Well he soon was the name on the lips of those fans as he was appointed as Hughton’s successor and was given a long-term contract, whatever they mean these days, to boot. Pardew doesn’t have the full backing of the fanbase and some view him as a mouthpiece for Mike Ashley, a puppet if you like. I personally think that is harsh and will get behind him, as will the vast majority of Newcastle fans.
I actually think he has done alright. He’s had to cope with a horrendous injury list aswell as the loss of our main striker, but he has still helped guide the team to comfortable safety. Would Hughton have done that? We’ll never know and, to be honest, it doesn’t really matter anymore.
This summer is the key period for Pardew. He has a chance to put his own stamp on things and spend money transforming the squad in the hope of making sure the club progresses up the league. To do that though he’ll need the backing of the men upstairs.
That is the main thing that is worrying fans more than anything in my opinion. Will Ashley give his man the tools to do the job with? Pardew seems to echo that sentiment when he spoke about the fans after the draw at Chelsea.
“You can’t take that support for granted. You’ve got to give them hope and belief,” Pardew said. “They saw a few young players today, and they’ll be waiting for a few big new players to come in.”
“A performance like that will give the owner belief as well, that we’re doing things in the right way. If I was the owner, I’d think my investment was a bit more secure.”
“Newcastle is a big, big club. We want to attract one or two big players and bring on one or two young players. Those are the advances you need if you want to be successful.”
Now you can kind of forget figures, forget numbers, forget names. That is all guesswork. What I am interested in is the very first line of that quote – “You can’t take that support for granted. You’ve got to give them hope and belief.”
I think, despite his misgivings, despite all the accusations of talking too much, despite all the accusations of being a puppet, that Alan Pardew actually gets it. I think he is one of the only managers who understands us and knows what we are looking for.
It’s a stark contrast to the likes of Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalgish and Ruud Gullit. None of those ‘got it’. None of them really understood what we look for in terms of football at St James’ Park. It’s a theatre of dreams and, as Pardew says, if you don’t give those who pay to watch the team a bit of hope and belief then they will soon resent you.
Time will tell whether Pardew can make do. Time will tell whether or not he can persuade the owner to back him, but at least he seems to be on the right track. Being the manager of Newcastle United is not easy, but if you can keep the fans on side and give them a little bit back they will get behind you.
This season has been a backs against the wall, us against the world kind of affair which has unified our support. It’s been turbulent at times, but stadium protests have been few and far between and we have remained behind the team on the whole. Next season is different though. The expectations will be that bit higher and this is where Pardew must make do on all of these words.
If he can do that he’ll be fine by me! « Chelsea 2-2 Newcastle – Video highlights. | What do we need for a top ten finish? »