One of the major things we’ve liked about Alan Pardew since he arrived at the Newcastle club, in very difficult circumstances to say the least, is that he seems to be an excellent man manager.
Leon Best – in action on Sunday
And we were a little surprised when Alan came out yesterday and said there was now way he was going to sell 24 year-old Leon Best, the former Coventry striker, who has had a hard time of it at Newcastle over the last 12 months.
But when Leon came on for the last 15 minutes at Wigan on Sunday, he looked quite good, and certainly did a lot of running for the Newcastle cause, and was even unlucky not to score right at the end.
But Leon has also had stacks of injuries in the last year, and captain Kevin Nolan yesterday made a special point of reminding Newcastle fans, that they hadn’t see how hard Leon had worked behind the scenes to recover from all his injuries, and the Nottingham-born player had a burning ambition to do well on Tyneside.
Best is now fully fit, and will almost certainly play some part tonight in the vital game 6 pointer against West Ham, and this is what Leon said today, about his manager saying he wasn’t planning to sell him at all:
“That put me on the straight and narrow – when you are hearing this and that in the papers, it’s hard,”
“You know it’s not coming from you, and you hope it’s not coming from the manager, but when the manager himself comes out and says you will get a chance, it takes the weight of your shoulders.”
“Now that the gaffer has given me my chance, it’s taken a lot of weight of my shoulders.” “I wasn’t my normal self. The stress of not playing, and wanting to play and not being involved, was getting to me.”
“This is a great club,” “For the amount of time that I’ve been out, I’ve never not felt part of the team, or isolated.” “I thank the lads for that.”
“It is just a matter of getting fitter and sharper, and when my chance comes, I need to do it for myself.” “It’s down to me to put in more work in training.”
And since Alan Pardew arrived it seems that the team spirit among the lads is as good as ever, and they have made it all very easy for Alan to take over from the extremely popular Chris Hughton – and that’s for the good of the club.
The one thing Leon needs desperately to get his carer going on Tyneside is a goal, and hey, what better time to do that than in tonight’s game.
Best seems to have the support of the Newcatsle fans, if only because of his spirit and ambition to be a success on Tyneside.
It would be terrific if Leon could open his account tonight.