We’ve been quite impressed with Alan Pardew since he arrived on Tyneside.
Alan Pardew – thanks fringe players at Newcastle
It’s true that Alan’s record is very similar to the record former manager Chris Hughton had over the first half of the season.
Chris was rather unfairly dismissed in December, after he had Newcastle on 19 points after 17 games and in 11th place – the same position Newcastle are in at the moment with 41 points from 34 games.
So Pardew has gained 22 points in the 17 league game he’s been in charge – just three more than Chris accomplished in the same number of games.
But it’s also true that Pardew hasn’t had the services of a certain Andy Carroll over the second half of the season.
One of the things we like about Pardew is that he’s a good communicator, and that’s sorely needed with owner Mike Ashley never saying anything to the fans, and apparently having no intention of doing so in the future.
And Alan is also down to earth, and usually tells things as they are.
Today he’s been praising some of the fringe players that came into the side once Carroll was sold, and kept the club afloat, because there was also significant concern as to how the team would fare without big Andy.
This is what Alan Pardew said today:
“The sale of Andy Carroll was a kind of watershed moment of the season for us: how were we going to respond and react to it?””Fortunately for us we had players who stepped up their games and although our results have mirrored the first half of the season, we’ve done that without Andy, without Ben Arfa and without Cheick Tiote for five games as well.”
“And certainly some of the players have grown on the back of having first team games when perhaps they wouldn’t have. Peter Lovenkrands, Shola Ameobi – I have to say if I was a Newcastle fan I might be looking at them in a slightly different light on the back of this season.”
“It’s been good for those players and that will strengthen my hand next year when the competition hopefully arrives, that they’re in that frame of mind and that confidence if they get chosen.” “You have to take your hat off to them.”
“There will be loyalty to them for next year, but only to a degree because there’s no sentiment in this game.” “I’ll pick my best team for next year and these last few games, all those guys need to produce the same level of performance otherwise they put themselves under pressure in the summer and the start of next year.”
It seems that Alan Pardew was a lot more concerned about Andy leaving in January than we first realized, and the possible negative impact it would have on the performance of the Newcastle side.
It was too late for Newcastle to bring in any kind of replacement, and they eventually brought in journeyman Shefki Kuqi on a short term contract, simply to increase the number of strikers the club had for the run-in.
Shefki hasn’t played many games, five appearances to be exact, but he’s been a very positive influence on the training ground, by all reports, so he’s done his little bit as best he can.
But players like Leon Best, Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands have come in and kept the goals flowing for Newcastle, and that’s to their enormous credit. If they hadn’t done that Newcastle could have been in serious trouble in the league.
And we mustn’t forget that Kevin Nolan keeps banging in those goals, and is the Newcastle top scorer on 12 goals for the season.
“You only have to look at Blackpool.” “At that period when we lost Andy they had momentum – I don’t think anybody thought they were going to go down. I remember Alan Hansen on Match of the Day saying no chance of them getting relegated, so we find ourselves in a decent position.”
“Mathematically we’re not safe, but mentally we feel we are and we need to see out the remainder of the season.” “It’s no good harping back and saying it could have been bad, it could have been this, that or the other – of course, you could say that about any club.”
“Kenny going in at Liverpool could have been a disaster, but it wasn’t, it’s turned out well.” “Both Liverpool and ourselves want to play out the season to the end, but we’re both looking at next year for sure.”
Tomorrow’s game will be tough, but against the good sides Newcastle seem to play well.
Personally we’d like them to play well against the poorer sides, because if they play somewhere near their best then all 3 points are almost guaranteed.
Against good sides like Liverpool, Newcastle can play at their best and still come away with nothing.
We’ll be very happy with a point tomorrow, but then we have to hammer a woeful looking Birmingham side at home next Saturday, and that would give us the double against them, just like the lads accomplished against West Ham.