I am completely of the view that there will not be the possibility of real change at Newcastle United until Mike Ashley sells up and is replaced with someone who takes the club seriously as a sporting institution and has some kind of ambition for it. However, it is possible in the interim for some progress to be made even with Ashley there but he must realise that Alan Pardew will never deliver it.
I am absolutely stunned when I hear supporters asking for Pardew to be given 10 games to prove himself, echoing requests the manager has made. They have apparently forgotten the 38 games he had last season and the one before that one. They are failing to see the players regressing under his coaching and the talent he is wasting. I’m not talking about HBA – the cause celebre of those who loathe Pardew as I think that lad, supremely gifted though he is, is a pish poor professional and so many of his gutless displays are being excused. I am thinking about Krul, Santon, Marveaux, Mbwia, Sissoko, Cisse – all players who are going backwards on his watch. Will the names Cabella, de Jong, Aarons be added to that list? Give him time.
In normal circumstances I would agree with the view that this new clutch of players need time to settle but this is Newcastle United where players are spun in and out of the club to generate a profit for Ashley so every player that comes in must hit the ground running. A team isn’t being built at United so patience isn’t the right virtue. They have to come in and deliver immediately. So far, they look like they aren’t doing that but I really don’t think they can be held to account. These are players who have been painstakingly scouted by Graeme Carr but currently look lost in a system barely worthy of the description and a tactical approach which is bedevilled with the problems we have witnessed for two seasons now, namely a complete lack of adventure and creativity.
This is a particular bug bear of mine but our performance from set-pieces and corners is simply atrocious. God knows what goes on at Benton but whatever it is, it isn’t working. It is absolutely appalling. Free kicks are routinely squandered, corners either fail to clear the first man, go straight into the hands of the ‘keeper or are cleared without a United player attacking the ball.
Then yesterday, the defending for the three goals conceded, particularly the last one was straightforwardly unprofessional. The claim made by Pardew that the excitement of the crowd affected his players, should tell you everything you need to know about the complete charlatan we now have in our midst. The sooner he is at his level with Brentford, so much the better. I don’t think the arch-bull-shitters we have had it in that dug-out – Allardyce or Souness would have come out with the garbage this gob-shite is now treating us too.
He should go and go quickly. Now is the right time. We have an international break. Its unlikely new players are going to come in during the last few hours of the window ( though they might go out as Ashley looks to squeeze every penny he can from United) and it is completely spurious to ask who can manage our club other than this oaf.
Here are a few names, all of whom have achieved more than Pardew and have greater potential – Neil Lennon, David Moyes, Michael Laudrup, Frank de Boer or Didier Deschamps – the last two bold admittedly but perhaps what we require given the strategy we have towards player recruitment. Knowing Ashley, we’ll probably get Malky Mackay.
However, in summary, there are options but there is no case to be made for retaining Pardew. His recent record – P 22 W 5 D 3 L 14 scored 17 conceded 50. It stinks.
Pardew’s saving grace is that many fans believe we can’t do any better than him while Ashley is there. Maybe, maybe not but I strongly believe Pardew’s position is untenable. When I see banners displayed of him such as that enclosed outside SJP on match-day, when I see another of HBA done up as Che Guevara as a direct challenge towards him as well as reflect upon how last season ended, I can’t help but conclude he’s falling into quick-sand and he is finished.
What would help him however is proper investment in the squad. We don’t just want money recycled from the sales of Ba, Cabaye and Debuchy. The team needs more than that. It needs a goal-scorer desperately and it needs a commanding central defender. That will cost but there has to be money there. There just has to be. No money has been invested in real terms for three successive windows yet the club’s income has increased via the new TV deals, new sponsorship deals and God knows what else. Where is the money going?
We are now into the last two days of the window. I personally believe we are more likely to sell than buy with the smart money on Tiote and HBA exiting the club. But you never know. Whether Ashley wants players out the door before he’ll sanction incomers – probably likely – isn’t clear but if we continue to fill the payroll with average players like Anita, Goufrann, Obertan etc. we will continue to struggle.
We and many others have been saying all summer, actually since ba left over 18 months ago, that the club needed to sign a goal-scorer. It has failed to do so and whilst Riviere, Ayoze, Ferreya might, fingers crossed, just might get a few goals, in truth we know what they are – attempts to fill a vital position – on the cheap. It’s never worked before and it won’t work now.
This Saturday coming is Non-League Day and we’ll be doing our bit to support our friends in neighbours in the Conference, Blue Square Premier, Northern League and Northern Alliance. We’ll be relying on our allies at FOR THE LOVE OF FOOTBALL for their expertise and knowledge for top tips as to where we might spend this coming Saturday so keep an eye on the site and we’ll have some gen for you.
We are currently working really hard putting together the next issue of true faith (TF114). It will be ready for the 8/Sep/14 and it is already looking like a cracking issue dealing with the issues impacting upon Newcastle United especially but also the wider game and of course are links with exiled fans at various points on the globe. We also have some exceptional pieces on the history of the club and fantastic nostalgia articles as well. As ever, it will be 100 pages long and taking out a subscription now will get you access to the previous two exclusively DIGITAL issues we have done – the massive summer special and the first issue of the new season. Not only that there is access to a back catalogue of 30+ issues we have done in our previous hard copy format.
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I’m not sure it can be described as good news but it will come as a merciful relief for his family that the remains of John Alder have now been formally identified. John’s family and friends will have the comfort of giving him a decent funeral just like Liam Sweeney. I’m sure the club and supporters will give all the support required to the family of John Alder when it comes to the time of the funeral. Following the tragedy I had feared the mourning and tributes for John and Liam might have become mawkish but as SJP rose on Saturday on the 17th minute for sixty seconds of applause on Saturday gone, I think it’s safe to say, they haven’t. It was heartfelt and whilst there are great divisions between some elements of our support, I think for John and Liam there is great recognition we have lost two lads who were B&W to the core and lost their lives travelling to the other side of the world to follow our club. Personally, I hope we do this 17th minute tribute at every game this season.
Many thanks to those of you who have decided to back the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation’s little pocket rocket of energy and commitment to a brilliant cause, the redoubtable, Liz Luff. Liz is running the Great North Run for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and is after some sponsorship. All of your fivers and tenners go to an exceptionally worthy cause. Liz won’t thank me saying for it but there are loads of people who do lots of really brilliant things for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, but from where I’m sitting, there isn’t anyone more committed than Liz.
Let’s show our appreciation for Liz’s work by sponsoring her. Click here.
Many thanks to all of you who have dropped us a line to give good feedback about the first true faith : VIDEO BLOG of the new season. That was very encouraging. Alex Hurst did a great job and provided some interesting opinions and delivered them very well. If you haven’t seen it yet, click here.
We will be recording the second true faith : VIDEO BLOG of the season this coming week and our guest will be Chris Brolly. Lots of you will know Chris’ name from the excellent Blogs he did for true faith while he was out teaching in Senegal last year. Chris’ piece in the current issue of true faith (TF113) about his trip to an away game with some lads he’d befriended over there is some of the best writing we have ever had in the fanzine. It was really top class. Chris is now back home these days and we’ll have him as our guest this week. There are some big talking points to get through this week, not least of which involves Alan Pardew’s future at United and the transfer window which will close this Monday night. Keep an eye on the site for Chris.
We really owe a big debt of thanks to Matt Flynn who is doing all of the hard-work for us with these Video Blogs.
We do intend to make the true faith : VIDEO BLOGS a regular feature of what we do with the fanzine but to take us to another level, we’d ideally need them to generate some money, so we can then invest in new kit. We are looking for sponsorship of the VIDEO BLOGS, quite a modest sum of money in all honesty, so if you are interested, please drop us a line at email@example.com
Many, many thanks to all of you who have bought our various pin badges and bucket hats over the last few weeks! They have proven to be extremely popular. The whole idea with the merchandise we are doing is to provide items which have some kind of meaning to the club’s history, our civic and regional pride as well as our supporter culture. We don’t think you are getting that from anywhere right now so we’ve decided to have a pop at it and so far it’s working.
The profit true faith will make from the merchandise will, like the small profit we make from the fanzine and everything else will be reinvested in improving everything else we’re doing, so those of you do buy merchandise from us will see the benefits later down the line via true faith as well as have quality items as well.
Take a look at what we’ve got here.
It’s not just VIDEO BLOGS that we could use sponsorship money for. If we are to take true faith to another level of fan expression and professionalise what we’re doing with the available technology we’ll need an income to achieve that. As I’ve said previously, all of the profits raised via true faith – the fanzine and the merchandise is going to be reinvested so we can make further investments in what we do here.
So, if you fancy taking out advertising with true faith – via the fanzine, website, SATURDAY SPECIAL newsletter, podcasts and video blogs – or everything, drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll have a natter about it. We’re offering very modest rates and as one of the country’s biggest and most widely read and respected fanzines we will provide value for money.
Our true faith : SATURDAY SPECIAL newsletter appears to be growing in popularity judging by the sign-ups. This is our fanzine-within-fanzine and as you might have guessed by the title comes out of a Saturday morning, just as you are blinking into the day-light.
The SATURDAY SPECIAL is the work of our Deputy Editor Gareth Harrison and our design genius in residence, Mr Glenn Ashcroft Esq. It gives the once over on what’s happening at United via Gareth’s lens but also some of the wider issues in football that week. Gareth will also give you a reminder of the stuff you might have missed through the week via true faith as well.
My own preference is to read the Saturday Special on my smart-phone en-route to the match but it’s also ideal on PCs, tablets, lap-tops, i-pads, you name it.
All you need to do get signed up for the SATURDAY SPECIAL is click here.
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Well, it hasn’t taken long for the mood around Newcastle United to darken early into the new season and on the basis of what we’ve seen so far, this season looks like being much the same as the last. New players, critical to us, have to come in now and money needs to be invested. But the manager needs to be replaced and replaced quickly.