The nature of the game!

“We’re three games away from a crisis. That’s the nature of the game. You can’t get carried away.”

“We’re doing well. Everyone’s working really hard everyone’s in with each other. It’s no different to last year except we’re winning games. We’ve got a couple of guys who can score goals. I’m no different to where I was last year.”

Winners are grinners!
Winners are grinners!

Those words are from Perth Glory manager Kenny Lowe after his team clinched top spot and another A League victory on the weekend. If you take a look at a Pardew quote about our recent run of good results it appears the two men a reading from the same hymn book.
Pardew says “”In my younger days I might have been carried away by a run like this, but now I won’t.

“The results are much better and confidence is high and we’ll just keep doing what we’ve done from the start of the season.”

It really does highlight the fickle nature of football and the demands that are placed on players and managers. A few weeks back Pardew couldn’t take a trick and it is pretty to safe to say that no fan would have shed a tear if he was sacked. Sure some would have questioned the sacking but realistically, most would have rejoiced the fact! Now after a few wins the pressure has lifted some what and there is a small ground swell of support for Pardew and his staff. However, there can be no doubt that if we were to lose a few games on the trot, that small amount of support will dry up as quickly as it appeared. Pardew is fully aware of this and you can see that his comments are a little more guarded these days for fear of getting too far ahead of himself.
When we talk about players, take a look at Obertan and Abeid, two players that were almost deemed surplus to requirements at the start of the season. No one could have foreseen the emergence of Abeid and the resurgence of Obertan. Pardew has dropped a few of his trade mark quotes stating that he always kind of knew that Obertan and Abeid had it in them to make a mark but you have to take what he is saying with a large pinch (bucket) of salt. Both players have played well once given the chance to start and Abeid in particular has generated some excitement with his no nonsense displays in the middle of the park. Like Pardew, a few bad performances will see their stock drop dramatically and given the cut throat nature of the game, they might not see playing time again other than brief substitute performances. Players do have one major advantage in regards to their fortunes and that is they are in control of their own game and how they perform is squarely on their shoulders. Most fans will cut some slack for a player who is down on form if they are giving their all. However if the effort or commitment isn’t there, players can go from hero to zero in a heart beat.
Fans are fickle, that can’t be argued but when you take into account the emotional investment they put into supporting their team, it is hardly surprising. We all want our team to do as well as possible and losses are hard to take. Losses can erode patience, rational and create doubt amongst fans and when you add a large portion of emotion and passion, it is not hard to see why the fortunes of managers and players can swing so quickly from good to bad.
This is football though, it is nothing new and it won’t be changing any time soon, it kind of reminds me of an old saying – “Winners are grinners and losers can’t be choosers”
So let’s enjoy this moment while we can!

489 thoughts on “The nature of the game!

  1. And another thing. I remember when most considered Ryan Taylor a bit part player and not worth a place except for his free kicks, and even then it was debatable with Cabaye and Ben Arfa in the team. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder, as now he is the second coming of Andrea Pirlo and up for Sainthood.

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  2. So Eric…

    Elliot
    Cisse
    Raylor (I think Anita will start)
    Rivière
    Gouffran
    Arma
    Street or Satka

    In the circumstances, not too bad a bench.

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  3. Eric Sykes@451…he is a bit part player mate…
    However, the bloke has to be respected for the way he has come back after 2 horrendous years…great stuff !

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  4. Eric Sykes@450… I have them both 😉 …

    Watching FC Bayern play really is just a fantastic experience…. which made the toons “gash” period even harder to stomach… Don’t worry though mate, my heart is and will always be black and white

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  5. What sort of club have we become when after we find out an employee has cancer 20 days later we tell him to find alternative employment. Heartless and Classless

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  6. TLR, the people who made the decision probably didn’t think they were doing anything wrong …. absolute morons if you ask me…

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  7. Im saying that kind of opposition because they are 2nd bottom and have a shocking away record. I like Austin, Caulker, Barton, Hoilett & Isla all good players but we are the better side, Have home advantage, Are in red hot form and have the incentive of jumping into the europa/champions league spots (For an hour or two at least) with a win.

    It has to be three points and anything less is a failiure, Even without Taylor & Colo imho

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  8. Meh. He was surplus goods way before he got sick and was loaned out to Norwich as a result. Were they then supposed to put him in the team because he got sick? And they still paid his wages. Don’t see the issue really

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  9. GTE @452: but some of the first team weren’t considered to be first team – Perez, Sammy and Haidara. Taylor has had one cup game. Pardew was saying Cabella wasn’t worth the money and was too lightweight only a couple of weeks ago 🙂 Add in Williamson, everybody’s favourite, and we have a total change to what was expected. Admittedly, partly through injuries which are horrendous and any team would suffer.

    Wenger and Van Gaal keep yapping on about their injuries with their mega-expensive squads so I will give Pardew a pass this time if he mentions them.

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  10. MM just trying to bring some balance on Ryan Taylor. I agree that it is inspirational to see him fight his way back but he is not worth a place in the team unless we have an injury situation like this weekend.

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  11. Toby – it’s an absolute disgrace, and for Pardew to pass it off today as ‘for footballing reasons’ was just sickening IMO. For nobody to have come out and said that the club handled that situation badly is cowardly – particularly as our medical staff failed to identify it!.
    When you consider the support that Villa have to Petrov, but hey business is business isn’t it.

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  12. I would like to be wrong about Raylor because you have to admire his spirit, but I agree with Eric that Raylor is not quite good enough simply because he lacks pace. I don’t think he will have improved in this respect two years on from when he last featured regularly.

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  13. Don’t get me wrong, Eric and Groucho, I agree, Raylor is not first eleven, or even first 15 material, he might make a first 18 – ot just his lack of pace, but his thinking speed (I remember the home game vs Arsenal in the relegation season being shocked at his dithering). But in this younger squad, and in the absence of a Barton or a Nolan figure (neither with pace) he’s likely a good squad / training pitch influence.

    As for tomorrow, yes, we still ought to win. QPR have improved a lot in the last month, so season record isn’t a great guide, and Austin can be dangerous, especially to our likely back two, so we need to keep playing the zippy passing game we’ve been doing through midfield.

    2-1, Perez, Ameobi. – Austin ?

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  14. I see there is a pic going about of Tiote wearing an Arse top, does the guy have any sense or respect for our fans.
    As for QPR I just hope we can keep the winning streak going.

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  15. BD – the bloke’s just plain thick and that’s how he plays football.

    Him , Willo and Cisse were the main reasons for our general crap play this whole year. Not only no football intelligence but no general intelligence and very very limited footballing skills!

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  16. I loved Barton’s role in that 4-4. Was Barton the last footballer with a real (if dysfunctional) personality we’ll see?

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  17. GTE – it’s Napoli who have shown the most interest in Tiote and have been linked with the £12m move. Though if Arsenal want to start a biding war then that’s fine 😆
    I have to say that I’ve generally been a fan of Toots like, but he’s never looked better than in that 3 man midfield with Cabs and Jonas.

    I’m not sure about the Barton love though mate. The blokes a thug and a gob****e as far as I’m concerned.

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  18. Sharpy – are you the Arsenal fan I once sat in front of at The Emirates – my dad nearly decked him with his crutch for calling ploy Joey names 🙂

    barton’s had serious problems, no question, but at one time a properly good footballer, and for my money he’s got himself sober and in counselling, which I have to admire, but I can see it’s probably not a popular view.

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  19. I dare bet Arsenal with Viera, Kanu, Wreh, Toure, Lauren etc. in the late 90s/early 00s were a favourite of many young african lads.

    Id be more enclined to flog him because he barely plays & us having plenty of decent midfield options. We definately need to strengthen up top and at centre half if selling Tiote in january helped us do so…

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  20. Lets face it we don’t knw the full story with Jonas

    If he told the club he had cancer and they told him to find another club then that is really really poor and they should hang heads in shame

    If they told him to find another club and then found out later he had cancer then fair enough.

    He did play a few games for Norwich at the start of his loan so I presume it wasn’t obvious he had it then ( or they wouldn’t have signed him on loan )

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  21. GTE – it wasn’t me mate, I couldn’t bleedin afford a ticket at the Emirates!!.
    Far be it from me to upset your dad further, but it will take more than a fortnight in The Priory to convince me that Barton is anything more than a moron. His appearance on Question Time not so long back convinced me of that.
    From a footballing point of view i was fuming with him for getting sent off against Lpool in our relegation season. Such a pointless 2 footed tackle at a time when Shearer needed him – and the club had stood by him while he was in jail.

    CC – Even if Tiote was a fan of Arsenal as a kid, he’s played at NUFC long enough to know that wearing an Arsenal top would piss toon fans off.
    I agree though, sell him in Jan and strengthen the defence. I really like Grant Hanley at Bburn, and long term I reckon he and Lascelles could form a good partnership. We could try and get him for around £5m and then see if Chelsea would take the other £7m for Mo Salah.

    SteveP – apparently Jonas was told 20 days after finding out about his cancer. Like I say, for a club that stood by Barton when he was sent down, to then not show the same support to Jonas is just disgusting!!.
    Especially when you consider he was such a big part of Pardews finishing 5th season.

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  22. I see Adam Campbell is off the Hartlepool on loan and Callum Roberts will be in the squad for QPR.

    What’s the scouting report on Roberts? I know some of you saw him in the youth match the other week….

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  23. GTE I always thought Barton was a jackass and a distraction- clearly he had anger issues so good to see he’s doing something about it. Still I really enjoyed him as a footballer and thought he was terrific for us for long spells and always put a shift in. You need a few tough minded hard nose players in every squad

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  24. MDS – check out The Mag today – bit of video of Callum Roberts. Apart from that goal he’s been getting rave reviews for the U21s. Looks a great prospect.

    You need a few tough minded hard nose players in every squad – could have been talking Jonas there too. Great guy!

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  25. Callum Roberts looks a good prospect, from the little (2 and a bit games) I’ve seen. Quick and quite tricky, but what I really like is that he’s always thinking, head-up, aware of team mates. Must be too soon for the Prem, though (he’ll probably come on in the 72nd minute to rescue us three points, now).

    MDS and Sharpy – agree, the Liverpool tackle was ridiculous, but i still think that dressing rooms need oddball characters like Barton, especially when things get tough. One of the grape at things about footballers, no two opinions the same.

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  26. I see Pistol Peter Lovenkrands has retired from playing. Even though he was a former Rangers player, I always loved his style.

    His goal on the day his father had died is still the most emotional moment I’ve seen in football. You felt it was fate he’d get a goal for having the balls and professionalism to play that game and he seemed to rise about 8 feet to get the header.

    Probably my top moment of being a Newcastle fan.

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  27. Dare I come on or will everyone suddenly appear out of the woodwork claiming they can’t post for me. 😆

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  28. Well, I’ve been given a ticket for the platinum club tomorrow and I have decided to go. Not a penny of my money will be going into Ashleys coffers and I will support Pards and the team.

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  29. Eric @446 asks:

    “So, with perfect hindsight who would you rely on Vuckic, Street and Satka or MBiwa, Marveaux and Ben Arfa? What do you say to that Troy?”

    I know that someone as clever as Troy doesn’t need me to answer questions on his behalf but I think that there’s something here that’s being overlooked.

    There is a rule which states that clubs aren’t allowed to name in their PL squads more than 17 players who don’t qualify as homegrown. The problem is that we’ve got 19 who are currently under contract, ie:

    1 Abeid
    2 Anita
    3 Ben Arfa
    4 Cabella
    5 Cisse
    6 Coloccini
    7 De Jong
    8 Ferreyra
    9 Gouffran
    10 Haidara
    11 Janmaat
    12 Jonas
    13 Marveaux
    14 Obertan
    15 Riviere
    16 Santon
    17 Sissoko
    18 Tiote
    19 Yanga-Mbiwa

    The point is that it was always going to be necessary for 2 of those 19 players to be excluded from the 25 man squad anyway. I must admit that Marveaux and Ben Arfa wouldn’t have been my first two choices, but with the benefit of hindsight, maybe it wasn’t such a bad call after all.

    As far as Mbiwa is concerned, I still don’t believe that it was ever Pardew’s intention (or Ashley’s, for that matter) to allow him to leave without bringing in a suitable replacement. I still believe they were left with no other option simply because of a mistake by Charnley when calculating the total number of over-age players in the roster and that they didn’t realise, until it was too late, that there was simply no room in the 25 man squad for any further additions.

    It’s all too easy, especially with hindsight, to say what people shouldn’t have done, but it’s not always clear what they should have done instead.

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