A fascinating interview with former Mag James Perch has emerged from Planet Football today, seeing him make a host of explosive claims about Mike Ashley and Alan Pardew following his three-year stint at St James’ Park between 2010-2013.
The first of these sees him claim that Ashley ‘had influence on team selection’, saying he’d be picked by Pardew on the Friday then dropped out of nowhere the following morning – all because ‘Ashley wanted his better assets to play’.
Perch admits to meeting the NUFC owner on three occasions and believes his ‘biggest mistake’ was failing to invest after that 5th place finish in 2011/22 – feeling we could’ve been the new Leicester had we kicked on.
Here’s what the 35-year-old – who still plays in the EFL for Mansfield Town – has had to say, starting with his views on Mike Ashley:
“I met Mike Ashley three times. When I signed and when he came to the training ground a couple of times. I know he had influence on team selection. I’d be playing on the Friday, then on the morning of the game, Pardew would ring and say I wasn’t.
“I guess Ashley wanted his better assets to play, I wasn’t a £10-15million player like [Cheick] Tiote or Cabaye, I was just a lad from the Championship, even though I was playing better than them.
“Our biggest mistake was not pushing on the following year. We kind of just stood still, whereas you need to try to kick on.
“If you look at Leicester, they sold [Harry] Maguire and bought [Caglar] Soyuncu and [Wesley] Fofana. They’re now consistently challenging for Europe. Newcastle’s model is the wrong one; they think they can buy cheap and sell high and it doesn’t work like that.
“We’d had such a good season and we thought it was the time to spend some money because, at the time, Newcastle in the Europa League was massive, just the name was enough, people would come.
“But we didn’t do it and lost some key players like Demba. Big names are always going to leave when they see a club has no ambition.”
The ex-NUFC utility man then revealed why he hasn’t spoken to Alan Pardew in eight years and never will again.
Here’s what he told Planet Football about his exit – featuring false promises from the former Newcastle United boss and an insight into his classless man management towards Jonas Gutierrez:
“I left in a bit of a storm,”
“It wasn’t nice because the two years before were when I enjoyed it most at Newcastle. I was promised things that never happened. It was sad, but I thought it was best to leave then.
“Alan Pardew said I’d get a new contract in January 2013, but by the time the window had closed he’d signed a couple of players like [Moussa] Sissoko and [Massadio] Haidara and said, ‘We’re not going to offer you one now.’
“He’d got my hopes up and then just pulled it off the table.”
“I saw Jonas for lunch in Nottingham and he showed me what Pardew had said about him. He was one of the most professional players I ever played with and I love him to bits. I thought it was a disgrace and I will never speak to Pardew again. I’ve got no time for him.
“He was saying Jonas wasn’t good enough to do this and that, to be in his first team. As I was reading it, I was thinking, ‘Jonas played left-back because the gaffer needed him to, he played centre midfield because the gaffer needed him to.’
“It seemed like Jonas would do anything for Newcastle and anything for the manager. He played through injury and came back from injuries. All of it that I read, it was just wrong on so many levels.”
Some astonishing stuff from Perch – an honest and hard-working player who never really let us down during his time on Tyneside.