One of the most anticipated managerial appointments of the past twelve months has finally been done and dusted, much to the bereavement of Newcastle supporters the world-over. Alan Pardew was announced as Newcastle United’s next manager early this afternoon, signed on a massive five and a half year contract and charged with the task of carrying the team further up the table than the board believed his predecessor, the now departed Chris Hughton, could do.
If ever an appointment could be as underwhelming by the Newcastle board’s decision to appoint Alan Pardew as the “man to take the club forward”, than it can only matched by how surprisingly predictable Chris Hughton’s dismissal was in the first place. A board who has time and time again shown the negligence that the Newcastle board has, and one that is incapable of seeing that their belief in their own know-how of the inner-workings of professional football is little more than elementary, will never be able to turn around the fortunes of the club.
The board, it should be noted, has been the same two men who have been in place since Dennis Wise’s departure in April of 2009- owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias (of London’s Fifty Club fame, where coincidentally friendships blossomed with both Pardew and Ashley, its fruition presumably now coming full-circle). And with two men, supposed good ol’ mates, completely, utterly, 100% in charge of Newcastle United Football Club, is it any wonder that their first choice would be none other than their other good mate, who just happens to be a run-of-the-mill English football manager?
Quite possibly there has been too much put to offer in regards to the three’s friendship, but, as what’s left of the logical thinking Geordies who still turn up for games, forking out inane amounts of their wages for a few hours watching a couple of boys who can clear what they make annually in a month, in some cases a week, is it wrong for them to have been content with the track the club was on? Festering in mid-table mediocrity I now think anyone would have been pleased with, as the notion of becoming a yo-yo team that seemingly annually, or at best every few years, is hop-scotching from one league to another is becoming more of a reality with every decision that Mike Ashley makes.
The one thing that Newcastle fans do know full well is that a team with the inability to solidify their positions in a certain league after some time will not have the luxury of residual players on 80k a week, who were unable to find clubs in the close season, virtually guarantee themselves entry back into England‘s top flight. Quite possibly how many more seasons one could envision Fabricio Coloccini, Andy Carroll or Jose Enrique willing to step down from their obvious standards for a club as unstable as Newcastle remains up for debate. But with Enrique, who behind Tiote has quite possibly been the player of the season for the club thus far (see quite possibly his best performance in a toon shirt in the recent draw with Chelsea) calling forward “big names” in order to keep this club from once again becoming a “joke”, one has to wonder how far his patience will wear for a place he admittedly loves. And with the realization now that in fact there never were any “big names” in the running and that a certain Martin Jol’s departure from Ajax just turned out to be happenstance, one must wonder of his feelings now, and the team’s for that matter, do not coincide with those of his inept employers.
Newcastle take on Liverpool this coming Saturday at 17:30 GMT from St. James’ Park, televised live on ESPN. Fox Soccer Channel will also be broadcasting the game live in the United States, kick of at local 12:30 EST.
*Coincidentally, Newcastle’s last meeting with Liverpool at SJP in the top flight took place in their relegation campaign season two years ago, 2nd of January, 2009, in which they were thrashed 5-1 in front of a full stadium. After the match, Shay Given lamented the performance “embarrassing” and a month later the Newcastle captain was plying his trade in Manchester. Newcastle fans can only hope the forthcoming match this weekend does not signify the same turn in fortunes.
What do you think? Are you optimistic by the hiring of Pardew? And since he’s coming on board with so little excitement, is the only way he can go is up since people have such low expectations for him?