Alan Pardew has spoke about this season in general and what he would classify as a success for Newcastle United.
The nuts of it is basically that he believes that any form of European competition should be deemed as a success.
With Europa League football potentially guaranteed this weekend, providing Newcastle beat Stoke and Everton fail to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, we aren’t a million miles away from what the boss claims to be a success, but at the moment we are in the running for an infinitely bigger prize and a shot at a potentially money spinning run at the Champions League.
Whilst I personally don’t think we’ll end up in 4th place (or 3rd just to clarify), the mere fact that we are mixing it with just five games remaining is testament to what has been a fantastic season.
“A successful season for us would be Europe – there’s no doubt about that,” Pardew said in his pre-match press conference.
He continued: “Any European qualification would be brilliant. The Champions League is something that really we shouldn’t be competing for, but we are, and we are going to go for that as best we can. We are batting well above our level in terms of the teams and the salaries and transfer fees that these other clubs have paid. We shouldn’t even be anywhere near them.”
Of course he is right in a way, but a lot of the credit for us being in the running for Europe has to be down to the scouting network and much maligned transfer policy. Those two factors have combined to give us the players that have taken us to a level few expected at the start of the season.
There have been tough times of course, and other teams take us a bit more seriously now and try to nullify us rather than play their own game, but that is a byproduct of being at the “right” end of the table.
Pardew said: “I think there is a great respect for us, and quite rightly so. We have had enough coverage – we are fine with what we have got and we are just looking forward to the remaining games.”
So the big question is, would Europe be enough for you to qualify this season as a success?
For me personally, it would. I never expected us to qualify at the start of the season, so to be within an inch of qualifying for the Europa League would be fantastic. I know it has it’s detractors and there are concerns over the number of games that have to be played, but it must also be pointed out that the format for qualifying is changing (again!) next season.
This page from Wikipedia here explains it a bit more, but assuming we finish 5th we will enter at the play-off round which will mean two games in mid/late August before, hopefully, dropping into the group stage.
Any Europe is good Europe for me. It’s extra exposure, extra income and an extra lure for players. That is why Alan Pardew is spot on in my view!
But do you agree?