Amongst Newcastle fans, there is a term they use to describe what has happened to key members of their squad – “Pardewed”. Now – what does this mean? We aim to shed some light on the matter.
Story So Far…
Alan is now into his 3rd full season (not counting the 5-6 months when he was first appointed) – and he was barely the fans choice, simply a cheap manager who wouldn’t argue with Mike Ashley, who did not want a repeat of the fabled Kevin Keegan debarcle by appointing someone with significant stature in the footballing world. Season number one went amazingly, with the team playing attractive football and qualifying for Europe. Some thought it was a fluke, Newcastle fans said otherwise.
The 12/13 season was pretty much a disaster. Minor investment left the side short on players, and when the youth players failed to provide adequate back up for the main squad (Purples, Oranges, Blues…whatever the system it was a long winded way of saying they were relying on fringe players). Come January five players arrived – Sissoko, Mbiwa, Debuchy, Gouffran and Haidara – with most if not all making a significant contribution to survive, and reach the quarters of the Europa League. Gone was the swagger of the previous season, with an injury hit campaign bringing the fans back down to earth.
Lastly this season – again no investment, just two loan signings in the last two windows (Lets not get on to Joe Kinnear) in Remy and De Jong, who both frankly look like leaving for different reasons – Remy can do better, and De Jong doesn’t quite cut the mustard it seems. The season has petered out, more injuries hitting key players, and the club is safe in mid-table, but losing most games, and struggling to score. Cisse is non-existant, Ben Arfa looks to have played his last game, Debuchy could well join Cabaye at PSG, Shola Ameobi should be playing in the MLS where the tempo is more his pace, Santon looks dreadful and could join Roma, M’biwa stinks of Titus Bramble, Tim Krul is starting to make mistakes and as for Sylvain Marveaux – he is just a myth, like Bigfoot. Does he exist? Who knows!
To make matters 10 times worse, Pards’ goes and headbutts David Meyler, landing himself in a rather deep hole and the club ridiculed yet again.
Now these players, be it Ben Arfa or Cisse, all came in as Top international players, at the top of their game. After an initial blast of good performances, they have slowly but surely declined. Cisse scored 12/13 goals in his first 6 months, Ben Arfa looked unstoppable at the back end of 11/12. What has happened? Positioning is a key point – Cisse was played wide right, Sissoko is played left wing, Anita was barely played at all for 12 months, Shola was played right wing (despite Ben Arfa being on the bench, itching to play). Mbiwa came in after a title winning season with Montpellier, as captain. Pardew insisted on playing Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson – often referred to as Laurel and Hardy after some ghastly performances.
Ben Arfa is the main issue – with him getting minimal time as it is, and when he does get time he is expected to produce the earth. He is the scapegoat for Pardew, with him citing that he needs to defend, to track back and help out. A point if I may say is insanely stupid. His mercurial talent should be utilised, not hindered. Did Sir Bobby, or even Souness, make Laurent Robert defend? No. He was told to stay away from that side, and concentrate on the attacking side of things – and he scored some astounding goals, with the team finishing in Europe more often than not. Having a player like those two defend is pointless – I have seen HBA give away numerous free kicks in dangerous areas because as an attacker he doesn’t do much tackling, ergo him defending is a risk.
Pardewed’ – taking talented players, and turning them into bumbling, confidence stricken bench warmers. And it seems he has done this to himself, gradually getting worse, blaming everything from tiredness (after a 2 week break) at one point, to the wind…
Well, it seems this summer brings a mass exodus – the French experiment could well end, with Marveaux (Another example of AP at his best) and Obertan looking like leaving, as well as a host of youth players. Some say anything below 10th could see Pardew’s position come under threat, and I believe like Hughton, Pardew cannot take the club any further. In his near 3 full season’s, the club have achieved Europe one, survived relegation and are now floating in mid-table, with nothing to play for in the next 6 games, bar maybe his job. You could say that last 3 seasons have shown the 3 sides of Alan – the good, the bad and the ugly.
If he does stay, he may want to return to the good old fashioned English players he knows only too well – at Charlton, Reading, West Ham and Southampton he used a massive British player bias, freezing out the likes of Mascherano and Tevez, look where those two are now! Quite frankly I think he can’t handle players like Ben Arfa, nor has the tactical nouse to use them correctly, therefore under Pardew Newcastle may not improve beyond mid-table mediocraty.
One chink of light at the end of a gloomy tunnel – young Adam Armstrong – at 17 he looks a terrific talent, and has already appeared for the first team. Others like Lubo Satka and Rolando Aarons have also just signed new deals, with both travelling with the first team squad recently. Adam Campbell, James Tavernier and Haris Vuckic have all done well on loan, and could be added to the squad. The club is now self sufficient and made £9m this season.
One thing is clear – if Newcastle are to progress, they need to get rid of Pardew. He is out of his depth, at best an average manager and very arrogant, for a man who has achieved as little as he has. Should Ashley have an ounce of ambition he would see this, but the crux of things is that he doesn’t, and would rather spend nothing and barely survive, with the increased revenue making it worth keeping the club – although he did lend the club the best part of £150m to pay off loans, interest free.
However you look at it – Pardew has to shoulder most of the blame for what has happened. Players don’t go as bad as some have overnight, poor tactics and unsuitable training methods have taken their toll on some top players, and I would not blame them for wanting to leave – I feel sorry for them! If Pardew stay, the club may well go backwards. If he is replaced at the end of the season, and a better manager is hired, this current crop could achieve what they did 2 seasons ago.