Date:Saturday May 25 2013
So what do you do on a Saturday morning, waiting for the cricket to start on TV with no match day experience to look forward to. Why not sit down have a look at the newspapers on the internet? What are the stories of the week?
Pardew has ostensibly been given the reins for the start of next season, at least, that is what has been reported. The response from even the most positive of supporters` web sites has been totally underwhelming.
It`s a bit of fun to see what Llambias actually said. He did not refer by name to Pardew in the statement released on the club`s web site. What he actually said was:
"'There has been a great deal of speculation in recent weeks but our desire, as we announced back in September, is to bring long-term stability to this Club. It's up to us all now to work closely as a team to ensure next season sees us competing in the top half of the table again."
It seems that the media have leapt on the word "stability" to suggest that Pardew is safe - for now. It always seems ironic that the current wave of stability started with the sacking of a manager, in Chris Hughton. It is also remembered what the damning verdict was on the honesty of the current regime in the Keegan tribunal.
So how safe is Pardew? The manager himself makes the news this morning in his fantastic record in the 2nd half of the season.
A different headline highlights that we might not be in such a bad place after all. The Express tells us: "Alan Pardew says Newcastle best team outside Premier League's top six".
Apart from not finishing in 7th, we know that we are on the up. This is where the lazy Saturday morning comes in and some fun with spreadsheets. Well, Alan, not all of us are blessed with the same statistical manipulation that you and the £100m turnover organisation that is Newcastle United.
The league table shows that actually, Newcastle United came in at a creditable 9th. Only 7 teams had more wins. Conversely, only 6 teams had more defeats.
But why 15 games? That takes out the previous run of 1 point in 5 games. It takes out the run of 1 win in 8 or 2 wins in 14.
Of course, there were reasons for those. Too much Europe! Players were tired. Injuries galore and we must have been the only Premier League team to get them.
Such slow mornings give time for theories to develop. The previous season, the pressure was off. First up was a game against Arsenal when Nasri and Fabregas wanted moves, then a run of 10 games before playing any other genuine title challengers. Expectations were low.
This season was different, a 5th place finish to be consolidated and a Europa League campaign, despite the 3rd consecutive FA Cup exit to lower league opposition.
We were knocked out of Europe with 6 games to go. Apart from the Sunderland game, Pardew had his full week to prepare, should he so choose. OK, golf and days off might be fantastic conditioning but let`s have a look at those 6 when Europe was off and the pressure was on.
This gives us a different perspective. Only 1 win in 6. Only 3 goals scored in 6. We failed to find the net in 4 games. There were two of our worst results since 1908, since when Sunderland have never won at St James` Park by a bigger margin and since when no team has won at St James` by a bigger margin than Liverpool.
We scraped over the line with a draw at West Ham, who were to all intents and purposes safe, not to mention an away win at already relegated QPR. Pardew promised us a display against Arsenal - blink and you may have missed our only shot on target.
That Arsenal defeat at home completed Newcastle United`s only ever run of 3 consecutive losses without scoring a goal.
So, looking at it another way, apart from that run of 4 wins from 6 games from the end of January, there is no polite way to describe the sort of season this has been. Not only did we fail to win more than half our home games, we have only won fewer away games twice in 110 league campaigns.
OK, so we might have had the best record outside the top 6 for the last 15 games according to Pardistics but things don`t look too good for his performances under pressure, without the excuse of Europe.
Maybe Llambias was deliberately careful in his failure to use Pardew`s name in the context of next season. Maybe he has realised what sort of record Pardew really has at this level. Maybe he is horrible enough to want to see Pardew crack in a pressure situation, knowing he has to perform better than this year.
Alternatively, maybe Llambias has enough business sense to line up an alternative behind the manager`s back - it has been done before!
Date:Saturday May 25 2013
Liam Sweeney and John Alder (Monday July 21 2014)
Ben Arfa Saga Is A Real Shame (Thursday July 17 2014)
Janmaat Gets His Confirmation (Thursday July 17 2014)
Surely It's Too Late For Grenier? (Thursday July 17 2014)
French Riviere On Tyne (Thursday July 17 2014)
NUFC Edge Closer to Striking A Deal (Wednesday July 16 2014)
Toon on TV (Monday July 14 2014)
Janmaat Close To Sealing Deal (Monday July 14 2014)
NUFC Expectations (Monday July 14 2014)
NUFC Complete 6 Year Cabella Deal (Sunday July 13 2014)
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