I’ve been sat at my computer for three days, I haven’t moved – even to go to the loo. My legs are numb and won’t respond. My eyes haven’t blinked, my mouth is open, flies have been crawling in and out but I can’t close it… What’s happened?
The ambulance has arrived, my wife is leading them to me, not that I can see – I can’t turn my head.
“What’s happened love?” I hear the paramedics say. My wife replies “I don’t know, he was sat reading the monitor then nothing, like he had short circuited”. The paramedics knew what to do thankfully, they shook my mouse from under my clenched hand bringing the monitor back to life. There it was in front of them – NewsNow.
Classic case of “Pardewdidntgetsackeditis” I hear them say. There are thousands of Newcastle fans locked into the syndrome, hundreds of thousands of other club fans are locked into it too.
What’s the prognosis my wife asked. “Just have to wait till the end of September/early October when he inevitably gets sacked,” said the paramedic.
Great I thought sarcastically, just when I thought things couldn’t get worse.
I sat there wondering, I started thinking of all of my NUFC research, my mind cast back to Pardew’s family tree. Must be in the genes I thought, thinking of his Great Uncle Harry Houdini. Not even Houdini could have escaped a locked safe, full of boiling oil, buried in 600 tonnes of quick drying cement with 10,000 barrels of burning oil flowing all over it – and Pardew was in a far worse state than that.
What could he have said – how could he escape? I can see the boardroom now – Derek takes centre stage, “Alan, we have a few questions we want you to address, can we start with number one – What fitness regime have you had the players on?” Pardew bristles “Derek it wasn’t my fault, Sheila in the canteen has been serving processed peas, not garden peas and Steve and John couldn’t find a techno beat for the players to train to, Agadoo was the best we could find, plus when I said make them the fattest I meant fittest, it was my accent, the lads were just following on from my instructions, just look at them they’re good guys, Johns like a good all rounder, literally, and Steve’s a, Steve’s aaaaaaaa, Stevey’s good crack in the club – social that is not football, they inspire me to be fit – the players too.”
Derek looks over the top of his glasses “fair enough Alan, I’m sorry, we will buy plenty of garden peas and get plenty of new tunes, some elocution lessons perhaps – its our fault, we accept responsibility for our mistakes we trust you will do the same. Moving onto question two – the players look abject, disinterested, confused and they all stand static in their own half just hoofing the ball.”
Pardew smiles knowingly, “Not my fault Derek you see the interpreters all caught flu – I got the message over the wrong way, when I said to everyone ‘look clueless then hoof it’ I meant attack and defend with passion as a group with lightning speed, neat interplay and sublime movement and as for the hoofing, it’s the new boots boss, the new sponsor Cloggs have made them straight kicking at an angle of 45 degrees, not my fault at all.”
Derek’s eyes are like saucers “bloody hell Alan, why didn’t you say – tell me what angle you need the Cloggs for next year and I will take personal responsibility they’re right and I’ll get plenty of Beechams, I’m so sorry we let you down.”
Derek sits bolt upright “Alan we bought you five superb players in January, they started off brilliantly. What happened” Pardew gasps for air, relieved he can answer a question easily “Derek you need to have a word with Carr, he is getting me the wrong players, he is working to his own brief of skill, flair, technical, right attitude I’M SICK OF THESE TYPE OF PLAYERS, I HAVE A SQUAD FULL, IT HAS TO STOP AND STOP RIGHT NOW – I DO NOT WANT ANY MORE – I CAN’T DO ANYTHING WITH THEM – AM I MAKING MYSELF CLEAR! PLEASE can those terms “skill, flair, technical, right attitude” be removed from the handbook and be replaced by simple ones – “Hoofers and Cloggers” shall suffice boss. In the main Hoofers though, 90% v 10% Cloggers and if not in that exact ratio I have my excuse lined up for next year.”
Derek leaned back in his chair “Eh you’re sure about this Alan, well, erm, eh, ummmm, well I do want stability so Hoofers and Cloggers it is, Jean make a note to sack Graham, get Joe Kinnear on the phone – we need a new chief scout”
Derek goes on “and the development squad, their development seems somewhat stunted, going backwards perhaps, like an undevelopment squad, they were some of the best around” Pardew chirpily says “A few things there Derek – first no Hoofers and Cloggers in the – 90% v 10% remember” Pardew winks and gives Derek a clenched fist nudge to the shoulder before shadow boxing around him “…and if I can’t blame the younguns who can I blame eh, I mean if we get them back to full speed with Beardo around, I mean where does that leave me in my excuses for a thin squad, I don’t like your direction, so on that basis I have a two stage plan; 1 – All coaching in Cantonese; that’ll prepare em for Europe and 2 – Shiela in the canteen is doubling up and training them now after breakfast, Beardo to serve lunch – big lunch JC insists on that, ready made bag full of vulnerable excuses I have now, brilliant – what a plan”
“Now Alan, about our form” Derek says while simultaneously feeling the inside of his collar a bead of sweat tumbles down his forehead and settles, hanging on the end of his nose “No need to say anymore Del, you don’t understand, you see we had games, in the league for christ’s sake – do you know what that’s like – and we had to play in Europe, no one wants that, we struggled because of that and if you keep me I promise not to get us there again, last year was an accident anyway, I guarantee to be the lower half of the league each year and our form will improve to top 10, but beneath the Euro places, how’s that sound?” exasperated Derek is feeling feint “So you’re saying that you guarantee to keep us out of Europe and because of that our form will improve but you will keep us out of the Euro places at all times?” Pardew is thrilled Derek appeared to grasp his genial logic “That’s it boss, it’s called the middle league yo-yo effect, clever stuff eh? Oh and I will keep us so unfit we will be injured loads. Not any more than any other team mind but I will tell the fans anyway, I do now, here Derek listen to this – carefully…….”Shola’s out” – did you feel the shudder at the mention of it? I use it lots.”
Derek has a little bit of sick in his mouth,” er I’m not sure you come across as believable to the fans. I mean for gods sake, have you watched yourself on Match of the Day” Pardew stands silent he starts to cry, “did you not read my C.V. boss when I applied. I’m registered disabled…with goldfish syndrome, you can’t discriminate against me can you? Plus I’m not a particularly bright goldfish either, can’t remember what I have said for one moment to the next”, Derek fearing a lawsuit “oh no no no Alan, carry on bulling, I love it, fans do too.”
Derek braces himself, this is it, the moment he has to put the poor puppy out of his misery “Look Alan, thanks for your explanations, I have loads more questions but I’m just not sure things are working out” Pardew bursts into laughter, Derek quizzically screws up his owl like face “Boss, Derek, Dell, Dekka, Sonny Jim” smirks Pardew – “remember the days of the nude streak across St James?” “Yes” gulps Derek “I have pictures…”…….pause…….”….Pee Wee”
“We’ll thank you for your time Alan, a thoroughly enjoyable meeting, shall we say stability is the key, moving forward on all fronts united together?” “Yep Dekka that’ll do it”
“Fantastic” sighs Derek “Now, if you’ll take this bottle of nitroglycerin – in the name of stability – could be a new slogan “Volatility, the new Stability” love it………and I will see you at the end of September eh?”
My wife arrives, wipes in hand, I have four more months of this hell. “Now dear, if you let me lift this cheek”, grimace, how I hate bloody Great Uncle Harry Houdini!