A season of regression instead of progression?

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…

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

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

  1. JJ – I understand your point and I agree it is difficult to stomach but the players miss all the chances well before the second half. If we were 3-0 up at half time nobody would mind a jot about sitting back a little. Pardew i assume was a little nervous about only being 1-0 up. But I agree imo defence is the best form of attack.

    You say players miss chances but we have missed an awful lot of chances this season – especially since january and if the players score the goals we don’t have a problem.

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  2. JJ ,totally agree mate ,right now we have totally the wrong players for the way Pards sets us up sometimes.

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  3. JJ – I would hate to see our club go down that route mate. Yes we may top 10 but to have a squad full those type of players and potentially loose players like Benny, Cabaye and Marv would be terrible.
    Funny coz when I mentioned PEA and Alderwiereld the automatic Pardew replacement I thought of was Carroll and Douglas.

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  4. Stuart,
    But that’s exactly it “Pardew i assume was a little nervous about only being 1-0 up.”

    The manager should be positive about being 1-0 up away from home. He should be firing up his charges, telling them to finish the opponents off.

    He should be using the lead to fire them up and get there enery levels pumping.

    Instead, he gets nervous, and transfers his nerves onto the players. He tells them to sit back and not concede.

    This is all negative. And when you put negative thoughts in your players heads, you remove the confidence of the team.

    In turn you give the opposition the upper hand by giving them the ball, the momentum and they start to believe. They pile the pressure on and inevitably we crack.

    I’ve watched many a game where top sides like Man United and Man City miss sitter after sitter when a mere one goal up. But do they then decide in the second half to sit back and defend. No… they continue to search for that second goal until the final whistle.

    You can say we are in a relegation battle and every point is crucial.

    A draw is one point. We can draw every game in the season and get relegated without losing a game.

    Or we can win just 13 games all season and lose 25 and we will survive.

    That’s why its important to go for the win every game. Not settle for a draw.

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  5. Sharpy @229 ,Agree it would be awfull to lose those type of players but at the moment we simply arn’t making the most of them .It’s like having a Aston Martin parked outside your front door and no driving licence to drive it πŸ™

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  6. Prem,
    In Pardew’s defence that list has Kenny Dalglish in 14th position and he is an aweful manager. But I don’t think Pard’s would be in the top 50 anyway. πŸ˜‰

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  7. JJ ,that was KK’s ethos and it served us well in the main,yeah you might lose the odd game but chances are you will do better ,you don’t just sit back ,that way leads the drop imo.

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  8. Kimtoon,
    Spot on,
    We’ve got a manager who is a rugged terrain enthusiast trying to drive F1 cars around an off-road track.

    And people wonder why nearly everyone is playing badly… Then they go on to say, is it the managers fault the players are playing so badly.

    The answer is simple…. YES it is 100% completely the managers fault. Along with his coaching staff.

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  9. Stuart,

    Also, the only case I can find for defending a lead and sitting back is to then catch the opposition on the counter attack…

    Fair enough, its a good tactics. WHEN YOU HAVE PLAYERS WITH PACE.

    Who does Pardew put on to take advantage of tired legs in the opposition half… Shola (can’t run faster than I walk) Ameobi.

    We don’t counter with pace down the flanks (like Sir Bobby did with Robert and Bellamy). We instead lump long balls up to Shola.

    Its ridiculous how bad Pardew’s tactics are sometimes.

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  10. Stu – how can defence be the best form of attack?!. Cisse has a conversion rate of something like 1 in every 5 or 6 chances created, so to sit back and defend isn’t really the best way to get him a goal.
    I agree with you that it’s not all Pardews fault and the players miss the chances in the first half or throughout. But for me mate, we are strong enough defensively to try and sit back and shut up shop.
    For me, with players like Cabaye, Marv, Benny, Sissoko, Gouffran, Campbell, Obertan and Cisse in our squad, surely attack would be our best form of defence?!.

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  11. Sharpy,

    Can you imagine Cisse, Sissoko, Gouffran, Obertan, Benny and Marv on the field at the end of the game set up to counter attack?

    Why do we end up with Jonas (who never gets out his own half even as a left wing) and Shola, Tiote and Perch ending off the game. With Perch perhaps the best passer of the lot to find a through ball to our only striker (Cisse) who himself isn’t lightning.

    Basically Three defensive midfielders and a donkey of a striker in front of a back four.

    Maybe it works like a charm in training… who knows.

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  12. If I were the opposition, with those players, I’d be too scared to push too far forward because of the danger of the counter.

    But if I knew I had a tired Cisse and a slow Shola to mark, it wouldn’t be a problem getting back to defend a “counter attack”.

    As poor as Obertan’s decision making is, I think we play better football with him in the team, simply because the opposition have to sit back to counter the threat of his pace.

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  13. Kim – I agree that Pardews style of football does not have them playing to their full potential. But while we have a squad of ‘footballers’ who could actually play and are young players who could be at the club for the next 5yrs or more, we need to give them reason to want to stay. We may not be winning trophies or be in Europe, but if we are playing a style of football they enjoy and there is improvement – Swansea spring to mind, then they may stay.
    If its a case of loose Pardew for a more positive manager or loose these players to the Pardew way then it’s a no brainer for me like.

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  14. JJ – I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m not a fan of Obertan. I think he’s an athlete rather than a footballer, he’d be a decent championship player but he’s not a PL player IMO.
    However, when the club released Ranger and Xisco – 2 CFs, I was left to believe that the likes of Obertan may be used in a more advanced role and I certainly thought that Campbell would have been used more.
    I’m not sure if there is a question over Goofys fitness and that’s the reason for the inevitable replacement with Shola. But IMO, Campbell would be a far better ‘like for like’ change.
    The lad isn’t known by defenders and as such would be far more difficult to mark that Shola.

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  15. I’m so furious with AP I could write for hours. Bit like you JJ!! There are so many things bothering me about his management but the worst one is around the new players. He’s turned an adventurous attacking full back into an average Joe English full back who rarely crosses the half way line. He’s taken a decent striker and turned him into a deep lying defensive left winger . He’s taken a big strong box to box midfielder and played him as a number 10 who looks lost and needs much more space to get into his stride. Even Mbiwa has always played on the right of the CD. He’s totally destroyed Benny’s season with terrible management of his hamstring injury. His faith in players like Shola, Obertan, Williamson, Gosling, Simpson is totally misguided.
    Lastly our football is ****e.

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  16. Newkie,
    Really? Are you now going to try start a debate saying we don’t sit on our leads?

    Really?
    You are beginning to strike me as someone who argues simply for the sake of it rather than actually making a decent point.

    Do you understand the statement “DEFENDING A ONE GOAL LEAD”

    It refers to the fact that we defend once we have gone AHEAD.

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  17. Ba 90th minute equaliser against Everton away.

    Ba 83rd minute equaliser against Reading away.

    Cisse injury time winner at West Brom at home.

    Ba injury time goal to lose 1-2 to Stoke away.

    Shola 81st minute winner vs QPR at home.

    Sissoko injury time winner against Chelsea at home.

    Cisse injury time winner vs Stoke at home.

    Cisse injury time winner vs Fulham at home.

    The above are our late goals this season…

    ALL of the late goals have either been to snatch a victory at home against weak opposition (Chelsea aside – although we nearly threw that away I will give credit to Pardew for continueing to attack).
    Or they have been away draws snatched in the final minutes as we desperately search for an equaliser.

    This only indicates that Pardew ONLY attacks in the second half we absolutely nessessary, (ie. we are a goal down or we are drawing at home to lowly opposition).

    Never, not once, was there a late goal to finish off the opposition – WHY – because we ALWAYS sit back and try to defend our one goal leads.

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  18. Newkie – granted we have scored acouple of last minute goals, but overall the play in the 2nd half tends to be more negative and not just this season either. If you think back to last season and the Fulham away match would be a prime example. First half we ripped them apart – they should have been scared to come back out for the 2nd half. I accept that you could equally use the Arsenal 4-4 game as an example to contradict that, but I just never feel that as the players come out for the 2nd half we are going to kick on.

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  19. As far as I can see, we haven’t won a single game this seaon where we have been behind at half time. (why, because the second we equalise we sit back and defend again).

    And we have thrown away five games in which we have been leading at half time. (why, because when we go into the break with a lead, we sit back and try to defend it in the second half).

    There are even a few games like at Villa where we won, but we desperately tried to give the game back to them despite being 2-0 up and in full control at half time.

    Our negative shut up shop attitude allows for a complete momentum shift.

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  20. JJ-I don’t disagree for the most part, I just knew that would set you off. Although, I do think pards has the capability of successful counter attacking football-don’t quote me on this but I do believe last year we scored the most quick breaks.

    Although this was definitely down to the reintroduction of Benny playing as a forward. Pardew doesnt seem to have additional plans to change how we play. I’m still at a loss to our shocking defence, I do agree we put ourselves under pressure, but I don’t know why it’s so much worse than last year. Form/injuries come into it, but nobody seems to know where their team mates are or what their job is.

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  21. Sharpy@247-as I recall last year v Fulham we got destroyed because we were still SO HIGH up the pitch. Pardew didn’t tell them to sit back, but the introduction of Johnson destroyed us. Yes, definitely pards at fault for not reacting HOWEVER you can not say that was us switching to defense mode mate because it wasn’t, we got caught because of our high line.

    In fact our high line drew constant criticism from fans last year…well, whenever we lost or conceded anyway….

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  22. Newkie,

    Apart from the Wigan game at home where we played against 10 men for 80 minutes.

    Can you tell me of one game where – once we had taken the lead – we didn’t defend it the second half?

    Can you tell me of one game, that we actually went on to double our lead or managed to put the game beyond our opponents and went on to dominate them in the second half?

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  23. Agreed Sharpy. It was the same last season. QPR, Blackburn come to mind straight away. They absolutely battered us in the second half. Villa this season too. He’s a rubbish manager who plays the games as he did as a player. No skill, lots of running about, hard tackles etc. Awful!

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  24. Newkie,

    Last season we had about 11 clearances off the line. We had some desperate defending to get results. QPR comes to mind.

    I would say it was our defending in the first half of the season that got us our positition.

    It was remarkable. But it was never going to last. You can’t constantly desperately defend without eventually bucking.

    Also, the opposition would have analysed videos from last year and worked out weaknesses that they have exploited this year.

    Last year, Simpson cleared so many off the line. Taylor towards the end of the season did the same and Krul was the best goal keeper in the league.

    The type of football Pardew plays, if the defence holds out, everyone will say they were exceptional! If they don’t they were terrible!

    Personally, I’d like people to say our defence was average, because they had little to do because we spent most of our time in possession and in the opponents half – we have to players to do this against every side apart from the top 5/6 teams. Yet we are out played by nearly everyone.

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  25. Newkie,

    We were done in that game but only because we had Willo defending against a pacey attacker. So to play a high line with WIllo is suicide.

    With Yanga in there now surely he is capable of getting back?

    This is why weak players like Shola and Willo shouldn’t be near the first team unless the game suits them. Like an away game against Stoke.

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  26. Newkie – perhaps that’s it then mate, maybe that is why he goes so defensive now. I wasn’t suggesting that the Fulham game was down to being defensive it was more an example of a game of us being so dominant in the 1st half and things going so different in the 2nd – basically us not seeing a game out which we started so well.
    We certainly agree that Pardew didn’t react and that is regularly a problem.

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  27. Chelsea I’d agree with.

    We went behind and then levelled but Pardew went for the win… and it payed off. He should have learned from that!

    Southampton was another were we led at half time. Sat back and tried to defend. They had us under huge pressure in the second half and equalised through Lallana.

    Only a fortunate penalty from a harsh hand ball decision where Debuchy blasted a cross onto his arm gave us the lead. And then a fortunate own goal finished us off.

    Southampton had loads of chances to take the lead in that game. The result flattered us greatly.

    But I’m glad you agree for the most part πŸ˜†

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  28. jj-true, but i don’t see why we were not capable of at least getting near that level of defending as we have apparently replaced the weak links. For every good clearance there was a clamour saying that if williamson wasn’t on the pitch we wouldn’t concede half as many goals. Equally fans said simmo didn’t do his job and therefore had to clear because he previously made a mistake. Perhaps this season we look on it heroically but there was much anger at the time…just go to every match thread and look.

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  29. Newkie,
    That’s what bugs me the most. I used to defend Pardew because he didn’t really have the personnel. But since then we have made improvements to the team. Got in a pacey centre back, a full back who can cross and get up field etc. Yet his tactics remain exactly the same.

    So I can’t defend him any longer. He is clearly the problem.

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  30. Newkie,

    I think Willo was decent but slow as a defender. I blamed him for the defense needing to sit deep.

    Simmo, I always backed as a defender. He is solid as a rock. But in offense he gave the ball away because he can’t pass.

    However, like you say. New better players have come in. And we still play the same tactics. We still sit deep, we still concede? So do we KEEP blaming the players? Are they all bad? Or do we blame the manager for negative tactics and making the players look bad by using them in a flawed system which doesn’t suit them?

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  31. I guess we’re all saying in a roundabout way that Pardew’s **** and has to go. I’d rather have no manager. If he stays we may have a slightly better season next year, but the football and style will still be rubbish. I can’t stand the thought.

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  32. JJ-don’t really agree as i don’t get the whole hyperbole we were lucky to win, I thought we deserved it tbh. They scored in the first few mins of both halves when we seemed disorganised, and we took the lead back twice. If that isn’t good enough for you not sure what to say.

    Sharpy-aye, perhaps one game shattered his confidence, huddersfield fans said the same of clark and his attacking footie

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  33. Look at what Pards has done with the players with flair…

    Jonas, skillful pacey left wing (couldn’t ever cross), reverted to DM and now LB (now he isn’t skillful, nor pacey, and still can’t cross but can tackle).

    Ben Arfa (played at right wing, left wing) but hardly ever played at no. 10

    Sissoko, played at no.10, right wing and left wing, should be box to box but still hasn’t played there.

    Cisse, played at right wing for most of the season.

    I mean, this is the same man who couldn’t find a starting position for Tevez when at West Ham. New manager and Tevez scores loads to keep West Ham up.

    So what was Pards waiting for???

    To me, he jst doesn’t have a positive approach to anything. He is always too careful, to negative.

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  34. Georgio,
    The more I look at the stats, the figures and what Pardew has done the more my dislike for him as a manager grows.

    Not my dislike for his as a man, but as the type of manager I want in control of my club.

    I simply cannot believe people don’t want better for this club.

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  35. My fury continues. All of us could see early season that Cabaye was tired and unfit. Pardew waited til he was depressed and injured before acting. He’s talked the aggression so far out of Tiote’s game that the bloke’s useless now. He’s managed Benny’s injury incredibly badly. A bad hamstring leaves you out for 2-3 months max. It’s now 6 months and he’s nowhere near fit. These are probably our 3 most influential players. And he fell out with Colo who will never forgive him.

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  36. jj-“still sit deep” =as i said, pards got constantly criticised for high line last year. No idea if you were one of them but people did. Highlights my points re fickle fan criticism, which is my main gripe with the anti-pards stuff.

    Anyway, back to work

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  37. Obviously i meant attack is the best form of defence…

    But at the end of the day the players miss chance after chance after chance on saturday and that was before pardew had chance to tell them to defend. If they score we don’t have a problem.

    It happens with all managers in trouble, they’re more concerned with not losing than winning and maybe he has lost a bit of confidence…Players need to help him.

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  38. http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11095/8665430/

    This is the kind of **** that grates me!

    We are three points from 11th, and we if we beat West Ham, we have a chance of finishing top ten…

    But our #$%# manager says he just wants us to finish 17th and he’s happy.

    Great #%$ing attitude!!

    Maybe try give your fans a reason to cheer this seaon you prick and maybe a bit of positive thinking will be transfered to your players.

    “We are going to fight to finish as high as possible!”

    “We’ll be pushing to be the top team in the North East!”

    But no…

    “Honestly #puke… I’ll be happy with 17th… I reallly will.”

    @#$% off Pardew!

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  39. Georgio
    You forgot to mention how badly he handled Cisse at the start of the season.

    He focused the team around a player who never wanted to be here and was always leaving.

    Coudn’t have done a worse job this season if he tried his best to…

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  40. Newkie/JJ – I honestly think Pardew has the personel within the squad, but he needs to set them up differently. I’d like to see him go with this:

    —————— Krul ——————
    Debuchy – Colo – MYM – Santon
    —– Anita – Cabaye – Marv ——-
    ————— Sissoko —————-
    ——– Cisse —- Gouffran ———

    You could move Cabaye in place of Anita and drop Sissoko back for Benny behind the front 2. Some may want Jonas or Tiote in the or who ever, but I honestly believe that formation would give us better cover defensively but also better attacking options with more support for Cisse.

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  41. “If we can get over the line, our fans know we have a good group of players. When everybody is fit and we can get one or two new signings in there we are a top-10 team.”

    I thought this seasons target was top eight? That was knowing we had Europe to play and without the likes of Debuchy, Sissoko, Mbiwa, Hadiara and Gouffran.

    No we’ve improved on the squad, we don’t have the distraction of Europe and he is already setting himself a “safe” target of 10th next season.

    I guess at the end of the season, we’ll have a new five year plan. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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  42. pardew is a excuse himself,if there is none he will make one up he should be on the stage (sweeping it) how thick does he think fans are,the pitch was bad ffs theres two teams playing on it,and how does the pitch have anything to do with hoof ball the mans a clown imo

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  43. I am sure Pardew picks eleven names and thinks that will do. Benny never is and never will be a right winger. Sissoko is not a second striker. Marveux is a central player not a left winger. Gouffran is not a left winger. Jonas not a full back. You could go on and on with this. Come May 22nd he has to go.

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  44. Bit of both, The players bought in january have improved the squad and the european run was exciting but it has seriously damaged the league form, The buck always stops with the manager and he is rightly getting more than his fair share but the root cause is Ashley. He pulled the rug from under Pardews feet.

    We should have built on last season in the summer, The club chose not to push through the Douglas, Debuchy and De Jong deals. Leaving us without adequate cover in our weakest positions and having to fulfill another 14 fixtures with a weaker squad than last season.

    Pardew even mentioned on the wireless in the summer about wanting to bring in a coach to work solely on the set pieces, Naturally it never happened. They couldnt possibly spare a few hundred quid a week to vastly improve our attacking options. Hopefully they revisit this and sense prevails this time round.

    Its been a deflating ****ingly ****e season and the sooner we get to 40 points the better as it puts this one to bed and allows the planning to start in earnest…

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  45. CC-Aye, I can’t help but wonder how different things would have been if we had troops in the summer and hadn’t allowed injuries and the Ba/Cisse debacle to snowball into poor results, form etc that have completely destroyed the confidence of/in the manager and the side as a whole. No question pards should have done better, but if we can get reorganised during the summer then pards should have a few more months I reckon, unless we do go for a top manager

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  46. CC
    I agree that Ashley should have bought in the summer, but that only excuses Pardew to a certain degree.

    Even with the players we had until January, they should have been good enough for a top ten place IMO. We should have been around 10/12th then and with new signings we should have been finishing in the top ten.

    I don’t see Europe as an adaquate excuse for being THIS bad…

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  47. Aussie,
    I should hope you get. But I don’t see you bringing up much in the way of football discussion today… You should try it. πŸ˜†

    Come up with another top and I’d be more than willing to put my point of view forward…

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  48. Regarding our set pieces, mainly our corners… maybe our players should stop ****en hugging each other as the ball is kicked and attack the ball instead. Corners are not rocket science, read the balls flight and attack the thing.

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  49. Aussie,
    I agree, but again, that is clearly a “taught” tactic to avoid being picked up or marked by the opposition.
    It clearly doesn’t work because we end up marking each other and non of the players we have in the box seem to get up in the air to attack the ball.

    I’ve said for a while Cabaye’s deliveries aren’t as bad as the players piss poor attempts to actually attack the ball.

    I would say who should be responsible for the ridiculous set piece routines but I don’t think that is nessessary. πŸ˜‰

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  50. AMF imo the reason JJ bangs on is he loves the toon and if he sees things he does not like he says so which is where the blog comes in plus he makes many good points,ime not saying you dont love the toon also but i find it strange after living over there and knowing aussies as i do i have never know them to take things lying down they say it as it is huff or please,if your happy the way things are going at toon good for you,you go with it mate

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  51. JJ, πŸ™‚ even dumb luck should mean we would hack one across the line. It staggers me that we haven’t got a goal for so long. It says to me we have no one with real arial ability more than **** tactics..

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  52. Apologies for the easy folks but after the weekends performance, it got me thinking about the importance of stability to a club…

    Stability, it’s the cornerstone to every successful club. Manchester Utd have it, Arsenal have it, Everton and to even some extent Wigan. The common factor is all have had managers in place for over X amount of seasons. Manchester Utd have had championship success, Arsenal continue to qualify for CL, Everton now regularly challenge for top 6 and Wigan continue to defy odds and stay in the division.

    So is the reason these clubs have been successful is down to the fact, they’ve had managers in place to grow and develop their teams? Well if I’m honest yes, and with their achievements it’s hard not to suggest otherwise.

    It’s as a result of this approach that owners now believe that in order to bring success to a club, stability in the manager in needed. But is this always the case? Owen Coyle achieved great things in his first season with Bolton, however in his second they struggled tremendously. The board were at a crossroads and decided to stick with their man believing he was the one to lead them out of danger – he wasn’t and they were relegated. Steve Kean at crisis club Blackburn, as they are now known. The writing was on the wall for everyone to see but the owners believed that there best cause for success came sticking with their man – history will tell otherwise.

    The point I’m trying to make is while stability is all well and good but in order for it to work, you must have the right man in place – while there might be inevitable struggles there needs to be clear identifying points that despite the bad – there are plenty good to build on. If there isn’t then the persistence for stability can have the total opposite effect.

    As a club NUfC has craved stability. X of managers in X years is not a recipe for success, however sticking with a management team that is not taking the club in the right direction is not either.

    Despite the backlash I think it was a good result Saturday. WBA is never an easy place to go to and pick up points and we’ve taken 4 off them this season. However, it is not the result that concerns with me, it is the way and approach we set up with that does – playing players out of position, ineffective subs, and an overly defensive approach suggests to me that this is a club not going in the right direction. On paper this is a good result however, anyone who watched this knew they were there for the taking. Yes we had chances but this doesn’t excuse the setup, which we’ve seen countless times all season.

    All season we’ve been tactically poor. The long ball football we play is not to a standard, which complements our players. The players are playing well below what is expected or capable of, and finally the youth prospects coming through do not look capable of equally prepared to make the step up. While the players do take a huge amount of responsibility for this, so does the management more so.

    Going back to my original point stability is key and while it can bring success it’s imperative that the right personnel are in place to implement it.

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  53. Aussie,
    I think apart from Saylor we don’t have anyone who is great in the air. Although Gouffran actually has a decent record. And surely Mbiwa can head a ball.

    But if – like you say we don’t have anyone who can header. Then why don’t we play it short – like Barcelona do.

    We do we play the most long balls in the league? And we do we aim our crosses for the head instead of drilling low crosses into the players feet?

    So we get Carroll back here next season. Does that leave Cisse on the bench? Or does he go back to right wing? Or do we go back to 4-4-2 and sell the likes of Ben Arfa who don’t really fit in with that system?

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  54. I see the Toon are linked with a pre-season tour to South Africa (Cape Town) along with Everton and Liverpool.

    Best I get my ticket booked so I can give some of them an earful.

    Last time Jenas was out here with Spurs I was at his table at a players dinner, with Robbie Keane.

    Gave Jenas a lot of flack for his goldfish bowls statement. πŸ˜†

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  55. Ice, you couldn’t be more wrong mate. I am totally pissed off with how we are going. Just because I don’t constantly bang on about all the **** that pisses me off, doesn’t mean I am less passionate about it. I say it once and leave it at that, I have said that Pardz is average at best but I won’t keep repeating it until everyone agrees. Fuk it is like sitting in a leaking boat and being told that the water is getting deeper every 5 minutes by the guy sitting next to you…..

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  56. JJ, that last comment was not aimed at you mate, just all the Pardew talk in general..

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  57. Aussie calm down lad at your age you need to watch your blood pressure.
    I will say one thing I agree with Aussie that after a while it does get on your nerves hearing the same points made about Pards, yeah we all know his tactics are ****e, he comes of with some ****e, he has us playing a type of hoofball that is ****e , of which we are ****e at it. But I think we’re stuck xith

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  58. Aussie,
    I don’t think you can compare football with a leaking boat.

    I don’t support a leaking boat. But if I had to use one that was constantly leaking and I had some sort of sentimental attachment to it, and nothing was being done about repairing the leak.

    Then I’d be a fool to just have my say once and leave it to slowly sink without constantly making a case for it to be fixed.

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  59. Wasn’t comparing the football we are playing as a leaking boat JJ, just the constant criticism….

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