Stability at any cost? Could it be Ashley’s biggest gamble yet?

Mike Ashley

Should Ashley stick or twist?
Should Ashley stick or twist?
Has the desperation for any sort of stability at Newcastle United now seen fans willing to accept complete mediocrity out of fear that we may get even worse?

Is this how low not only the ambition of the owners but the also the supporters has fallen under the current regime? It would appear so…

There seems to be two camps forming amongst United fans after a disastrous season which sees Newcastle in serious threat of relegation with just three games to go. The first group are those who are clearly fed up with the negative tactics, awful coaching, a complete inability to look dangerous from set plays and most of all, the manager’s apparent failure to get his players fired up and fighting as a team. The second group, are made up of supporters who despite feeling severely pessimistic about the future under Alan Pardew, are even more fearful, that given owner Mike Ashley’s history, a change in manager would only see the club attain another manager with less or similar capability taking up the hot seat.

Either way, there seems to be an agreement that given the choice, in an ideal world, Pardew would not be manager of Newcastle United. Personally, I can understand managers going through a bad spell and all too often they are given boot without being giving the opportunity or time to turn things around. I don’t think this is fair and I think Newcastle United have been guilty of this in recent years and its not good for the club’s progression to have no stability at all.

However, what one does hope to see in these bad times is some indication of a turn around of poor fortune.
There needs to be something to be positive about. Something that brings hope! Whether its a decent performance despite a poor result, a defence which begins to look more solid, or an attack which begins to look more capable of scoring.

Perhaps there could be some ingenuity from set piece routines, or even trying a more positive approach. We wait for anything that tells us that weaknesses are being worked on in training and the efforts are bearing some sort of fruit.

Unfortunately I’ve seen none of these signs under the leadership of Pardew and the club seems to be sinking more rapidly by the week. Both in terms of confidence and performances. In the past 13 months, Alan Pardew’s record in both domestic league and cup fixtures reads as follows:

Games played: 41

Games won: 11 (a win ratio of 26%)
Games drawn: 7
Games lost: 23 (a loss ratio of 56%)
Goals for: 47 (we score 1.14 goals per game)
Goals against: 79 (we concede 1.92 goals per game)
Goal difference: -32
Corners without scoring: 284

I’m not certain, but I also think Pardew has the unfortunate record of never having won a game at NUFC with the side trailing at half time. Probably due to the fact that once we’ve equalised we go back on the defensive settling for a point. There are not many managers who would have been given the backing of their board for such poor performances over a period of 13 months.

What concerns me most is that it is at this stage of his reign that a manager should be starting to put his mark on the team. I fear that that may be precisely what is happening. Pardew seems to go out in each fixture, completely obsessed about the opposition’s strengths and focuses his tactics on counteract them. This is all good and well, until you realise that he fails to focus on our own team’s strengths. Strengths that potentially would cause serious concern for most opposition defences if he actually set us up to attack instead of defend.

Why is it, that a team that sets up to be defensive still has the worst defensive record in the league? How many other teams do you see, with the talent and technical ability that we have, set up at home with four defensive midfielders in front of a back four? Why blame the manager though, when it’s the players who go out and play so poorly each week?

The most important man at any club should be the manager, as it his approach and his mentality which is eventually adopted by the playing staff. Unless of course he isn’t having much of an influence on the team or their attitude, in which case he isn’t performing his managerial duties anyway. Or he simply isn’t respected enough by the playing staff for them to follow his instructions.

The fear problem amongst understandably sceptical supporters comes in with Mike Ashley’s poor track record at appointing quality managers. Will a top manager want to work under Ashley knowing the restrictions that will be placed on them, as well as the history of managers who have basically been worn down by the job? Perhaps the impatience of the supporters has a role to play in this as well. Although, personally I feel that the supporters have shown incredible support and patience this season.

There will be a massive decision for Ashley to make once the season comes to and end. He has been praised for getting NUFC back on a sound financial footing, however, much of the financial woes were self-imposed because of the previous relegation.

Relegation has now become a major threat again. It would not only shatter the growing reputation of the club but undo all the hard work done to get the club to where it currently is financially. In which case the Ashley football model, which has been praised so much over the past few years, would prove to be a complete and utter failure.

So, do we stick by him simply for the sake of stability and at the same time risk another season of negative tactics and dire football in the hope that he learns his lessons and becomes a better manager? Or do we take the risk of replacing him, with someone who may well take us to greater heights, but at the same time could crash and burn under the pressure cooker that is the Newcastle hot seat – making the position seem even more of a poisoned chalice for future candidates?

It saddens me that the club has been put in such a predicament. It boils down to a gamble, a throw of the dice, the hopes of millions of Newcastle supporters now rest with Mike Ashley making the right decision. The only power we as supporters have is to share our opinions.

Now, please have a vote below…

If you were Mike Ashley, what would you do?

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324 thoughts on “Stability at any cost? Could it be Ashley’s biggest gamble yet?

  1. It’d be a big step up for him, Oz. He certainly had Brisbane playing a brand of football never before seen in Australia, but I think he’d need to get some higher level experience than he has. He didn’t exactly set the Greek league alight when he was there.

    Mind you, I doubt he’d be worse than Pardew has been this season.


  2. I’ll take Stephen Fleming. Ex New Zealand captain of their cricket side. Now a coach for cricket teams in India. He’ll know more about footballing tactics than Pardew imo…


  3. A shoo in 50,000 fans every week, a team full of senior pros, and internationals at that. A billionaire owner with money to burn, an absolutely pish poor EPL and where do we end up ? We are a fuking laughing stock. I honestly believe that without the short lift of the french contingent coming in in January we could quite easily have been relegated in last place. Think back, EVERYONE has outplayed us, even at SJP we nicked the points against Reading and QPR, and were absolutely ecstatic after scoring a last minute winner against the mighty Fulham.

    Believe me, this will get much worse. Look behind the scenes, and see who will be available once we go down and our team of international stars disappear…. Then we really will be watching a team made up of Elliots, Bigis, Jonas, Sammi et al. The whole guts of the team will be ripped out and sold out and we’ll be left with one of the weakest squads imaginable. We have NO-ONE waiting in the wings to step up. We tried that this season and failed miserably.

    Then you need to find a new manager who can do something with that bunch of second rate players. This is all utter dross. Maybe the upshot is that Ashley sells the club ?

    We are where we are because we have been consistently absolute dross. If it’s true about Cabaye and Spurs, and Pardew knew this and presided over this debacle, then the bloke really needs to have his heed looked at. To base the soul and spirit of your team around an average foreign player, who’s heart maybe isn’t in it, is an absolutely shocking decision.

    This season is finished for me, it’s next season that worries me and how we react.


  4. @MM
    There lies the replacing Pardew problem, if the Cabaye thing is true do you really think he actually had any say in the matter?


  5. Eminem, step away from the edge mate. Remember all the good you have done on here. That time when B&B was about to throw in the towel, who talked him out of that? It was you big fella!
    Try to remember the laughter and the good times, they are just around the corner, I promise…. just step back from the edge!! 🙂


  6. @JJ: ‘Pardew seems to go out in each fixture, completely obsessed about the opposition’s strengths and focuses his tactics on counteract them’

    Far from it. In my observation this is contrary. Pardew simply fields a collection of the fanciest and latest signings.

    The playing staff is always the same week in week out, same formation every game with the god damn lone Cisse up front. This is an unthinking manager who is never prepared probably does not do his homework to identify strengths or weaknesses in opposition. The forcing of a circle in a square hole.

    Trying to get a different result by doing the same thing. A thinking manager would move our attacking players around depending to exploit weak areas in opposition for example if either opposition left or right back is slow, you put in a player with pace to exploit the opposition’s players’ lack of it. If a central defender is short we exploit that with a player with height and use the flanks more often to cross or long ball for the big lad. But no!

    Pardew plays long ball when Cisse cannot even hold the ball a few seconds to save his life. The team do not read from the same hymn sheet as though Pardew’s says the tactics for the day is ‘win the game’.

    Piss poor from him. It is not Europe, or the youth or the injuries or the pitch or the fans or Ba, or not having R. Taylor It is simply Alan Pardew.


  7. A new dawn brings a new sunny day, eh Munich? 😛 I only checked in to see which way the wind’s blowing Strumps this morning. 😛

    I can hear the Reality Train coming … yeah but, no but, yeah but, no but, yeah but, no but, yeah but, no but … toot toot ….yeah but, no but ….

    Strumps, thats not a big flower you’ve landed on, fella. It’s VICKY POLLARD in a pink onesie calling herself a REALITY TRAIN. 😛


  8. Dave @ 307 Are you taking the pish? You’re the one riding up front with Big Vicky on the “yeah but, no but” reality train. 😛


  9. Kimtoon @232

    I’m sorry, but I can’t really blame the French players for being unhappy. It boils down to being forced to play a style of football you aren’t made to play.
    Its fine if you are winning, but if you constantly get thumped then you are going to start to complain to the manager.
    If he then tells you to “get on with it” you are going to get disheartened.

    If you then get dropped for players like Jonas after impressing in a previous game then you start to question your future and where the club is going.

    A new manager would change all of that.

    We are in this mess because we have a manager who is clueless with the type of players we have. And Ashley has to take blame for thinking the two would fit together.

    Things won’t come right, and there will be a mass exodus unless Pardew leaves.

    He has clearly lost the dressing room.


  10. Mighty pissed off still . I cannot believe the Scum last night ,what a time to end their mini revival. They have now given the impetus to Villa who were stuck in no mans land. Di Canio will fire a rocket up their arses and they will go onto get the required points for safety while we capitulate to West Ham and Qpr with our (if reports are true ) fractured squad .Forget Arsenal ,we’ll get nowt from them and as for Wigan they still believe and have been there done that ,bought the t.shirt AND have a game in hand. We are doomed but hope to christ I’m wrong. Can’t believe the three teams I hate the most Scum, Villa and Wigan will most likely survive.


  11. I honestly think Villa got strength from our loss on saturday ,they would of looked at how poor we were and thought bloody hell we are streets better than them.

    Re ,Cabaye ,I do think there is truth in the rumours mainly because he didn’t front up alongside Saylor for that post match interview saturday. As acting Captain I thought that was gutless from Cabs and really disappointed in him .Say what you will about Saylor but that took guts as he must of been totally humiliated being a local lad in all. Imo he showed more maturity and leadership skills than any of them for doing that. He took a lot of stick on saturday but wasn’;t helped by Mbiwas awful positioning .


  12. Kim Saylor’s interview and the way he tried to rally and calm the troops down just confirmed what I always thought about him. It was clear to see that he was totally gutted but still had the balls to put himself infront of the camera’s.
    Cabaye didn’t and Colo wouldn’t have either they are happy enough when things are going good but when the shit hits the fan they hide, thats why I always said a captain needs to be part of the fabric of the club and the club has to be part of them.
    I still don’t believe in the Cabaye stories as I can’t believe he would convince his best mate and others to join then want out, I just think he is totally pissed of with how things are going.


  13. Dave @ 312 Keep up fella.

    Blackley & Brownlie says:
    April 29, 2013 at 00:33
    “Sharpy – You’re the one back in February who stupidly said I had an arse full of splinters for not calling for Pardew to be sacked whilst predicting under-achievement and pain. At that time I simply felt that, over and above my prediction, the bloke deserved a chance provided our top flight status was not in jeopardy come the end of the season. I said when the time is right, when I’ve had more than I can stomach, I will be calling for him to be sacked. You tell me what’s wrong with that? That time is now. With any luck, my prediction of his sacking will come true now too.”

    Dave, he’s never been the right man for the job, but it was enough simply to say that from the outset. It would be stupid to call for his sacking immediately and continue to do so. As he was the man with the job, he deserves a fair chance. That is a principle I believe in. Anybody calling for him to be sacked in November wasn’t giving him a fair chance. If they had got what they wanted then, they would have been hounded by the likes of you for being short termist. I would have given him a little longer if he hadn’t cocked up so badly and got us into this position. As bad as he is, I couldn’t believe he could manage to do it after the January bail out.

    He is a dead man walking and I really can’t see him doing a “Lazarus” now.


  14. Big Dave – The take on REALITY two days ago was “Despite what some say, Pardew seems to keep the players happy.” What’s your mate VICKY saying today? Yeah but, no but, yeah but, no but …


  15. Dave That’s probably true ,not sure it’s to do with the Spurs move more the team tactics I should imagine . Fact is they need to get their lips up off the floor and show everyone just how good they are now. If these guys want the big moves and to participate in the World cup then they need to show their worth imo . It’s been said they don’t like the criticism since the last two defeats poor souls ,well too bad ,put it right then.


  16. B+B so as I asked you last month were you going to wait until most were asking for his head before you would jump on the band wagon 😳 so you fore seen all this and predicted the downfall but you wanted to stick with Pards until the ship was sinking then you decide now is the time to jump ship, just like a rat.
    So please save yourself anymore embarrasment by giving it the old I told you so shit because you told us so but you wanted to give Pards more time because you didn’t have the balls to stand up for what you believed, cause you found it easier to wait for the band wagon to come along to then jump on it like a sheep following the flock.
    I truely am gutted for you and now understand why you come off with so much crap trying to mock fellow bloggers etc 😕 it was just to deflect things from you. 😯


  17. Big Dave @ 320 How embarrassing! Clearly all the pent up frustration coming out at the fact I’ve shown you to be a mug time and time again 😛

    You’re clutching at straws big time now, fella. The bandwagon was riding strong in November. There would have been no problem jumping on it. I said then why I wasn’t calling for him to be sacked and when I would be. True to my word that is what I have done.

    Your tirade proves to me you’ve not only lost the argument but imploded like someone with PTSD! Take a chill pin man. 😛

    What a lovely sunny day to be catching big fish and butterflies 😛


  18. B+B you keep clutching at straws or treading water like a rat escaping the boat, but everyone can now see you for what you are, even when your trying to joke and take the attention of yourself.
    You’ve shown yourself to be a little lamb that just follows the flock.


  19. Whey! Big Dave Walliams is emboldened now Vicky’s back! Yeah but, no but, yeah but, no but … Which way’s the wind blowing today? 😛

    Seriously though fella, you need to chill out. You’ll have a heart attack man. Have a few days reflection like Stardy. Look at the fantastic theory he came up with the other day when he’s had a bit of a rest. It’s little pearls of wisdom like that that we all appreciate. 😛

    Don’t worry about me. I can survive on a diet of gulper eels. I don’t need to be catching big fish every day. 😛


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