Alan Pardew Humble Pie Never Tasted So Sweet
By Matty Palmer
Sunday 14 Oct 2012 15:10:00
Browse all Matty Palmer articles




Alan Pardew – Humble Pie Never Tasted So Sweet By Matty Palmer


Failure, stooge, yes man, clueless, cocky, cockney, not good enough for us.


Just some of the words used to describe feeling around the appointment of Pardew as Newcastle United manager.


After the shocking sacking of Hughton, there was much speculation as to who would become our new man at the helm. When rumours started circulating Tyneside that it was to be Pardew mass hysteria ensued. And not the good kind.


Here was a man who had been sacked by Southampton, Charlton and West Ham most recently.


A man who was rumoured to only have been appointed so that he could pay back gambling debts owed to Mike/Dekka.


Suffice to say, optimism amongst our support had hit a bit of a low point.


His first game in charge was against a Liverpool team who looked to be struggling under Roy Hodgson and surprisingly we managed to get a result with a cracking performance. Pardew took on the role and looked on from a reserved perspective.


On plodded the 2010-11 season with indifference. A key turning point in Pardew’s time in charge was about to come to a head. Andy Carroll.


The striker had been on fire in the first half of the season. Offers came in and you know the rest.


It’s what happened after this where my opinion started to change a little on Pardew. We all know the money we were offered was ridiculous so he had no choice but to make do with what he had for the remainder of the season. The way he handled it was truthful and straight to the point, actually allaying some fears that the money would be pilfered and straight into Ashley’s ‘sky rocket’.


He managed to calm fears amongst the fans, but scepticism remained high.


Then came the 4-4 with Arsenal. A battling display which will go down as one of, if not the, greatest comeback in premier league history so far.


The sending off helped, but never have I witnessed a Newcastle team seem so reluctant to give up hope of gaining something from what seemed a lost cause.


Was this down to Pardew? No-one knows but he clearly had an effect on the team at half time.


Other than that, the rest of the season continued with results up and down. People (including us) questioning his tactical game plan. Ultimately, his substitutions probably cost us a few league places in the last game of the season (Alan Smith I’m looking at you) but overall his impact was met with little more than a ‘meh’ from the majority of support.


Again, questions arose during the pre-season with the farcical trip to the USA, incoming transfers not costing much money, no sign of a striker and the Joey Barton fiasco.


No matter what level of tint our black and white spectacles may be, the start of last season was not looked upon with great optimism.


Then the run started.

We went eleven consecutive Premier League games without getting beat and picked up momentum that would keep us in the heady heights of the league until November.


Tactically we looked to still be lacking attacking impetus and relied on Demba Ba far too much, but the resolute attitude and sheer determination not to get beat was beginning to shine through.


Was this to do with Pardew?


His substitutions were still a bit baffling at times, often replacing an attacker for another midfielder to shore up the oppositions threat, leaving nothing up field for us thus causing more pressure on our defence.


He seemed to be unwilling to introduce flair players into the squad (Ben Arfa seemingly out of favour after recovering from injury and Santon ignored).


But then the change came. He seemed to grow in confidence as the season wore on. Slowly and surely he introduced Santon to the English game and he ended up as a first. He put an arm around Ben Arfa’s shoulder and told us he was ready.


Another key moment in Pardew turning the tide was the blood and thunder derby in the rain. On that drizzle soaked day football was abandoned for thuggery. If we had lost that game, confidence would have taken a massive dive.


Pardew calmed the players at half time and made a brave substitution. Putting Ben Arfa into the forefront on our right. The damage and carnage he caused to McClean and Richardson can’t be underestimated. This was a player out to prove himself in one of the fiercest matches of the season. Repeatedly peppering the mackems goal after nutmegging Richardson around 4 times in a single match.


He was tearing them apart.


We finally got our goal and you could see what it meant to Pardew by his reaction to the (missed) penalty and when we scored.


It may have been a bit over the top but you could see how much he wanted it. How much we all wanted it.


Should we have lost would he have approached the game against West Brom with such confidence?


I very much doubt it.


This was his defining moment. The game that showed us that with a little more guile and cunning, and allowing our flair players to flourish, that he now believed a little more in himself. As fans we started to believe too.


The attacking play I saw on that sunny afternoon was something I have not witnessed from a Newcastle side in a long time. Every time we had the ball we counter-attacked with such speed and precision and defended so resolutely I started to think we were in with a chance of securing a European place.

And so it continued for the rest of the season.

Pardew continued to charm his way through interviews and generally get the tactics spot on. As he had all season (one or two blips a side).

With last home game of the season against Man City and Europe already in the bag there was still an outside chance of qualification for the Champions League.


The game was quite an even affair, with both teams going for it and in truth; we gave a good account of ourselves against a team that cost a shitload more than ours.


It’s testament that Pardew would win the Premier League & LMA Manager of the year awards.


He worked a minor miracle in galvanising players that everyone had written off at the start and keeping us challenging at the top until the very end.


He spent wisely and recruited some top talent that all teams wish they had.


What next season holds is anyone’s guess, but once more we venture onto European soil (so that we don’t jinx it, the qualifying round – for now).


Once more Newcastle United will play against teams from the arse end of no-where and we’ll love it!


We’ll probably stutter in the league and fade away to mid-table, but Pardew has instilled the confidence in us once more and has us believing that it’s not impossible to mix it with the big boys until the very end.


It’s also testament to Pardew that after the last home game of the season, the lap of honour was applauded and cheered throughout St James’.


Pardew’s name ringing out loudly and proudly by our support.


Finally we have a team (and now manager) we can be proud of.


Once more we are United.


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