Newcastle fans must change their Toon and put faith in Alan Pardew

20 April 2011 01:16
Few sets of supporters look backwards with as much enthusiasm as those in Newcastle. Perhaps it is understandable as this great club's best years do appear to be behind them.

Nevertheless, the black and white souls who filled St James' Park on Tuesday night may wish to consider a pertinent point: that this summer may yet be the making of their club in the modern age.

Newcastle supporters will tell you they still have much to complain about. Owner Mike Ashley has ruined this club, apparently. Their ire is to be expected. It has been a rough few years and Ashley has not played the game of football ownership particularly cutely.

On the up: Newcastle boss Alan Pardew

Look at it this way, though. Two years ago Alan Shearer had just been appointed to 'save' Newcastle. Pretty soon the club were in the Championship and Shearer was back on the golf course.

Such was the poor state of things on and off the pitch that Newcastle supporters would probably not have believed it possible to finish mid-table in the Barclays Premier League by 2011.

But here they were: Manchester United in town, 40 points on the board by full time and six places above Sunderland in the table. Happy? Of course not.

'I keep getting told that selling Andy Carroll was good business,' opined the editorial in The Mag fanzine on Tuesday night.

'Maybe it will all end in smiles and an all-conquering team will line up in August thanks largely to the Carroll cash injection. Or maybe not.

'What I do know is that if you threw Lovenkrands, Best, Shola (Ameobi), Ranger and Kuqi together into a giant mixer, the combined result wouldn't be a Premier League player.'

Near miss: Newcastle came close to taking all three points against United

It is fair to say, then, that the ?35million sale of centre forward Carroll to Liverpool in January still rankles. Was it good business for Newcastle? Of course it was. Ashley would have been foolish and irresponsible to turn it down.

Romance is still big business by the Tyne, though. That is why Shearer's appointment was welcomed with such fervour, even though it made no sense. It is why the economic logic of Carroll's departure seems to have passed people by.

All of this, of course, brings us to this summer. With his own manager in charge it really is 'put up or sell up' time for Ashley. Alan Pardew is a sensible and reasonably talented manager. If he is given a good chunk of the Carroll money to spend, there is no reason to suggest Newcastle cannot have top-10 aspirations next season.

Baby steps are required. This Newcastle team lack a little sparkle. It is hard to see Mike Williamson shirts flying off the shelves in the club shop and it is up to Ashley to allow Pardew to bring some excitement back in the close season.

By all accounts, Newcastle are on a sounder financial footing, irrespective of the Carroll money. High earners such as Joey Barton and Jose Enrique are also expected to leave in the summer.

Banner rage: Newcastle fans haven't been shy in voicing their displeasure with the club's management

Four or five good players would make a huge difference to this team. If Pardew is allowed to buy them then Newcastle can become increasingly competitive.

St James' Park was a great place to be on Tuesday night. It usually is, but even more so when a big team are in town.

It was a modest game but - with United slightly off colour and Newcastle full of running - it remained on a knife edge throughout, which did much for the atmosphere and indeed the tension.

Newcastle were encouragingly ambitious and troubled United sporadically. The midfielder Cheik Tiote was terrific. They lack craft and guile, of course. Without Carroll they lack a little focus.

There will be no relegation drama this season, though. The Toon Army should be thankful for that. They won't be, but they should be.

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Source: Daily_Mail

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