Whether your feeling on the Mackem game be one of confidence or apprehension one thing is for sure, fan unrest is verging on breaking point.
With recent activity or more so lack of in the transfer market frustration is growing by the day. Add to that the general unsettling feeling that derby day brings and I think we all wish we could have skipped the past week and could just hear Howard Webb’s whistle to kick-off the first installment of what has to be the biggest derby in the Premier League.
Every clash with with the Mackems brings with it a nervousness regardless of confidence in coming away with three points. This one however is causing more sleepless nights than in recent years. Funnily enough this has nothing to do with the strength of the Mackems. I don’t even think it has a whole lot to do with the lack of faith in the Yoon team that will hit the pitch.
The unsettling feeling has been caused by two weeks of bad press, twitter controversy and mainly a left back and striker promised by this week that have still to come through the door. I think we all have faith in the lads that are here now. In saying that these two players not being signed pre-Mackems leaves a real seed of doubt that is not normally there.
In fairness to Alan Pardew I do genuinely think he expected to have these players in by now. I think the stress is clear to see in his face that this hasn’t happened and he is being made to look a bit of a fool at the moment. I`m sure if it was up to him he would have forked out what it took to get them in as soon as possible but unfortunately for both him and the fans getting these players over the line is out of his hands.
I do believe they will come by August 31st but the policy of driving a hard bargain and offering player salaries based around performance related bonuses is slowing down these deals and has no doubt cost us certain players over the course of the transfer window. Look as frustrating as it is I think if they do come in by the time the transfer window shuts we`ll all be a lot happier and justifiably confident in achieving a top half finish this season.
The problem for Pardew, and definitely the board, is that this derby has come a month too soon. These players are not in yet. The fans are growing restless. A fair percentage were restless to start in not liking Mike Ashley or Derek Llambias and frustration has been steadily growing over the past two weeks knowing the Mackem game was coming. Fact is with those two players in for the match we`d be confident of absolutely smashing them. Without them it’s admittedly a much tighter affair and to be truly confident of a result would be blind optimism to say the least.
With Derek coming out of his cave before the Arsenal game stating the need for players combined with Pardew’s now empty looking promises, they have put their heads well and truly on the chopping block if things don’t go our way against Sunderland. A bad result will no doubt tip some fans over the edge and could cause no end of problems over the coming weeks.
It is a massively risky situation to have put themselves in. Not an atmosphere you want around the club when you`re trying to get players, even more so when you need the team that is there to be gaining confidence and performing. More than any year and derby game in recent memory a result is an absolute necessity in my opinion. This one goes well beyond bragging rights.
A positive result will buy two weeks to put things right, patience from the fans in getting the two signings in and with that breathing space for the board and Pardew. A turbulent summer could all be looked back at and laughed with a new air of positivity around Newcastle and the season going forward. A bad result however and I fear the house of cards could all come crashing down and could spell serious trouble for the club in the short and long term.
Never in my lifetime can I remember a derby with as much hinging on it.