This is part two of the season review of Newcastle and picks up from the time Chris Hughton was fired to the end of the transfer window.
Alan Pardew – kept the momentum going very well
When Chris Hughton was sacked on Monday, 6th December, there was shock and indignation among Newcastle fans.
Why had the man who had done so much to get Newcastle back into the Premier League and had the side in 11th place – been sacked.
We would never get to know the answer to that question, as all Kevin LLambias would say was the club wanted to go in another direction, whatever that meant, and he refused to be present at subsequent press conferences – I thought that was his job.
That week there was enormous speculation on who would be the new manager, and would you believe Martin Jol of Ajax resigned the following day.
So we all thought it had been set up for Martin to take over at Newcastle, and there was excitement in the air, and he looked to be a popular choice.
But it was not to be and Alan Pardew, who got only 3% of a poll we had on which manager Newcastle fans wanted – was appointed on that Thursday, two days before the Liverpool game.
Alan came into Newcastle under a cloud, but it was hardly his fault that Chris had been fired, and in his first news conference he seemed to do better than anybody had expected.
A good communicator who had done his homework on the Newcastle club, he told the fans he had called Chris Hughton to commiserate with him, and he got off to a good start under what were very difficult conditions.
Alan didn’t have long to prepare the team for the Liverpool game, but that didn’t stop the players come storming back to get a great 3-1 home win against Liverpool, with Andy Carroll literally battering the Liverpool central defense into submission – they couldn’t handle the local lad in front of over 50,000 fans.
To cap off a great performance Andy hit a left foot thunderbolt from 30 yards that flew into the net in the last minute, and at that time he was the toast of England, having just received his first full cap for England.
But that good form didn’t continue for Newcastle, and in the last two games of the year Newcastle lost 3-1 at home to Manchester City and 2-0 at Spurs, a game in which Andy Carroll injured his thigh.
The transfer window opened with Alan Pardew continually telling people Newcastle were not going to sell their star player, Andy Carroll. and the lads won their first two games of the year at Wigan and at home to West Ham, whom they walloped 5-0 with Leon Best in for the injured Andy Carroll getting a terrific hat-trick.
The 3rd round FA Cup tie at Stevenage ended up being an absolute disaster for Newcastle and Alan Pardew, as they went down 3-1 to one of their worst defeats in FA Cup history, and Check Tiote was also sent off too – oh my.
Newcastle should have won their next two games at home to Spurs and at local rivals Sunderland, but they conceded equalizing goals in the last minute of each game, and Pardew took the lads off to Portugal for a few days sun, but it rained every day.
And then the impossible happened, and on the very last of the transfer window Andy Carroll was sold to Liverpool for a staggering £35M, and £30M of that was paid in cash up front.
Newcastle fans were furious and it’s still not completely clear whether Andy walked or was pushed, but it looks like Andy wanted Newcastle to match the £80K/week wages he would getting at Liverpool, and since they wouldn’t do that immediately, he left.
And in retrospect, Andy has since had lots of injuries at Liverpool, and scored in only one game of 10, when he notched a brace, but he’s looking like he may be just a little injury prone.
It turned out that Chelsea had also come in with a big bid for Cheick Tiote, but the Ivory Coast International was the one who turned it down, because he didn’t want to live in London, and was very happy at Newcastle.
A few weeks later Cheick was rewarded with a massive six and a half year deal at around £50K/week.
And just to compound their problems Newcastle had allowed Xisco to go out on loan to his former club Deportivo, and so Newcastle would be forced to bring in Shefki Kuqi as striker cover for the rest of the season.
Stephen Ireland was brought in on loan from Aston Villa, and Wayne Routledge was sent out on loan to former club QPR, so it looked like Newcastle had somehow managed to weaken their sqaud in January – weren’t we supossed to strengthen it? 😀
That’s part two – part three will come out this afternoon – comments very welcome.
Note: This article was written last Wednesday.