I’m of the opinion that what is required to follow Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United is an armour plated set of balls because you are going to spend a lot of time having them kicked in frequently and with some passion. This latest derby defeat was as clear an example of this as any as I can remember in a long while following this fucked up football club of ours. There is not a worse team in the Premier League than Sunderland. There is not a team who were owed a good doing from us than Sunderland but whilst Pardew pathetically blames the officials for this second successive derby defeat, it is he and his players who have big questions to answer. It’s notable they won’t be supplying them to the local press but I’ll pick that up later.
Once again, an Alan Pardew team started a game with less commitment and purpose than the opposition. On the back foot. They start on the front foot every now and again but far too often they just aren’t at it. This was another one of these occasions. It’s a default position of the supporters of defeated teams in derbies to bemoan a lack of commitment but well, we were second to so many balls, didn’t win the second balls and to my amazement, we didn’t win the battle for the middle of the park until the second half. That is a commitment issue I’m afraid. Pardew has a question to answer concerning the motivation of his team.
Then of course there is the way we were set up. Frankly, for much of this game, Hatem Ben Arfa was a waste of a shirt, whilst Cisse, Sissoko, Gouffran and Remy barely got their boots dirty. When a clearly fucked Shola comes on and looks our most accomplished striker, I’m afraid something is going badly wrong. Whether Pardew’s coaching will reduce the potency of Remy as it appears to have done with Cisse remains to be seen but as an attacking force we were dire. We were strung out all over the pitch, too often the man in possession had no options and we just didn’t look like a unit. 4-3-3, HBA as a centre-forward? It didn’t work at Sunderland.
We did have a 20-minute spell following the equaliser and I did allow myself to believe we were going to press forward for a winner but credit to Poyet, he changed things around and stifled what was coming to look like a growing dominance. He drew our sting and coped with us. He’s a better manager than Pardew but maybe that is damning with feint praise. Poyet has won three out of the last three encounters with Pardew. All with inferior teams. The Mackems won the game from a superb shot – the kind of shot we didn’t muster all game. Or anything like it.
It’s my opinion this result will fatally wound Pardew. We have Man City (h)-LC), Chelsea (h) and Spurs (a) before Chris Hughton brings Norwich to SJP for what I suspect will be an excruciating game for our manager. For me, the writing is on the wall for him, he is on the walk out of SJP – supposedly now unwanted by Ashley (barely more than 12 months since he was given an 8-year contract) and his stock is falling amongst the faithful. Analysis of his record in Gallowgate puts him behind another ex-West Ham manager, Glenn Roeder, who at least could win derbies, although he is barely remembered.
Who Ashley will get to replace him remains to be seen now thepossibles – McLaren and Poyet are now gainfully employed elsewhere and I really can’t imagine anyone with any credibility wanting to work for Ashley or even more laughably, Kinnear. Kinnear in the dug-out? Well, Mike get your foot down hard on the metal to another relegation. Over the top?
Watch this space.
Next up we’ll have Man City in the League Cup at SJP. The game is live on SKY, the club’s Finance Director, John Irving, at the initial Fans Forum, helpfully informed us the cups aren’t a priority for United and on the back of this latest debacle I can’t imagine there will be a stampede for tickets. I expect Pardew will use fringe players for this game and I expect we’ll lose and this will give Ashley a grim satisfaction I’d guess.
Then we have Chelsea on Saturday at St James’ Park and I can’t help but fear the worst. Mourinho’s men are many people’s tips for the title (they are mine) and you know, given the lack of nous in the dug-out and bottle in the team, I don’t think we’ve got a fucking chance.
So then, Ashley has instructed the manager not to speak to The Chronicle, The Journal and the Sunday Sun because of the publicity those newspapers gave to the Time 4 Change march before the Liverpool game. I can’t adequately describe my contempt for this brattish petulance. He’s also handed something of a PR coup to the Time 4 Change campaign group and we all know now for certain that a man with more wealth than we will ever know is a thin-skinned bully (just my opinion) who gets a bottom lip on if the supporters express their entirely justified feelings about him. The truth is, for all the sneering that some fans do towards Time 4 Change, they are an outlet of dis-satisfaction whilst others repeat their mantra – it won’t do any good – and do nothing. Well, if nothing else, we know he is extremely sensitive to protests and must loathe the bad publicity they bring him and his businesses. For that reason alone, they should be continued. If they play any role whatsoever in pushing him a millimetre closer to selling up then they are worthwhile.
Regular readers of this drivel and in the fanzine will be aware of our dissatisfaction with the lack of real, in-depth analysis of the club from the local press. So much has been overlooked – the club’s financial affairs are barely examined for example but now they have the opportunity to conduct some proper journalism and be liberated from the transfer tittle-tattle and knack-knee stories that bore us all to tears. This could be the best thing to ever happen to the Thomson House titles. They just have to have the balls to make that step from sycophantic club PR to practising a real journalism that exposes the reality of Mike Ashley’s lamentable running of Newcastle United. Come on, do something worthwhile ….
Everything you read on this website and in the fanzines for the rest of the season is dedicated to the memory of Lou Reed – RIP