A season of regression instead of progression?

Backwards steps for Tiote and others?

Backwards steps for Tiote and others? It’s been a terrible season all truth being told, and it could yet get worse should we fail to pick up enough points in our final four league games to survive.

A second relegation within the space of four years would be disastrous for this club and would take some time to recover from.

That may sound dramatic, but if you look at our playing staff then compared to what we have now you can perhaps see my cause for concern. So many of our key players are also now full international players who will, quite rightly, want to play at the highest level so they get the chance to play for their country. They won’t get that in the second tier in England so I imagine a lot of them would be off like a shot should someone take a gamble on them.

The problem these players have is that the options available to them might have narrowed down somewhat due to their poor showing this season. As I said above, I’m sure some clubs would take a gamble on them and sign them up, but in all likelihood they won’t be top clubs. It’s simplistic in its view, but how good is a player who ends up relegated from the Premier League? And last time around I don’t remember many top clubs coming in for our supposedly “star” players of the time.

Now it’s all well and good to say that these players are tied down to long-term contracts so will command a fee, but the problem is that so many of them have regressed so much from last season to this I’m starting to wonder if these long contracts were such a well thought out idea after all.

A lot of the blame has been put at the door of Alan Pardew, and rightly so as he seems to have regressed from last season. Whether it’s actually him regressing so much or whether it’s the players at his disposal that have regressed leaving him with few options is up for debate. Perhaps it’s a combination of both?

Look at some of the players as a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Take Cheik Tiote. When was the last time he played like we know he can? I can’t remember a game where I’ve thought Cheik has looked like Cheik since his debut season in the Premier League, and that was getting on for three years ago.

It doesn’t stop there. Jonas Gutierrez has got so bad it’s unreal. Granted he was never one to score lots or create lots, but he was solid enough if unspectacular. The list goes on, Cabaye and even Tim Krul have got worse in my humble opinion. Even recent additions like Moussa Sissoko seem to have gone backwards since arriving on the scene. His position hasn’t changed, it’s still the same one that he was playing in at the start when all and sundry were purring over him. Even those absent through injury have got worse, like Fabricio Coloccini, have failed to regularly reach the high standards he’s set himself ever since relegation in 2009.

Now I’m not defending Alan Pardew by any stretch of the imagination, but can anyone seriously say that so many players losing form is his fault? Maybe it is and I’m just being overcritical of the players? Maybe last season we collectively overachieved? Maybe this season we’re collectively underachieving? Maybe our expectations are too high? Mind you, I’d like to think we had every right to expect to progress this season after what happened last season.

It just hasn’t happened though, for whatever reason…

349 thoughts on “A season of regression instead of progression?

  1. Aussie,
    I’ll be delighted when I can do some praising. I got to when we draw with Benfica. I actually thought we did ok there.

    Haven’t had much to cheer about since then.


  2. Me neither mate, it fecken bugs me that we are playing so bad but like BD says, Pardz ain’t going anywhere, so I hope we can turn the shit around somehow..


  3. JJ

    I agree it should be nowhere near this bad, Pardew like i said deservedly is getting stick. The Ba/Cisse situation was a farse, The away form is dreadful, The long ball stuff pre christmas was horrible.

    But the club should have given the guy a better chance to succeed, Look at the squads of the other english clubs competing in the europa league:


    Assou Ekotto





    Look at some of the players they can loan out: Lukaku, Courtois, Essien, De Bruyne, Carroll, Rose, Townsend, Bentley all of them would get on our bench and most of them would walk into our team.

    Not saying pardew is blameless because he certainly isnt but we were totally unprepared for this season and that is Ashleys fault…


  4. Southern good essay, no probs. Adds to the debate. not convinced that Douggie Freedman is doing better than Owen Coyle or that Henning Berg or Michael Appleton have proved the decision to sack Steve Keen to be the right one.

    The point remains a good one in that stability needs to be earned by performance. Personally I don’t believe that Pardew has built his career at the highest levels of English football by luck and incompetence. I think that he has demonstrated the competence over his career to fully justify the role of manager of an EPL club. And as such I will continue to support his right to be our manager.

    That does not mean that I don’t understand the clamour for his head, it just means that I hope we have a better replacement lined up. By that I don’t mean a manager from the lower leagues that has had a good start to their career. All to often they flash and burn.

    Nor do I want someone who has had success at a single club abroad. There are people out there that could do a better job I’m sure but it would take a lot from Ashley to go and get one. If he does fine. If not then I’ll continue my reluctant support of Pards as I fail to see the advantages of screaming for his head whilst he has Ashleys support.


  5. CC
    Agree, it is so disappointing because we had a rare season, where we achieved better results than perhaps our performances warranted, and we finished a remarkable fifth.

    If every there was a time to invest – as the board finally did in January, it was the beginning of the current season.

    The gambled in order to get players on the cheap and it back fired on them.

    But, just like many say Pards wont go – I think Ashley won’t change his approach.

    As long as we remain in the league. He will be happy to go for bargain buys and gamble on getting players even if it is to the detriment of our league position.

    Fortunately our squad should have enough depth next season. But I just think we would be capable of so much more if we had the right coaches for the types of players we have.

    We really do have the makings of an attractive quality team. And perhaps we are two or three quality players and a good coaching set up away from pushing the likes of Spurs and Arsenal again. And at the very least fight it out with Liverpool and Everton.


  6. Cheers lads – all valid points.

    Not to go over old ground but I firmly believe that Pardew is not the right man to lead the group of players we currently have forward. I like him as a person and believe he has best interests of the club at heart, however, i can’t point to a single element this season which indicates we’ve made positive strides. As mentioned in most earlier everything from tactics, to the players, to the youth has regressed, and for that reason i believe change is needed.

    We have arguably the most talented squad since the SBR days on our books and what we we’ve served up over the cause of this season is absolute dross. My concern come summer is this is not lost on the players and we’ll lose a number of the supposed purple/ blue chip players we’ve amassed. While i can see them being replaced, it is heartbreaking to watch an obviously talented team serve up such negative football.

    As you pointed out Prem it’s not a case of getting rid for getting rid sake, it needs to be with the intention of making the team better. When Hughton was replaced Ashley was adamant we would only employ a manager who was available – if the same was to happen who are the options? Owen Coyle? Mark Hughes? Alex McLeish? God forbid! It could prove to be the case that if Ashley is to remain in charge Pardew is best placed to manage this team.


  7. Agree Southern Geordie,
    Just because we feel Pardew isn’t the man for the job, doesn’t mean we want him replaced for the sake of being replaced by someone else we feel isn’t the man for the job.


  8. Prem-Agreed…Keane was wrongly appointed however, arguably, also wrongly sacked…look where they are now to when he had em. Personally I dont judge any of their appoinments because the owners are clearly insane.

    Southern geordie-you have summed up what so many of us “pardew defenders” fear if he does indeed get the sack. Track record for evidence.


  9. lets start a campaign for who we actually want. Earlier I posted a link to a list of 50 top managers. let me narrow it down to 10. Then lets narrow it down to the one we want so that Ash can go out and get them.

    In alphabetical order.
    Bielsa; Capello; Heyncker; Hitzfeld; Klopp; Lucescu; Pellegrini; Ramalho; Renhagel; Tobarez. You may want to add one or two to that but I can’t see Jose coming here.


  10. Just watching the liverpool vs chelsea….. liverpool don’t have block the centre of the park up. We will need play around them wide, maybe benny and oba?? can run at them.. we won’t be going through the middle…


  11. Newkie have you checked Pardews track record including this godawful season? I see absolutely nothing there to justify his appointment. Zero.
    Have I a replacement in view? I’m so angry I can’t even go there . . .


  12. Prem-but as we’ve gone over before, Jose won’t come and neither would half of them, certainly not capello, klopp or pellegrini and heynckes is retiring so I have been informed, so speculating on them is pointless.

    At best we can hope for ligue 1 or championship managers IMO.


  13. Georgio, I think Newkie was alluding to our track record wth changing managers, not Pardews… I could be wrong tho πŸ™‚


  14. Georgio-I was reffering to JFK, Shearer and Hoots (who was nobody before us)

    If you would prefer the former two, by all means, sew up your Messiah banner πŸ˜‰


  15. JJ

    Im genuinely optimistic of having a really good season next time round, The additions in january have improved us and if the club could push through the Carroll and Aubameyang deals they are chasing and somehow (i doubt it like) talk round Colo we’d be in great shape for next season.

    I said the other day id love to see bring guys like Nobby Solano to work on on set pieces and Peter Taylor to work with the young lads who have gone back over. It could be worth another dozen points a season if we get the dead balls right and having someone like Sammy or Fergie showing the promising form when they first broke into the first team would no doubt put a rocket up Jonas arse, Same with Tiote if Abeid or Anita started showing what they could do.

    Just a few tweaks here and there and next season could be excellent, Just need to scrape together a few points in whats left of this one…


  16. Pardew saying he would be happy to meet the fans and answer questions after the end of the season. It will in all probability be a scripted evening with questions vetted well in advance. AKA as a waste of time


  17. Toonsy-was it you who did those interviews with our ex players what like 1/2 years ago? I’m trying to remember who it was who said Dalglish was their best manager at Newcastle…was it Andy Griffin?

    I say, bring King Kenny back πŸ˜€ πŸ˜†


  18. All I know about future managers is that Pardew, before we hired him wouldn’t have made my top 100 list. Solskjaer? Laudrup?


  19. Newkie πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ king kenny, Batty would cream his jeans with that one. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


  20. Newkie, Whilst I would not expect any of them to come I’m working on the principle that it is precisely those that are too good to be considered that we want. Managing NUFC is not a prize for potential future managers but top experienced pros. Getting them may be difficult, but if it wasn’t then we don’t want them.


  21. Prem-Aye, it will be the tired old ones that might fancy a year or two and a nice sacking payday, but those are the blokes that are already on good money and we won’t attract.

    Maybe Arry would finally move north, I know there were a few swooning for him in 2008 back before his reputation got destroyed πŸ˜‰

    As I said before, if I was owner id just give Jose 15 mil a year on wages, with a 15 mil bonus for any trophies won.

    So that’d equally about, 15 mil a season πŸ˜†


  22. Still I’d rather be fantasying about who’s out there than bitchin about who’s actually got the job at the moment.


  23. Kenny and Keegan as player managers, Shola for Director of Headwear, JFK for anger therapist, Souness for director of football and Shearer for tactics.

    JJ for motivational speaker.


  24. here is one we missed out on for the futurists
    Former Ligue 1 Coach of the Year Jean Fernandez, who left struggling Nancy in January, is to take charge at Montpellier next season after agreeing a two-year contract


  25. Premandup-I don’t want any scumbag who leaves his wife in hard times just for a job mate, the lads would never respect him.

    Kim-you know it’s bad when even Steve Mclaren looks good in comparison…


  26. A realistic top 10 list sounds fun to discuss πŸ˜€

    1. Rafa Benitez
    2. Rudi Garcia
    3. Laurent Blanc
    4. Lee Clark
    5. Gus Poyet
    6. David Moyes
    7. Philippe Montanier
    8. JΓΌrgen Klinsmann
    9. Frank Rijkaard
    10. Unai Emery


  27. Santii. Not a bad list. I wan’t an ambitious list rather than a realistic one as I want the best for us not the cheapest option.


  28. Santii of that lot I could make a case for Philippe Montanier, and Frank Rijkaard. with Lee Clarke as assistant manager.

    Garcia, Poyet & Emery could be future stars, but have yet to really prove it. The rest have baggage.


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  30. When u live on a farm and u bite someones arm thats a suarez…..

    When ur forehead is wide and ur teeth are offside thats a suarez….

    When u dive for a pen over and over again thats a suarez….

    When ur gums are so tight like uve strained for a shite thats a suarez….


  31. @JJ 246
    Pretty conclusive there to be depressingly honest. I’d never 100% bought the idea that a manager would want to sit back and invite pressure but the evidence looks pretty damning. Based on this season anyway. The fact we have managed late goals when we’ve needed them suggests it’s not entirely down to fitness as well (though we do look jaded most the time)


  32. Slavan Bilic?
    I really don’t think we could afford anyone that has proven themselves in the top league. So it would either be a punt or it will be looking to France/Champ.
    Noone in the Championship jumps out tbh.
    France is the obvious market.


  33. There is gonna be an empty press box at the Arsenal game at this rate. The club now taking action against The Sun. Somebody should tell Llambias the pen is mightier than the sword.


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