  5. a kid a know has just told me that, psg have had no bids for erdinc.there fax machine is on,but no bids have been made by any club.

  6. We have the best chance that SAFC have had in years, of regaining their historical place as one of the best football teams and one of the best run football clubs in the world

    From a Sunderland message board today – and people say we are deluded!

  7. TROJAN 69 says:
    August 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    “it just gets better,30% price increase on disabled fans tickets.”

    Trojan, I was jsut reading that funnily enough. Ashley and Llambias really are contemptible bastards.

  8. I’ve been thinking, and just remembered when Ashley first took over, I remember reading in the financial part of ‘The Sun’, about how he ran his business’ and treated his workers (I know since then there has been a documentary).

    I’ll never be able to find what was wrote, but at the end of the article it said something like “Newcastle fans must hope that Mike Ashley doesn’t treat his players like his retail workers”.

    I ignored it and didn’t believe it at the time, because it was in ‘The Sun’, and he seemed OK, when he first arrived (the media were loving him and he was going to give big Sam a £50 million war chest if I remember rightly).

    All is not well is it, Pardew doesn’t exactly have a good record when keeping morale up does he? But what does it matter? If we sacked Pardew, we will only replace him with an equivalent or worse.

    Nothing would change. As Keegan said: “I think Ashley will sell one or two more players, then put the club up for sale.”

    I pray that come December, we are not at the foot of the table, with someone like David Pleat in charge (for 6 weeks interim)…:-)

  9. anyone read the article in the “the torygraph”?,they reckon ashley is looking to buy out blacks lock,stock and barrel.hopefully he may be looking to sell us,to raise more capital,heres hoping.

  10. Jimbob

    Did you also read about record profits and bonus payouts? There are obviously two sides to every story.

    One thing is for certain, discipline needs to be tightened. One rotten apple will spoil the barrel. Whoever is in charge of this club, they need to sort out what is potentially a disasterous situation, I’m fearing relegation unless something changes quickly. You have to admire the Man U model. When someone thinks they know more than Sir Alex, they pack their suitcase for them and buy them the bus/air fare to the club of their choice.

    A football team is not and cannot be a democracy! Vive le revolution! (Sorry, been watching too mutch Citizen Smith)

  11. HungerToon, I read that mate, but does the bonus payouts etc include the staff he has in Asia and wherever else he gets the stuff made cheap? I think the article I read was about how they get treated mate, though Ashley isn’t the only one who treats people like that.

  12. I remember..Maybe you will too..
    Just a few short years ago…We had kk in the hot seat, start of another glorious season. Loads of hope & expectation. We couldn’t wait for the season to kick off. Big name players, messiah in charge etc.
    There was no way we were going down. Anyhoo, what happened, we went down.
    The following year, all change, CH in charge, losing 1-6 to Orient, shambles, were gonna go bust, drop down even further, expectations couldn’t be lower. Well we didn’t even lose at home & came flying back to the prem, against all odds.
    Last year, again, all doom & gloom how we were going back down, blahdy blah. What happened? We quite comfortably survived.
    Just a little observation of how sometimes (most times) our thoughts, fears, expectations are turned on their heeds, repeatedly.
    Is there a pattern here?

  13. HungerToon says:
    August 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm


    Did you also read about record profits and bonus payouts? There are obviously two sides to every story.”

    I did HungerToon, they aren’t quite what they seem. They deferred share bonuses, most of which will only be paid if and when four years of targets are met in 2013. The huge majority of Ashley’s employees are on poor part-time or flexible contracts and won’t get a thing.

  14. I bet ashley flies ower to asia & personally whips the locals.
    This is getting silly now.
    Howay lads, businesses move manufacturing to asia etc. for cheapness, this isn’t new or news.
    Hate by all means, but keep a level head while doing so.
    Who buys nike stuff & the like?

  15. Barton is going to make an annoucement regarding his future at 4pm on twitter. Apparently hes walked dunno if that is reet like

  16. Cheers John, there should be a blog up about it shortly. I’m hearing the same as you mate, either he is in talks with someone or he has been sacked. Doubt they would sack him though! But doubt they’re offering him a new deal. :-) Should know in around an hour…

  17. Hugh,
    i dunno about you mate, but if i find that i don’t like the politics of a co. that i buy products of, i just stop buying them & buy on the ‘grey’ market (if i like the product), Consumer power, n’ all that.
    I know it’s a bit different when it’s ya’ football team like.
    But, it can become a minefield & one has to be most vigilant.
    It’s all down to the individual like.
    These days most co.’s are skanking some poor worker somewhere & it’s hard to ‘buy nowt’, but a bit ‘tactical consuming’ is all you can do.
    I’m a NUFC ‘supporter’, it’s a little vice of mine, so while i don’t agree with certain ‘moves’, it’s the one affiliation i do make concessions for.
    Does that make me a bad person?

  18. Clint, they’re some crazy rumours going around, this next hour should be interesting. Though it would be funny if he just said he was joking, a couple of the rags are running the story. :-)

  19. a rekon if hes off to anuva club a dunt think it will be a top one. Maybee one like stoke or bolton. Remember last game of season when players did lap of honour barton and nolan came oot 5 mins after everyone else, quite a few fans said then that was a goodbye to the crowd like

  20. jimbob,
    in this messed up world of ‘print/disseminate your own news’, owt could be true.
    Where ever there’s a ‘hungry punter’ you’ll find a vulture.

  21. Clint, if I don’t like a company I generally don’t buy from them and I’m quite partial to sending missive missiles out to them by way of letter.

    Although I admit I don’t go out of my way to find out where and how most companies either source or manufacture their goods.

  22. Most used sub in the prem last season.. Now I’m struggling to even get a pre season game.. haha.. #laughORcry what a joke.

  23. Sounds bizarre but on the skysports transfer clockwatch : “Reports in North East that Joey Barton could leave Newcastle on free transfer today… “

  24. Yep, think he’s gone. Cue potential turmoil in some quarters and ‘bouycout’ banners. :-)

    Maybe though he just signed a new 5 year contract…:-)

  25. Mark Douglas:

    Oh Joey, Joey, Joey. Released by NUFC. Shambles all round.

    It’s a shambles, Ashley realised we he wouldn’t get any money for him, so releases him. Will we get 3 new players now…

  26. I’ve heard he’s gone the distance too, apparently the club have terminated his contract with immediate effect. If it’s true, then he deserves it to be honest. If I slate my company and boss online openly then I can expect to be signing on the next day.

  27. Newcastle United can confirm that Joey Barton has been placed on the transfer list today (Monday).
    The player has been advised that he can leave the club on a free transfer.

    From the official site.

  28. Well,
    i supported him when everyone hated him, but he was a Toon player & we close ranks & back the Lads!
    I supported Woodgate, Bowyer, Dyer etc.
    I’m gutted that he’s gone & done this, he made it easy for the powers that be to sack him.

    Any co. would’ve done the same. You can’t go bad-mouthing the place you work, publicly & get away with it.
    He obviously wanted out or he’s dumber than we give him credit for.

  29. Spot on Clint. What did he or anyone else expect?

    He may be a clever bloke, but he ain’t a wise one.

  30. jimbob,
    can you believe it mate?
    I can’t, i thought he was cleverer/braver than that.

    Barton O.G.


  31. They can no longer realistically use improved player contracts as something that’s eaten into the Andy Carrol money…. By the time Barton , Routledge and Enrique officially go I suspect our wage bill might actually be lower than when Carrol left.

  32. just got in ffs it’s one thing after another,dont know what to say at the moment.rightly or wrongly this could create more ill will,the season hasn’t started and we are in more turmoil.i’m utterly sick of mike ashley and his cronies,he should sell up as even the players dont like him.this situation is way out of hand,it cannot go on.

  33. Well now if he does leave (he may say f*** you and stay for the year), he can now use the ‘I was forced out’ excuse.

    Seriously though, maybe it is a clever move, because now no-one will hold it against him as much, if he does go to a club not in the Champions league (the only place he said he would go is a club that can offer him that).

    Either way, this whole mess from Pardew, Llambias, Ashley, Nolan, Enrique and Barton is just a complete joke.

    ‘Looney Toons’ all over again.

  34. Actually, with some certain fans mentality, they will hate him when he leaves. Just like they hate any player who has the audacity to leave Newcastle…

    I bet if he goes, there will be fans now who love him, calling him a ‘criminal’ or ‘thug’ in 12 months time.

    We are a fickle bunch sometimes. :-)

  35. A free transfer? They really do want to get rid….
    Enrique next, and then the tea lady methinks.

  36. Jimbob that’s priceless.

    All I can say is I hope she took a drop in pay to reflect the clubs league status, just like the players ;p

  37. Hear we go again
    Ashley v Keegan
    Ashley v Houghton
    Ashley v Carroll
    Ashley v Nolan
    Ashley v Enrique
    and now Ashley v Barton As a Toon supporter we have to make some tough decisions

  38. If no one comes in for Barton and his baggage I cannot see him getting another game for us. He will be left to rot. I cannot even see him being allowed in the training ground.

    If he does get a new club I can be certain there will be clause in his new contract about Twitter and the like.

    In every ‘black cloud’ etc it is good news for Gosling and Marveaux.

  39. I demand to hear from Pardew, it’s about time we heard his thoughts on this, and all things Newcastle United…

  40. This is just depressing, 1 less squad member to call on, I doubt he will be replaced and we are weaker for it.

    When is this nightmare gonna end?

  41. Joey, my mum says “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything”. Is that it?

  42. It’s a shame. But I think this allows us to move on. Ok, maybe we just need to sell Jose, then we will be able to move on fully.

  43. Jimbob, I heard Pardew has complained to Twitter. He said he was going to open an account but there wasn’t enough letters available in a tweet.

  44. HungerToon,

    Most liars tend to say too much. The character / letter limit on Twitter, in Pardew’s case, could also be referred to as a ‘bullsh*t filter”.

  45. these prats who are running the club think they are nipping a situation in the bud.the problem they have now created,is the very players who were the spirit of the club,have now left.we all know joey will not be replaced by anyone decent,if he is replaced at all.
    ashley is going to reap the whirlwind yet again,we are going to be left to the tender mercies of a captain who speaks little english,and a bunch of untested frenchmen.
    but hey we’ve got the inspirational shola amoebi,to call upon.all this does not bode well,mike ashley loves shooting himself in the foot.

  46. There’s a new ‘blog up about the Barton situation lads.

    I would have had it up earlier if the bastad didn’t keep me waiting for his big Tweet announcement!

  47. I don’t comment on the blog often, instead choosing to laugh and enjoy reading others conversations about our club, but I feel right now like I have to. For all the Ashley sympathizers who continue to slag off Barton, or spin a positive light on whatever it is that is done at the moment such as “Nolan is getting on in years anyways, overweight, ect.”, I find it absolutely INCREDIBLE that STILL you can support or ignore the travesty that is going on, and be positive about it. Ashley is a greedy man, with absolutely no respect for anyone at the club but himself, including Llambias, from him down to the management, down to the players, down to us the fans. And for those who say that it is just business, that in any other business if u said such things about your employer you would be canned, true, but football isn’t just another business, its ENTERTAINMENT, and as such , completely different from anything else. And in a ‘business’ where u depend solely on one group of people to keep you going, it amazes me that the owner of that ‘business’ can disrespect and treat that group of people(the fans) SO poorly, and still get away with being such an arrogant prick, a tyrant and jerk. Treating this club in the way he does, when it means so much to all us fans who follow it is a tragedy. Also, I’m tired of hearing people slagging off on all the people who have come out to say things about how poorly the club is being handled.Even KK was lambasted by people on here when he said something. It truly amazes me that anyone, after so many people have come out recently to decry and state how poorly they and this great club are being treated, can STILL find ways to blame on anyone else but Ashley. I truly believe that they all loved this club, and felt that saying something to the public was the only way to get it across. It’s an absolute shame, what is happening at the club. It is being run into the ground by the morons up top. Absolutely crushing..feel like I did when I found out Carroll was sold, stomach dropped and all.