THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Responsibility – 20/Apr/14

by • April 20, 2014 • TBAWEComments (30)2094

I don’t know a single Mag who wants Alan Pardew to remain as manager of Newcastle Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier LeagueUnited FC. I cannot detect a single voice putting up a cogent argument in defence of a man who is now breaking all kinds of unwanted records at our club. I didn’t think we would have a worse manager at United than Graeme Souness in my life-time but I think we now do. There is no question about it, Pardew has lost the confidence of the support and it would appear the players too.

In some ways, it is unfair on Pardew. For all of his managerial short-comings, he is not the sole reason why a team doing so well before Christmas has simply imploded. The squad is performing as many of us predicted it would back in the summer because we recognised its lack of strength in depth. Last close-season, Mike Ashley made the baffling decision to appoint Joe Kinnear as Director of Football and although the half-wit has departed his legacy remains in a woefully under-strength pool that lost its fulcrum with the sale of Yohan Cabaye in January. Selling Cabaye switched the light out on this team.

Personally, for all the discussion of Pardew’s failings: the tactics, team-selections, coaching, fallings out with players, substitutions and startling admission he can’t motivate his team, I do feel what we neglect to recognise is the role of Cabaye on and off the park. We all recognise the excellence of Cabaye’s contribution, he is one of the best central-midfielders we’ve had at the club in the last thirty years but in my view, his stature and his seniority with the other French players in particular provided leadership and direction for them. The absence of his ability, competitiveness and leadership on the pitch as well as off it has left Pardew’s team looking like a pisshead riding a bike with a buckled wheel.

Of course, Cabaye is replaceable. We have seen better players than Yohan Cabaye leave the club but the fact of the matter, the team was so tightly structured around Cabaye, tactically and almost emotionally that the failure to offer a new dimension, a new way of playing has left the team and manager utterly bereft.

If the manager has lost the confidence of the players, then that is understandable as he has lost the confidence of the supporters. Pardew has consistently promised us things would happen, particularly signings would be made and they have not. As far back as last summer Pardew was promising us players were being lined up to be signed. We know they were not. Now, you have to ask was that down to Pardew being promised by Kinnear or Ashley that deals were in development which did not come to fruition or was he deliberately misleading supporters and media?

Or was he, like Kevin Keegan stated plainly, the victim of Mike Ashley’s deliberate deceit of misleading the manager that attempts were being made to sign players but then being rowed back against when it came to sealing the signings we needed?

Remember, the hand of Mike Ashley in all of this. This isn’t the first time United has been in a position to kick on under Ashley only for the owner to row back. Remember the good place the club was in after KK’s return at the end of the 07/08 season only for that to utterly unravel under Ashley-Wise-Llambias when ultimately; Keegan would expose those men as liars in a legally constituted tribunal? Remember the promotion, followed by a statement about “no capital outlay”? Remember finishing fifth in the PL and then completely failing to strengthen the squad to cement our place at the top of the PL? Remember finishing 13 points ahead of Liverpool in that season (only the season before last) but utterly squandering our opportunity to push on? Remember this season, remember being in an excellent position on Boxing Day but then Ashley’s manoeuvring to sell Cabaye and as such finish the season? If he could have declared and maintained our PL status then, he would have, I’m absolutely sure.

This is why I remind you, Alan Pardew is simply the puppet, the stooge of Ashley, a man who has no real interest or ambition in Newcastle United beyond it providing a global bill-board for his shops.

I do not absolve the players though. There is a compelling argument that certain players have been Pardewed but at the same time, a player like Hatem Ben Arfa, so supremely gifted and with so much potential, is so clearly, so obviously, an utterly appalling professional. Ben Arfa has been unfit, namely over-weight for eighteen months. Now, there may be justifiable questions as to how Ben Arfa’s fitness was monitored whilst he was injured and back in France last season and how he was managed over a pre-season when strength and fitness are worked upon but no-one can say Ben Arfa is absolved of responsibility for allowing his physical condition to become the issue it has. Let us not forget either that senior professionals at the club have approached the manager and coaching staff at the club to raise questions about Ben Arfa’s attitude on and off the pitch.

I am sympathetic to the view that a better man-manager than Pardew would have coaxed more from Ben Arfa and we all imagine what KK and SBR would have got from Hatem. That is a strong argument against Pardew but if team-mates are complaining about him being in the team and having watched his flashes of genius subsumed in a complete disinterest in doing other vital work on the pitch then you have to wonder about the lad himself. We don’t see how hard he trains but we do see a lad who looks heavy and sluggish. It is a crying shame but Ben Arfa is squandering his own talent. He is a professional athlete but he isn’t behaving in that manner.

Where Pardew is open to question is in the widespread decline of other individuals in the squad, namely, Marveaux, who is a talented footballer in my opinion but also Santon, who has gone backwards since his early promise, Mbwia and even Krul who has lost his commanding presence of a couple of seasons ago. Sissoko’s play is often direction-less.

Steven Taylor may have tired us with all of the fist-pumps and chest beating but no-one will tell me he isn’t a better central defender than Mike Williamson, whose honest endeavour is blinding us to his Championship quality. Taylor is a better central defender than Williamson but he is another who has lost his way under Pardew. Whether Taylor’s lack of progress is due to a deteriorating relationship with the club because of his agent, Willie McKay, I could only speculate upon.

Cisse, so potent in his first few months with the club looks absolutely shot. Played out of position to accommodate Demba Ba’s moods and then asked to perform a target man role for the team last season has left him shattered. Follow that up with the club’s dubious response to his genuine concerns regarding Ashley’s shirt sponsor and him being touted for sale across anywhere from the Middle East to the Russian steppes and you are left with a pretty demoralised No.9.

There are others – Bigigrama, a lad who had played 20 games in the Championship for Coventry the season before we signed him and played regularly in the PL last season has vanished from view. Don’t laugh but Pardew has not been able to coax anything from Obertan either.

But I don’t blame Pardew for the chronic lack of talent that has come though the Academy’s ranks to be available for selection. I don’t blame Pardew for the Academy’s failure to achieve Cat 1 status at the same time as everyone else.

I don’t blame Pardew for being only able to call upon Shola Ameobi and Luuk De Jong as his striking options, though I do question Cisse being stuck wide right.

The point I’m making is that behind everything, despite Pardew’s abundant and growing limitations to manage a large PL football club is Mike Ashley, undermining, manoeuvring, working his own agenda from Berkshire, cold, disinterested, dispassionate, looking only at the bottom line and dreaming of putting the club in such a position he can get it sold and make that handsome profit he dreams about, forever sore at having his pants taken down in the deal to buy United from Shepherd/Hall in 2007.

The day Ashley leaves United will be a very, very good one but leave he will and that thought should sustain us through these grim days.


We’ll be doing something this week we’ve done 110 times before but for the last time. We’ll be sending TF111 to the printers. It will be the last issue we’ll have on paper before we move to a 100% Digital format with our summer special (TF112). It’s a bittersweet moment for all of us who have been involved with true faith from its earliest days because we’ve all worked hard to develop it into what it is today, namely one of the best fanzines in the country and something many of you tell us you really value. I understand completely what many of you have expressed about the sadness about leaving print behind because you value what we’ve been knocking out. That is very flattering. I’m sure I’ll be a little emotional myself (soft shite klaxon) when I make the trip to the printers this week to pick up my own personal TF stash for the last time. But having had discussions this week with others about the Digital TF format have me absolutely convinced this isn’t the end of an era but the beginning of another. The potential is enormous.

That said, TF111 does mark the end of a big part of what we’ve been trying to achieve for you over the last fifteen years and it’s a cracking issue which will inform and entertain in equal measure, with brilliant design and complete originality. It will be in the shops this weekend and everyone here very much hopes you buy the little fellas.


Chin up, we’re Newcastle United … and we’ll never be defeated!



Keep On, Keepin’ On …  TF_INITIALS_LOGO

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30 Responses to THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Responsibility – 20/Apr/14

  1. WhoArYa says:

    Chin up, we’re Newcastle United … and we’ll never be defeated!

    Agree with this but looking forward to Ashley selling out to someone he is happy to sell to fills me with more worry than putting up with him.

    There is another “Brendon Rodgers/Roberto Martinez” out there for us but remember one swallow doesn’t make a summer and one of them just got a club relegated?
    However an excellent manager will lead us to a better place and Pardiola looks like he has hit the deck.

    We are going Monday night v Arsenal and we are praying for a miracle.

  2. Ande Walsh says:

    Pardew being put out in front of the audience has yet to perform his last humiliating act. The final fall from grace has been engineered through negligence. Next season the new cheap arrivals that will take time to bed in will fall short & an already wounded Pardew will bite the bullet. He will take the fall and his dethronement will make the gullible masses think all has changed. The gallery sated.

  3. Bob says:

    Michael, I agree with all of this. The comment about Ashley only wanting to provide a global billboard for his shops is plainly true but, as I’ve mentioned before, why can’t he see the potential to “kick on” and provide an even bigger billboard? Maybe he didn’t get enough publicity in our European campaign. Of course it requires investment but that didn’t mean huge sums like Manchester City or Chelsea. it would cost him but surely the rewards are greater? At the time we finished 5th it would have been great even just to get the two players a year that Charnley goes on about. We know Carr can do a great job although there are bound to be some failures. I believe we had a chance to get Bony but weren’t prepared to go that extra million or so (although I’m sure the attraction of Laudrup might have had an effect) we probably could have made a push for Sturridge when teams were just thinking it over. Adding two or three players (the two or three that Pardew continually entices us with) when we finished fifth could have made a big difference to the following season and helped to retain players like Cabaye. There are no guarantees but I would have been willing to bet we would have been nowhere near relegation and may have done better in Europe.
    The loss of form of Cisse has been criminal and, like you, I was astonished yesterday when he was played on the right. To add to your list, Pardew obviously doesn’t learn by his mistakes either. Why wasn’t Armstrong played from the start – lets see just what he can do given a chance – and to take a midfielder off when they were strong in midfield???
    As you say, chin up and all that. We should know by now – this being NUFC!

  4. Bob says:

    Oh and add delusional to the list. He said after the game that had he been in the dugout he would have prevented their last minute goal. Yea, right!

  5. David says:

    A good assessment of where we are, and, it is important to remind ourselves that AP is the puppet.

    I have always taken the view that AP is just so glad to be a PL Manager that he will spout any kind of crap to toe the line and keep the job. He knows that once he is gone from NUFC there is practically no chance of him getting another post for any stretch of time. At NUFC he has the chance to promote himself and deflect responsibility by quoting circumstances beyond his control. He doesn’t need to be a good tactical manager, he doesn’t need to be good people manager, he just needs to survive under Ashley by following instruction and achieving the minimum.

    I do question any professional who acts in this way. He has no opportunity to excel in his chosen craft and he accepts that. He accepts mediocrity and being Ashley’s mouthpiece.

    • Mal says:

      Pardew’s big mistake was not flexing his muscles and demanding the extra investment that was required when we finished 5th and qualified for Europe. If Ashley had refused he could have walked into another top job; in fact his stock was so high then he may even have become England’s manager. Instead he has toed the party line to such an extent he has lost all credibility and continually talks what can only be described as garbage. He, and his coaching staff, are clearly not up to the job. He is on borrowed time but unfortunately nothing will change until Ashley sells up as no one in their right mind who is any good will take the job. Between them all they have almost destroyed our club; no passion, no ambition. But he will go eventually; I just hope we get someone who can take us forward.

  6. tony says:

    Pardew out, Pulis in. Might Ashley be thinking this to keep us on the gravy train, Pulis’s target for the season 17th? Ashley’s exit can’t come soon enough, how much money do you need anyway? greedy twat

  7. Matt Flynn says:

    Pardew is complicit. A politician who says what be thinks people want to hear and devoid of any obvious altruistic principles. And a poor one at that. Unable to understand the implications of his inarticulate ramblings or remember what line he was spinning last week.

  8. Paul Brown says:

    A perceptive and insightful article. I agree that Pardew can only be as good as the environment he works in and the resources and infrastructure available to him. That said, if we were a serious football club he wouldn’t get anywhere near being manager.

    Bob makes a valid point about Ashley creating a bigger billboard for Shite Direct I believe there are two reasons he doesn’t. Firstly the investment required with no guarantee of success and therefore ROI and secondly he genuinely doesn’t like us after the Keegan debacle in 2008. Apparently even in his business dealings he is a spoilt, vindictive bully who forever holds grudges.

    We are where we are and I worry about where it will end up.

  9. mikey says:

    I agree with much of this but i detect a slight tone of ‘wait until ashley leaves’ which,while one day he will leave, i don’t think we just be prepared just to hang on to that idea.

    What if he’s here for another 5 years? Another decade? 15 years? Are we prepared to just sit around and wait?

    For my twopennies worth as in individual Newcastle fan, i would suggest that all the groups and fanzines call for a Fans Summit over the summer. I would be prepared to help organise and i only suggest the existing groups (like yourselves, MAOC, The Mag etc) cos they can get the message out.

    At that Crisis Summit we can thrash out any and all ideas to get the bastard out, invite up the Liverpool lads who got rid of their lot successfully to share ideas, get the arguments out, clear the air and maybe form a new organisation towards this end that fans not affiliated to anyone can get involved with.

    I think we’re going down next season, i really do, i’ve never felt so low about our club, it just isn;t ours anymore, and i think in spite of the lacklustre response by most fans this year (perhaps because of our good first half) i feel the apathy turning to anger amongst a lt of my mates.

    There is nowt to look forward to except getting him out, so lets get stuck into that.

  10. Niall Fleming says:

    Spot on re Cabaye, I wondered if it was just me who had seen this.

    The flaw in the Ashley strategy, if it is a “strategy”, is that to bring in players of ability and sell them on, investing some of the proceeds in successors, requires an able manager and coaching set up. We haven’t got that. Contrast what Everton and Southampton have done in the last few years. Remember the panic when Tiote and Jonas were the subject of big money speculation? What would they fetch now?

    Ashley will not follow the normal route for selling a business and certainly not NUFC. He can rely on 50000 gates and free PR for Sports Direct until someone approaches him.

    So the souless ennui will continue. He isn’t bothered. Conventional “protests” are a waste of time.

    The role of TF should be to pull together high net worth individuals and financial experts, and they exist among supporters, to act together to find a genuine big money investor to buy the club.

    It won’t be easy but the legacy could be a club that is owned and funded such that it could become a powerhouse for the city and wider community.

    It only requires belief. It only requires focus.

    So come on Michael, break free from your inhibitions and make a start. What do you have to lose?

    • Oh Niall, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry if I’m the great white hope of Newcastle United mate.

      • Niall Fleming says:

        Something to tell your grandkids.

      • Alan says:

        You’re not Mr Martin, nor really should it be implied you are. That said, with the value of nearly six years of hindsight, if you cast your mind back to September 2008 and the lead up to the Hull City game, don’t you think it might’ve been a better idea for prominent NUFC publications to advocate something slightly more ‘militant’ then a don’t have a pie protest? A 50,000 plus crowd for the post taking the piss out of Keegan game laid the seeds for Ashley realising he can do what the fuck he likes here and he’s done precisely that. In an area that once prided it self on a strong sense of community it turns my stomach that one fat southener is being allowed seemingly unhindered to take the piss out of an entire region while the natives lie over and have their bellies tickled as he does so. Unless there’s a massive mood swing, (and it WILL need prompting) it would appear to me we have two hopes. . . one day, somewhere in world Ashley bumps into one of the many nutter Geordies we both went to the matches with in the 70s and 80s and they kick the living shit out of him. Or he does a Mathew Harding in his helicopter. Either way it’ll be cause of celebration rivaling the departure from this mortal coil of Thatcher.

  11. Big Stan says:

    Agree ref the part that Pardew is only a stooge in all of this and at last the players are mentioned. Hate the ‘Pardewed’ analogy. Look, your a professional fucking footballer, you get hansomely paid to give your all every game, anything less and you alone are solely responsible. Too much “get out of our club” and “pardew out” for my liking and not enough “your not fit to wear the shirt”. You have
    mentioned the fans favourite HBA who clearly couldnt give a flying fuck about his fitness, his teammates questioning his play and lets not eulogise what KK, SBR or Mourinho could get out of him cos lets face it, if he was the real deal, he wouldnt be plying his trade(sic) at st james park. What about the other fans favourite, argentinian pro and el capitain? How many ricks lately, school boy shit on Saturday, again. I think you hit the nail on the head on your Twitter feed last week, when you listed and posted photos of ex mags who had “Heart” this current crop have lost what they had of one ages ago, and that is their fault and their fault alone.

  12. john rush says:

    For the second week in a row aplayer we reportedly refused to pay the going rate for scores against us and the irony is the loss of prize money for lost places as a result is probably more than ashley would have had to pay to sign them. Im sick of the who could do better than pardew crap. He cant change things and cant respond when other coaches change tactics, even a limited manager like steve bruce won a match against us by making a slight tweak at half time that pardew couldn’t work out and did the same last week to lead his side to a cup final. Never mind Liverpool I watched everton comfortably beating a man u team that beat us without getting out of first gear two weeks ago with pace and power and playing for each other. The manager had a plan which worked perfectly. Then at the end you see bill kenwright a busy man based in london actually at the game supporting his team as they cha
    llenge for a top four place. That would do for a deluded newcastle supporter like me.

  13. Ali Johnson says:

    Another spot on analysis from Mr. Martin. If only Pardew and his absent master could see what we see. Could hear what we hear. Could feel what we feel. If they could be arsed like any fan, they would show some tangible leadership and responsibility.
    Pardew is finished. No one in this business can survive the performamces and the results that his players have served up. He is a dead man walking. If only. His master will pull the strings and he will dance as he has always done to his tune. A decent manager should also be a decent man … Far better to have respect and keep your dignity than to cling on to power and offer more outlandish claims with each new embarrassing defeat. To me Pardew is morphing in to Joke Kinnear.
    Yes, selling Cabaye ripped the heart and heartbeat of the team. Yes, we have too many French players. Without their Gaul comrade and leader, the whole team has disintegrated in to a mess.
    I can’t offer a solution except it will be more of the same pain until the master and his Pinocchio (his nose is very long) puppet are gone. Sadly, our decline is the opposite of Liverpool. They have a plan, top 2 scorers in the PL, playing good football, clever man management etc.

  14. Phil Carmichael says:

    Last summer I could not credit that Bony could choose Swansea instead of NUFC. I can see he made the right choice now. Which worries me about who will replace Pardew. Who would want to join this cowboy outfit?
    I’m sad to say that I can’t see us winning another match this season, and that it may be for the best, as that would be the only way we’ll see anything change.

  15. Jayne NUFC says:

    Very good read…..The only thing that does keep me going in these dark, dark days at NUFC is that one day Ashley WILL BE GONE, but sooner rather than later

  16. Bob says:


  17. andy mc says:

    How long till Rangers hit the heights again as then and only then will he leave after increasing his holding in them, do FA rules allow joint ownership of two clubs even in separate Countries?

    • Not if they can compete in the same tournaments and we can – Europa League and don’t laugh, Champions League. Its one or the other. Mike, may I give you directions to Paisley Rd West.

      • Bob says:

        Aren’t Chelsea getting investigated for exactly this? Their feeder club in Holland, Twente which is effecitvely owned by Ambramovich. The alledged issue is that Chelsea were telling Twente to deliberately not qualify for Europe because then there would be a risk of Chelsea not being allowed to compete.

        The same situation could happen at Newcastle. Ashley telling whoever manages Newcastle to avoid Europe like the plague to stop it impacting on Rangers.

        • andy mc says:

          The best case is that the FCB slowly increases his stake in Rangers until he has to choose and I’d imagine a controlling interest in Rangers will be able to be acquired on the cheap (at present anyway). The Jocks love their replica kit and the potential market for Rangers is Worldwide

          • I’d push him in a wheelbarrow to Govan.

          • SteveP says:

            He might get his hands on Rangers far sooner and far cheaper than he imagines, they had to take a loan from a couple of directors of £1.5M in February to pay February and March’s wage bill. They have agreed to almost wongaesque interest rates to these directors as they desperately needed the cash.
            The auditors notes basically say that the company is a basket case of debt and intrigue and investing in them would be a huge mistake.
            Is it any wonder they’re on the brink again when they buy top division (in Scotland) quality players to play in the 4th tier against plumbers, electricians, pistmen and joiners every week whilst paying their manager £800,000pa when every other manager in that division is probably mot on over £50k a year. He’s not called Fat Salary for nothing up here.
            The club is losing between £600k and £1.35M a month depending on which report you read, so they’re prime for somebody with a bit spare cash to invest and clear debts (didn’t somebody we know do that at NUFC quite recently???? 😉 )

  18. David R says:

    I’d pay to see that!! Just the thought of Ye Ed heaving the FCB up the A1 has cheered me up no end.

  19. andy mc says:

    I suspect he will buy them for the nominal pound but under write their losses, has anyone worked out why we are always passed over by wealthy buyers? is it our distance from London?
    At present we’re a modest team with much to be modest about