Pardew gives Ashley ‘credit’ for gamble.

Pardew allowed to prepare in peace

Pardew's praise.
Alan Pardew has praised Mike Ashley today, and has said that it’s his gamble to keep some of the big earners at St James’ Park which have helped to get the club to where it is today.

A win at Villa Park would be nice, for the obvious reason of what happened there two years ago, but it will also be nice for NUFC because of what it would mean. Not only would it give us enough to survive and ensure that we have Premier League football again next year, but it would also give us clear breathing space in ninth place in the table and consolidate a top half position.

Of course this search for a top-half finish wouldn’t have been possible had we not managed to get promotion last season. Chris Hughton must take a large chunk of credit for that, as should the players who demonstrated superb application and professionalism to get the job done over the 46 games.

I would guess, as a spin-off from that, Ashley does deserve some credit for paying out to keep stars such as Fabricio Coloccini, Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan, who all earn more in a year than what some Championship sides pay their entire squad over the course over the season.

“You have to say, and the figures last week back this up, that Mike Ashley put his neck out two years ago (after relegation) in the Championship year to keep the big players,” Pardew told the Sunday Sun. “That has proved to be a really sound decision because most clubs, quite rightly, run for the hills a little bit.”

Pardew continued: “We did at Charlton. We had no backer like Mike, no chance. The damage is irreparable and you can see yourself go through the division like Charlton, Sheffield Wednesday and a number of clubs have.”

I guess, begrudgingly, Pardew is correct. Granted it was Ashley’s mistakes that rocked the boat so much during the season that we were relegated, but he did kind of put his money where his mouth was during the promotion campaign. I doubt it was because he wanted to, but it was more of a case of having to in my opinion.

That core of Premier League players is what ultimately saw us coast through last season and end up winning the league rather comfortably in the end, and they aren’t doing too bad this season either in all fairness. Imagine if they had have been sold? Keeping them was a gamble that paid off.

“That was a bold decision by Mike and Derek on this occasion that perhaps went a little bit unrecognised,” Pardew insisted. “On reflection, I think maybe in two or three years time, if things have gone well for us, suddenly it might be seen as a very positive thing that Mike did. I believe it was.”

That was in the past though, and it’s this season that is important. Targets have changed and goalposts have shifted throughout the season, and the latest target is to finish above Sunderland. Considering Sunderland have spent three times what we have on players in the last two seasons, are still trying for that next level and are generally top dogs 🙄 (sarcasm intended), that would be some achievement.

“Finishing above them (Sunderland) would be massive for us. It would be a good coup for the team,” said Pardew.

“They had an opportunity to spend some of their money and we haven’t, so that would be a marvellous feat if we could do that because we lost a key, key player in the window, there’s no disguising that.”

Let’s get that ball rolling then – starting today at Villa!

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