The sea was calm. Too calm for Mike Ashley. “Let’s rock the boat”, he said to Derek Llambias. So they unnecessarily rocked the boat and out fell Hughton. Swimming in the doldrums, but waiting in the wings, a lifeline was thrown to Pardew. “Hop on board Alan, just say yes”. Stormy waters ahead.
As a Newcastle fan not much surprises you. You’ve seen almost everything and even the most outrageous event can be recieved by a shrug of the shoulders. Keegans back? Shrug. Joe Kinnears the new manager? Shrug. Shearers being called on to save us from relegation? Shrug. Cocaine orgies? Shrug. Headed by a calm and dignified gent we were passing through a period of stability. The lack of surprises was the surprising thing.
Yet, on Monday morning, Mike Ashley was to surprise even the most composed supporter. No shrugs here, just confusion and pure rage. The fog on Tyneside descended. The future again looking bleak.
The main question on peoples lips was why? Why get rid of a man who had converted a recently relegated club with a troubled camp into unbeaten at home, record breaking points tally, Championship winners at the first time of asking on a small budget? Why get rid of a man who had recently led his team to famous victories against their local rivals, Arsenal, and Villa and led to a league position of 12th without an assistant manager for a lengthy period? Why get rid of a man who was respected and loved by fans and players alike and had brought the best out of youngsters and previous troublemakers? Why also sack Paul Barron, the goalkeeping coach who has brought up Tim Krul and Fraster Forster? Why?
Yes, we hadn’t won in five games and played incredibly poor against West Brom, but the league table showed we were overachieving in 12th and we had been missing key players through injury and suspension the last few weeks. As the week went on things became even more surreal, as Jol, O’Neill and Klinsmann rumours all passed, Alan Pardew became the lone frontrunner. The Kenyan. The fucking chancer.
The apparent reason behind sacking Hughton was due to Ashley wanting a more experienced manager. Bringing in a second rate has-been with a track record of losing for a fresh, overachieving manager. Heck, why not sell our up-and-coming centre forward for an experienced journeyman. Ade Akinbiyi, he’ll do.
The whole situation is so outlandish it’s incredibly difficult to understand, if he actually has any, of Mike Ashleys thought processes. Even on a financial basis, central to Ashleys thoughts, it simply does not make sense. Surely Pardew won’t be on much less wages, if at all, than Hughton? Hughton was already the lowest paid manager in the Premier League. By sacking a favourite, fans will be more likely to boycott games, therefore he’ll lose out on ticket sales and players are less likely to perform meaning relegation is a real concern. If Newcastle do get relegated, Ashley will stand to lose far more than he will have saved. Additionally, offering Pardew a five and a half year deal, that he will never see out, is incredibly stupid.
The last club Pardew managed were in the third tier of English football. He’s won no major trophies. He has no local connection like Shearer or Keegan, and he has no pedigree as a player or manager like Gullit, Dalglish, Robson and Souness. He is a friend of Ashley and Llambias though. A gambling friend. I wonder if they like Russian roulette? He’s also desperate, willing to work for a low wage, a Londoner and will say yes a lot.
Chancers have taken over my life this week. Pardew. Clegg. Stuart Baggs ‘The Brand’. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if we bought Ali Dia in the January transfer window.
The situation we are in is just so unnecessary. That’s the frustrating thing. Getting in a second rate manager for an overachieving one. Breaking down fan and player morale. Potentially driving out talented players. All unnecessary. Things are never black and white at Newcastle.
This weekend Newcastle host Liverpool, a fixture that it is impossible not to mention 1996 when it comes around. On the 3rd of April 1996, as well as being Tim Kruls eighth birthday, Newcastle were close to winning the Premier League. I can remember it well, it was a Wednesday night and I was seven. I never watched it, as I had to go to bed as it was a school night. My Auntie was looking after me as my parents had gone out for a meal. She kept running up and down telling me when a goal had been scored. I liked football a long time before this but it is one of my first memories of it that I can remember. I never really understood the games importance at the time, but I do now. Luckily tomorrows game is on ESPN so Redknapp can’t harp on about it.
Pardew will be able to empathize with Newcastle on this one as he was so close to silverware had it not been for Liverpool too. A last minute equaliser by Gerrard in the 2006 FA Cup final meant the game went to extra-time, in which Liverpool went on to beat Pardews West Ham on penalties. Luckily for Pardew, Gerrard will not be playing tomorrow evening as he is out with a hamstring injury. Carragher is also out, but Torres returns after becoming a father. Expect Bebeto style celebrations.
Liverpool have been poor on the road, a trait of all Hodgson sides. He’s won just two away games since August 2009 and this season picked up just five points out of twenty four away from Anfield with his only victory coming courtesy of Maxi Rodriguez’ strike in the 86th minute against Bolton.
Liverpool usually score first, having done so 68.7% of the time this season; a figure only Arsenal can match. Despite this, no team has thrown away more points than them this season having lost twelve points from winning positions, only Villa can equal this.
Torres is the obvious threat. He seems to be fit and interested again now and has scored five and assisted five this season in the league. It’ll be a game both teams will feel they can win, Newcastle knowing Liverpools poor away record and Liverpool knowing Newcastle are demoralised, playing under a new manager and also having not won a game in five.
Mike Ashley. A tosser. A twat. A prick.
Chris Hughton. A true gent. A fantastic manager. Forever a local legend.
There’s only one Chrissy Hughton. There’s one too many Mike Ashleys.
Protest organised for tomorrows game against Liverpool. For updates and details follow @NUFCprotest on Twitter.