Newcastle Spyin Kop - Keep yer shirt in Pards

Posted by archie on April 25, 2013, 07:56:42 AM

Title inpsired by a disturbing pic of 'Pards' I saw yesterday when he got the gut out
for a celebration. You want to see it, go look for it yourself.

As it is Crucible time again this year (does anyone give a shit anymore?) I thought it best to find some
'knowledgable' supporters.

When that quest failed, I found these two brothers, friends of mine and Newcastle fans (pre 1996).

So, sum up the season, any relegation fears lingering?
Mark:
A few fears remain, but 3 more points should see us safe – I’m targeting West Ham away or QPR away for those.

Stephen: Some, we’ve proven in our recent past that we’re not too good to go down, and of the fixtures remaining I wouldn’t be confident of 3 points from any of them… However, looking at the run-in overall, Wigan are ultimately in a much more precarious position, and I think their time as perennial escapologists is over

Mike Ashley, all is forgiven? Was he/is he misunderstood?
Mark:
Wouldn’t say all is forgiven, but having a chairman/owner out of the spotlight is welcome change.  Don’t think he was misunderstood as I think he knows very little about owning and running a football (look no further than Dennis Wise’s appointment for evidence), but the transfer policy has been better aligned to what the club can afford.

Stephen: If Mike Ashley has been misunderstood, it has been at his own hand.  At best he can be considered as having an amateur grasp of PR, at worst bordering on contempt for the fans.  From drinking in the stands as ‘one of the boys’ to radio silence when explanations were required; pandering to the fans with the Messiah’s return, then undermining Keegan with the appointment of Wise; not giving Chris Hughton time to build upon a successful return to the Premiership, then offering Pardew one of the longest contracts in the Premiership era…
Such inconsistencies in character/policy aside, it’s difficult to see why Ashley would want to be the owner of a Premiership club… Another business adventure? A millionaire’s plaything?  A lover of the game?  It’s possible he considers it to be all three, but can he consider it worth the cost?  There’s no doubt he’s invested a considerable amount of money in the club (something his supporters, or at least those pundits labelling Toon fans as ‘unrealistic’ are always quick to point out…) so it is unlikely that he’ll wish to leave without recouping at least some of his losses – which with some inevitability has lead to our standing as something of a ‘selling club’ (see below).
Let’s not go into the ‘Sports Direct Arena’ nonsense.


Pardew, he’s going to be there in 2019-2020 season right? Thoughts on him as a manager?

Mark:
In terms of longevity it’s all about results – everyone is generally permitted one poor season as long as you don’t go down.  Finish 8th or above each season and he could be there; drop consistently into the bottom half and it’ll be Au Revior Pardieu…


Stephen: I was surprised and disappointed by the sacking of Hughton and subsequent appointment of Pardew.  On paper, a ‘like for like’ swap of mediocre Premiership managers, but I felt that at least Hughton had earned at least a full season in the top flight following promotion.
However, it’s unlikely that he would have bettered Pardew’s record last season and on the back of the team’s achievements in 2011-12, I had allowed myself some cautious optimism on the future of the club with Pards at the helm.  I couldn’t at the time bring myself to justify the length of contract offered, though, and had an instinctive rather than reasoned distrust of Llambias and Ashley’s ‘vision of stability’ (maybe I had been too influenced by the ‘cockney mafia’ paranoia from some sections of the stands…).
Now it seems that it could be in a position of being tested.  Could Pardew be sacked if we go down?  This doesn’t seem to be the season I’d opt to satisfy my curiosity given the apparent financial rewards of staying up…
All in all though, I don’t think my opinion of Pardew has changed much since he took over.  We were something of a surprise package last season, with the performances from Graham Carr era (dare I drop the phrase ‘Midas touch’?) signings as unforeseen as they were outstanding.  Credit where it is due, Pardew did capitalise on the abilities of Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Cisse, and Ba last season, but this season we seem to have been found out somewhat.  Pardew could point to some injury crises or the gruelling Europa league fixture list as mitigation for our standing at the end of this season, but it could also be that other managers have been able to do their homework on this squad or Pardew is out of ideas.
Reading this back, it does seem a bit harsh, but assuming we beat the drop, Pardew will have to put an end to performances such as that seen against the mackems or in the second half against West Brom – those that test the patience of fans and employers alike…


Who have been your best performers this season?
Mark: Krul has been very good without hitting the heights of last season.  Sissoko has arguably been the best of the January buys



Stephen: This season? Ba before exile, then probably Cabaye, Krul and Sissoko looks another good find. A lot of mediocrity, inconsistency or unavailability in the rest.


Do you expect Newcastle to hold on to all of their better players this summer?
Mark
: With the exception of Coloccini , yes – none of them have met the performances of last year, so are therefore less in the spotlight. 


Stephen: As mentioned previously, Ashley is not in the financial position to invest in ‘big name’ signings and more likely to adopt a policy of bringing relatively inexpensive foreign (seemingly French speaking) imports or loan players.  It’s difficult to argue against this strategy, but it is somewhat disheartening to see the successes (if they are owned by the club) move on elsewhere.  Ba was inevitable, but to be fair we didn’t have the firesale that was predicted last summer.  Maybe one positive outcome of such a disappointing season will be that the better players haven’t performed well enough to become transfer target. Would Arsenal fork out for Chiek Tiote now?

Any disappointments? Who would you like to be shown the door (if any)?
Mark
:I think Mike Williamson is very very far from Premiership standard.  Wouldn’t miss James Perch or Gabriel Obertan.


Stephen: Delighted to see the malignant Nile Ranger and Xisco go already.  As for the rest of the squad most, on their day, look like decent players with varying degrees of ability or consistency (is that the same as class?).  Though if I was forced to single out one player I felt had been given enough chances to prove himself and has always come up short, it’s Gabriel Obertan.  He was a good point of slagging to Man Utd fans when he was there and I think Pardew got mugged when Ferguson offloaded him.
And he looks like Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants…


What are Newcastle’s ambitions going forward?
Mark
: Stability would be nice; and avoiding boardroom generated headlines.  Top 6 finish and a good cup run should be the on-the-field targets.

Stephen: Difficult to know.  Pessimistically, securing Premiership status year after year might turn out to be as much as we can hope to achieve.  We’re never going to be Champions League stalwarts or likely Premiership contenders in the current climate, so let’s trot out the lines about challenging for a European place and having a decent cup run…
However, I would like to believe in the Ashley/Llambias dream of long term stability (in the top half of the table) and ultimately bringing home a trophy (I’d join in on that 100 pint bender, should the League Cup make it to Tyneside…).


So, West Ham are potless in the summer and can’t sign anyone. Andy Carroll you say?
Mark
: Yeah, I’d probably take him back.  In a blind taste test most players would pick Liverpool over Newcastle, and Carroll found the net with reasonable regularity in a black-and-white shirt.


Stephen:There was an element of bad blood left with Carroll’s transfer to Liverpool, with neither the player nor the club painting themselves in a particularly good light. In the end though I don’t think many of the fans are begrudging the cash made on a player of Carroll’s ability (we’ve still got some of that left, surely?) and would probably be accepted back without too much issue – at the very least regarded as ‘a good bit of business’ – but I don’t think it likely.  It might be interesting to hear Pardew’s comments pre and post the game at Upton Park though – rereading those made at the home fixture in November, it sounded like he was then interested in the player…

OK so this isn’t really a Newcastle question, but Di Canio and Sunderland. A match made in heaven?
Mark
: Good luck to him.  He’ll probably keep the mackems up, but the dead cat bounce works for most.  I fully expect him to implode next season at some stage.


Stephen: Given the recent Derby result and his antics on the sidelines, it seems the ‘Mackem Mussolini’ is quickly earning hate figure status among the rank and file Toon support.  I’m not convinced by Di Canio as a manager, so I’m hoping they’ll struggle next season after this initial ‘rocket up the *rse’ honeymoon period…

Rodgers, he’s going to be there in 2019-2020 season right?  Thoughts on him as a manager?
Mark
: I think he’s struggling a little.  He tried to change too much too quickly, and didn’t have the squad to implement his brand of football.  Liverpool have made a pretty good recovery from a bad start, but a whole new set of pressures and expectations await Rodgers in season #2…


Stephen: I think his appointment was right for both he and the club, and despite a fairly inauspicious start, by the end of the season this should be evident.  Detractors may say his choice of tactics might be unsuitable for the Premiership and his current personnel, but if I was a Liverpool fan I’d be pleased with what I’m seeing. I particularly liked his conviction with the loan of Andy Carroll, despite conventional punditry advocating a ‘Plan B’.

Going into the game what Liverpool players do you fear? 
Mark
: Sturridge.  I think he’s been a good buy for the ‘pool.  Prior to Teethgate, I’d obviously have said Suarez.

Stephen: With Suarez unavailable, the main danger will now probably come from Gerard and Sturridge, though I don’t suppose any Liverpool players will run onto the pitch with any sense of trepidation…

What will be the likely Newcastle line up?
Mark
: Elliot-Simpson-Taylor-YangaMbiwa-Debuchy-Gutierrez-Cabaye-Sissoko-Marveaux-Cisse-BenArfa

Stephen:
Elliot
Debuchy
Yanga-Mbiwa
S.Taylor
Haidara
Gutierrez
Perch
Cabaye
Gouffran
Sissoko
Cisse
Though if Tiote is fit, Perch will most likely come out. Also, reports are that Cisse isn’t 100%, owing to a cracked rib sustained at Benfica. If so, might we get that long awaited start from Ben Arfa?


Any predictions?
Mark:
Tiote to come on as a sub and get booked inside 5 mins.

Stephen: Don’t expect an ‘amazing 4-3 or 3-2’

And now for the inevitable Suarez question, at the time of writing he is awaiting his punishment.
The incident is undeniable. What’s your view on that?
Mark:
He bit someone – and it was largely unprovoked.  And he’s got previous.  Warrants a substantial punishment.  It’s not like swinging fists after seriously frayed tempers and some handbags as a warm-up act – it’s quite a personal type of offense.


Stephen: It’s inexplicable. I haven’t recently viewed the previous incident with Ajax, or Defoe’s for that matter, so the nature of the attack (is there a more apposite word?) just seems… a bit mental. To my mind I don’t see it as much ‘shocking’, ‘disgusting’ or ‘appalling’ as it is bizarre.   



Any thoughts on the media reaction? Fair of OTT? Did you hear anyone talk sense when asked their opinion?
Mark
: I thought it was consistent – by which I mean typical, i.e. massive overreaction.  But even within the overreaction was the sentiment: “Who the fuck goes around biting people?  For any reason? FFS”

Stephen: The media will tend to sensationalise, so it’s unlikely the reaction in the main will be anything other than OTT. In that regard I tend to avoid the tabloid press or the talk ins on 606.  What would a fair reaction be to this incident? The only specific comments I’ve paid any attention to have been those of ex-Liverpool players – Redknapp, Souness (both on sky in the immediate ‘aftermath’), Hansen and Lawrenson.  The act is indefensible, and understandably none of them have dared try, but their disappointment and regret in seeing an undoubtedly admired player in these circumstances is notable.

Do you think there are any issues with the consistency of punishment handed out by the FA?
Mark
:I think the punishments are poorly thought through.  My own opinion is that genuinely serious and violent challenges should carry a minimum of a 5 match ban – there is very little by way of a deterrent in the current model.

Stephen: I’d understand if Liverpool fans point out the inconsistencies, citing the differences in punishment between Suarez and Defoe (or Suarez and Terry for that matter). Keeping the player to one side, a 10 game ban suggests that the FA are saying it is more acceptable to break a leg, punch a player, head butt, spit on or racially abuse someone that it is to bite another player on the arm.
It’s doubtful a less high-profile player would have received the same punishment.


If Suarez puts on a suit and slides on his knees on the sidelines after a goal on Saturday. Could he be embraced by the nation?
Mark: Suarez for Prime Minister!!! ;-)


Stephen: More likely to be embraced by security...
Care to predict a result?

Mark
: 1-1

Stephen: Newcastle 0 – 2 Liverpool
 (maybe a little pessimistic given Suarez is unavailable, but we’ll see...)

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