The dawn of a new era on Tyneside?

The new and improved Newcastle United?
Last December I think the majority of Newcastle fans, myself included, were in shock at the appointment of Alan Pardew as manager of the club on a five and a half year contract.

His record during his previous terms of employment, at the highest level, is less than favourable but now, there is an air of excitement at St. James’ Park.

During the Mike Ashley era, the Magpies have had, including stints as caretakers, seven managers. Chris Hughton was sacked on the back of a bad run of results in the build up to Christmas and it was felt that a manager with “more experience” was required. As of today, Pardew has overseen 560 games with 5 clubs, 31 of which have come with Newcastle.

The back end of last season yielded mixed results; there was the 5-0 mauling of West Ham; the epic 4-4 with Arsenal; and 4-1 against Wolves. Undermining this was; the 3-1 exit in the FA Cup against Stevenage; the 4-0 defeat at Stoke; and the unfortunate 3-3 final day clash with West Brom. Had the Black & Whites not thrown away a 3-0 lead they would have finished in the top half of the table, but ultimately finished a respectable 12th.

When Pardew first came in, he was seen as Ashley’s ‘Yes’ man. Despite telling the fans and the press throughout the January transfer window that Andy Carroll would not be sold, on the last day of the season, Liverpool smashed the British transfer record and signed him for £35 million. Newcastle were left without an out-and-out striker, but still managed a to finish in a decent league position thanks to a combined effort of the remaining notorious goal-scorers. One must remember that Newcastle were in their first returning Premier League season, and fellow promoted side Blackpool went straight back down.

This summer proved a shocker, and the team got off to an indifferent start in their pre-season matches. Defeats against Orlando City and Leeds, and a draw against Kansas City hardly proved to be ideal preparation. Transfer rumours, and subsequent activity, were in full swing and there were some shocks for all concerned on Tyneside. Newcastle’s Captain, Kevin Nolan, moved to relegated side West Ham due to the board’s unwillingness to offer him a long and expensive contract. Jose Enrique joined Liverpool, and Joey Barton became the victim of his own actions after a rant on Twitter and was placed on the transfer list on a free and shown the door.

Alan Pardew, with the apparent backing of the board signed a quartet of French players; Yohan Cabaye; Sylvain Marveaux; Meidi Abeid; and Gabriel Obertan. The club had a surprisingly busy transfer window, also snapping up free-agent Demba Ba and signing up Davide Santon and Rob Elliot to bolster the squad. The biggest controversy of the window was the failure of the club to bring in a replacement for the £35 million Andy Carroll. Uncertainty hung over the new season as many of us were unsure how our new signings would gel, and whether or not we would miss the big dressing room players that had helped develop the team spirit that was well documented under Chris Hughton’s reign as manager and whether or not we would cope with a Number 9.

Despite these fears, the Magpies have had their best start to a season in 16 years and are unbeaten in their opening six games Premier League for the first time since the 1994/95 season. They currently sit fourth in the table, and also have the fourth best goal difference in the League.

After poor starts from both Cheik Tiote and Demba Ba, mainly due to their religious observance of the Ramadan festival, the two players are getting to grips with the frenetic pace that the League demands and Ba scored his first goals, and first hat-trick, for the club this weekend. Leon Best has scored 9 goals in 16 Premier League games for the club. Yohan Cabaye, despite having done everything but score, has a shot on target percentage of 64% and seems to have settled very quickly in English football. It looks like a formidable partnership is in the making with Cheik Tiote, giving free-reign to fast attacking play down the wings and encouraging development in attack while the centre of the park is controlled by the duo.

One of the more shocking stats is that Newcastle have conceded the fewest goals in the League so far. Steven Taylor has rediscovered his form of old, and newly instated Captain, Fabricio Coloccini, has also contributed massively to the teams fantastic start. Tim Krul also deserves a mention, as a number of incredible saves have also helped Newcastle reach the dizzy heights of fourth place. Despite playing Ryan Taylor out of position at left-back, the team has only conceded 3 goals in the League and have also earned 3 clean sheets.

Even though a huge amount of hatred and anger is aimed at the board and owner, full credit must be given to Alan Pardew for his signings, tactics and development of a positive dressing room. Splitting the roles of coaching attack and defence between himself and his assistant, John Carver, is proving fruitful and the team still looks like the solid unit we were worried would be lost with the relinquishing of Nolan, Barton and Enrique over the summer.

With players such as Hatem Ben Arfa and Davide Santon still to make their first full appearances this season, there are plenty of options in both attack and defence which could offer some selection headaches. The team is now crammed with young, exciting players who have a point to prove and want to play football for this club and at the top level.

Perhaps now is the time for a new era of ‘Entertainers’ on Tyneside?

About tomcarlisleuk

21. MA Sports Journalism Student at Sunderland University. Newcastle United Fan. Hull FC Fan. Follow me on twitter: @tomcarlisleuk

30 thoughts on “The dawn of a new era on Tyneside?

  1. Time to give some credit to those ‘minority’ of fans who didn’t spit their collective dummy’s out and said all through the summer that the sale of Carroll and others was good business, and they were quite happy at the way things were going maybe??


  2. I was very anti-Pardew when he was appointed.

    Only in the last few weeks when he has distanced himself from the board has he shown me he isn’t a puppet appointment.

    He seems to be learning … no more 100% guarantees to the fans?

    I think Pardew should be very grateful to Graham Carr for some brilliant scouting.
    Having said that, all the new players are settling in very quickly and are beginning to play with a style that is a pleasure to watch.

    So congratulations are in order to Pardew and his coaching team.
    Good job so far and good signs for the future.

    This is usually where Ashley steps in and throws a spanner in the works … lets hope this time he’s learnt from his many previous mistakes.



  3. Having done so well already, there is room for this squad to become even better if injuries are kept at bay.

    With Santon and/or Ben Arfa a possibility for a start against Spurs in a few weeks, this team could go places!


  4. SKY sports website

    Wolves v Newcastle
    Newcastle’s form has been surprising and they thoroughly deserved their results against Aston Villa and Blackburn. But I think they’re punching above their weight and I’m going for Wolves here because they’ve got to get back to winning ways again.


  5. Punching above their weight?…means that he really thinks we haven’t got better players than Wolves and so won’t be good enough to beat them?….really??


  6. Merson is a muppet. I bet him a bag of coke we get a result Saturday. 😉

    Its early days so far but we have started very well and its given us the foundation to build upon the rest of the season to break into top 10. Long way to go stil but if we remain relativly injury / suspension free we are in with a real shout imo.


  7. Looking for a draw at wolves really would be good result!
    As a side thought toonsy i keep getting blocked onto the other server in the evenings but during the day im back! Odd ❓
    Even fifa 12 on the iphone is quality stuff


  8. I’d settle for a point at wolves in truth. I don’t buy Merson’s suggestion that just because they need to win it means they will win. Wanchor.


  9. Paul Merson hasn’t got a clue… 😡 He always gets it wrong so I wouldn’t look too much into it.. I personally think we’ll get a clean sheet. Possibly a 1 nil win to us, Ba just nicking one in the 2nd half.

    Can’t wait for the footy this weekend!



  10. Good read tom btw; agree with most of it but lets not get too carried away!
    I love being written off by both lawro and merson they aint got a clue!


  11. Hey toonsy, just posted this on the last thread cos its where it belonged, but here it is in case this is where you’re knocking around,

    I’ve mentioned before when you talked about packing it in how much i appreciate the site, it really is the standard bearer for blogs now

    As for the direction, i agree that a few more stats etc would be interesting but i think you can have too much of that as well and it starts to lose meaning so keep the same formula thats working so well. Love the interviews in particluar (Marktoon and Jobey is it?) get questions and answers specifically for the fans from youth players and fans of other teams that you don’t get anywhere else and are really relevant and current.


  12. Liam I would rather play with one up top in this game with Benny and maybe Gosling both getting a run out playing the front man of the 5 in mf.
    Dubtoon touching on what you were saying about stats the problem I see is that stats can be read different ways to show completely different points.


  13. Even with Best and Ba in there it’s still quite like a five man midfield with Ba dropping deep a lot of the time.

    Simpson S.Taylor Coloccini R.Taylor
    Cabaye Tiote
    Obertan Ba Jonas


  14. Very true dave, they can be easily manipulated, which is part of the reason I wouldn’t want too much of an emphasis placed on them but i do think they have they’re place at times and can make for interesting reading


  15. The awkward moment when you get just over 1,00 words into a match preview and wrongly press the delete button in error 😡


  16. Good read but I just can’t accept someone that is both a Hull fan and a Newcastle fan.
    Not after PBrown ruined sloop john b


  17. Toonsy I enjoy this site for what it is and Leazes for what that is. Don’t worry about trying to put together all the best bits of every ‘blog mate it’s not a competition is what I am saying.

    With regards to the team I think the only problem is lack of cover in defense and for Best and Ba. If we can address that in Jan it would be great because we don’t need any more midfielders. Having said that I like the policy of just buying the best that is available at the time and I think it is paying off.


  18. Joe Soap, Paul Merson is an utter twat. He doesn’t like NUFC, plain and simple. I can remember him getting on his high horse a few years ago, on Soccer Saturday, saying Newcastle v Sunderland wasn’t a derby game.

    Incidentally, Lawrenson thinks we’ll get beat 2-1 also.


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