As a Newcastle supporter and blogger I could so easily start writing another essay about how dog awful our season is and explain to you how non-existent our tactics are, why Pardew’s insufferable excuses make me want to scream, or that why not investing in the team in the summer was a major mistake etc.
But I wont, not yet anyway. With a third of the season gone I will just stick to facts and look upon our club objectively. Leaving my opinion out of it (for now anyway). So without further delay the aforementioned statistics, and I warn you all now that they are by no means pretty and may even be a tad cringeworthy. They should at least be sounding alarm bells of concern however.
– If Newcastle lose at Stoke this evening they will have the same amount of points after as many games as the season they got relegated. 14 after 14.
– We have scored four less goals than at the same stage in our relegation season. 13 now, 17 then.
– Newcastle have won one game out of the last eight. Which was via Papiss Cisse’s backside against West Bromwich Albion. Otherwise it would be 1 in 12.
– Newcastle are the only team to have yet to score from a set piece this season.
– Newcastle have scored once in the last 240 corners. The last coming over a year ago in October 2011.
– Newcastle have scored from two headers this season. However, one of which was Demba Ba’s handball against Reading. Take this one away and they have the joint lowest in the Premier League.
– Since Alan Pardew joined Newcastle 2 years ago, they are yet to win any Premier League game after going behind.
– Newcastle statistically average the most long balls per game, have played the most long balls overall and have the highest percentage of long balls played within total number of passes according to EPL Index.
– Newcastle have kept just one clean sheet in the league thus far.
– Newcastle have not managed to score more than two goals in a Premier League game since beating Stoke 3-0 on April 21st.
– Since Alan Pardew signed his eight-year contract Newcastle have won 6 out of 24 points. Only bottom club QPR have picked up less in same period.
– Newcastle have played the three promoted teams this season and have failed to win any of them. Losing two.
– Newcastle have made an average of 7.5 changes to their Europa league team to the one that played in the Premier League.
– Newcastle have not lined up in the 4-3-3 system with Ba on the left, Cisse through the middle and Ben Arfa on the right once this season which helped them go on a six game winning streak at the end of last season.
– Out of the recognised starting XI, only Cabaye, Ben Arfa and Steven Taylor are officially injured.
Basically what the above demonstrates is the following.
– Injuries are not to blame for Newcastle’s failing season as they have had the majority of their first team players to choose from all season. No team has a fully fit XI every single week. Not even the teams Newcastle have lost to. Swansea were missing key defenders Taylor (LB) and Chico (CB) for example in the 2-1 home loss.
– The Europa League is not to blame for the failing league season, as Pardew makes at least seven changes for every game. 10 in total in some cases. A lack of one training session midweek does not justify the performance levels.
– The set pieces are non-existent. But what is most infuriating is the lack of change. Pardew and the team still insist on the ‘kick it towards Willo to head back across goal’ with every free kick. Where as the corners are just a waste of time. No movement whatsoever. Inexcusable.
– The best system and line up is not being used. Pardew has insisted with 4-4-2 all season and blatantly refuses to play the correct formation every man and his dog would otherwise use. With absolutely no explanation and blatant denial.
– The team just kick it long. Not because they have the players that suit this style, but through cowardice. They are too afraid to pass the ball and instead resort to the English default mode of ‘hoof it’.
– Newcastle are in relegation form. When you consider they have Stoke away, Fulham away, Man City, Man Utd away and Arsenal away in five of their remaining seven games of 2012. They will most likely be in the relegation zone come the start of 2013.
Now for my opinion:
What’s most baffling and incredibly scary about the situation Newcastle find themselves in, is that the manager ultimately responsible for this epic failing, is locked into an eight-year contract. So he couldn’t be relieved of his duties even if the club wanted to. It’s sheer and utter madness. We all know it would happen eventually and sure enough Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias strike again!
These two clowns are ultimately accountable for what this football club is going through at the minute. They failed to bring in the players that were needed to not only improve the team but to compete in Europe as well. We all know we needed reinforcements. The needed players were there and willing to join. Debuchy and Douglas practically booked their own flights to Newcastle airport. However, Ashley an Llambias failed to bring them in, even with the very affordable £12 million that would have seen them sign. Disgraceful.
Along with this lack of investment they decided to unnecessarily lock the manager into an unsackable contract that has every Toon fan hoping has clauses in it to sack the manager if need be without huge costs. Pardew had 4 years left on his five-and-a-half year deal so his situation didn’t need extending. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. What this eight-year deal has brought, in my opinion, is complacency. Pardew has the licence to do whatever he likes, whether it fails or not, safe in the knowledge that his position will never be jeopardy. A positive man would embrace this with confidence and use it as room to attack and try things, knowing the club back him. A negative man would look at this with contempt and abuse it with complacency, knowing the club cant sack him. Where a Kevin Keegan with his 10 year deal is the former, an Alan Pardew with his eight-year deal is definitely the latter.
He has lost the hunger. He has lost the edge. He has lost the determination to prove why he was given the job unexpectedly in the first place. He now has an attitude of contempt. Resting on his laurels from the success he had last year and his LMA award. Pardew is a man who automatically thinks negative. He has shown that since he arrived. This ‘what if’ negativity has been passed onto the players. No longer does he line the team up in a 4-3-3 system with the philosophy to out play the opposition. He instead lines the team up in a 4-4-2 system with no philosophy whatsoever and resorts to cowardly kicking the ball up the field. The deflecting excuses he uses to cover up the actual problems, that he himself has created, are not helping. All they do is prolong the agony. Until he changes back into the man of last year, this situation will only get worse.
Alan Pardew is also Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias’ perfect puppet. A man that can conjure up an excuse, no matter how illogical or nonsensical, to cover up the actual problems and reality of the situation. When Mike Ashley or Derek Llambias refuse to speak publicly, they send out puppet Pardew to do it for them. The last thing Ash and Derek want is for a manager to question them and bang on their door looking for answers. When Ash and DL failed in this summer’s window did Pardew rightfully complain? No. He claimed it was a successful transfer window. Why? Because we held on to our players. These words were merely a PR stunt. NUFC failed in this summer’s window. The two crony’s let down their puppet.
This is exactly the kind of propaganda Ash and Derek want spewed out to the gormless fans (in their eyes). They know no matter what the club says, a large proportion of fans will automatically accept it. No matter how ridiculous it is. Giving any manager an 8 year contract is a classic example. The club say it brings stability, most fans have accepted it and even agree. It’s nonsense. If you want stability, then don’t sack the manager. It’s thats simple. You don’t need to give him an unsackable contract. If you don’t want to sack him, then don’t. Unfortunately most football fans in general are just sheep. Sheep that follow their team no matter what without complaint. They will follow blindly into the abyss and attack anyone who suggests otherwise.
I am not a sheep. I will speak out as much as I can until something changes. Do I have any influence over whether a change will come? Not likely. Should that stop me speaking out? Not in the slightest. This football club under this leadership of silent owner, incompetent chairman and puppet manager will drag itself back into the depths that preceded relegation in 2009. Let’s not forget it was this administration that took us there. Are we financially better off? Yes, undoubtedly. Are we in a much better place as a football team ie in Europe? Yes, undoubtedly. Was last season a one off and will be wrecked instantaneously to nothing but a memory rather than a platform to build? Yes, undoubtedly.
Last season was great. We had some cracking results and scored some unbelievable goals. I suggest you buy the DVD of the season review because it will be the last season you will see of it’s kind under this administration. This season has been dreadful and is only going to get worse. European qualification to the knockout rounds will only mask over the deep cracks for a little while. Until we are inevitably knocked out in a round or two. Pardew has an abysmal record in the domestic cups at this club and nothing suggest’s this season will be any different. We’re already out the League Cup first time of asking.
Our league season is already a write off in late November. There is no chance of finishing in the top 6. The only ‘achievement’ we can gain from the league this year is to avoid relegation. Our only chance of qualifying for Europe again and building on last season’s achievement comes in the shape of winning a trophy or at least getting to the final. Only a remarkable lucky draw throughout the FA Cup could achieve this. The odds of us avoiding a quality opponent at some stage in Europe is almost impossible. We can’t even beat Reading or Southampton. We will not beat Atletico Madrid or Napoli.
Whether you whole-heartedly agree or stubbornly disagree. This season is proving that Alan Pardew is not the right man to take this football club to the next level. In fact, he is taking us back down to the level we were before we gained promotion back to the Premier League. No result, performance, stat, fact, team selection, set piece, laughable excuse suggests otherwise. If this were a simple case of not matching last season’s impressive achievements, than that would be acceptable. Not ideal but nothing to panic over. But it isn’t. It’s beyond that, way beyond. Three defeats in a row with the fixtures we have to come until the end of the year, suggests that when we’re all singing Auld Lang Syne, Newcastle United will be in the relegation zone.
As long as Ashley and Llambias are still here to make their inconceivable mistakes, like giving a man with no previous achievement as a manager an 8 year contract based on one season and just so he can continue to be their perfect puppet of propaganda, then I will forever speak out. I don’t know if it is acceptable again yet to start the ‘Ashley Out’ chants, but if anyone wants to start, you have my full support.
Last season was good. I hope you all enjoyed it. I know I did. Remember it well because it will be the last season to be proud of for a while. Maybe even for 8 years. Are you prepared to wait that long?
The day I sit silently in my seat when the bus driver is heading straight over a cliff, is the day I deserve to die. Even if he has stopped for ice cream on the way.
This article was sent in by ToonBano who runs his own NUFC Blog and was willing to offer it up for debate. You can check his site out by clicking here.