Newcastle's Alan Pardew - Manager of the (half) season
Before you read any further, I am about to go against what every journalist I have ever spoken to has advised me not to do. I unfortunately need to declare an allegiance.
I am from the North East (Durham) and had only two potential choices. Tyne or Wear? In the end, I didn't get to register my vote, as on my first visit to what I choose to describe as Nirvana, the club chose me!
Even now at my well advanced age, I can remember and feel the overwhelming sense of belonging as my team trotted out to play god knows who that night. A life long love affair began, and continues to this day.
To give you a sense of it, I was married 12 years ago. For both myself and my wife it was our second relationship. In our house we have reserved the wall going up the stairs for our most personal and revered photographs and prints. A kind homage to our individual previous lives, demonstrating our devotion to what we hold dear as we embarked on our lives together.
My wifes' contribution consists of deeply personal photos of her Mum and Dad (both now unfortunately deceased), various and numerous photos of her three children in ongoing states of their development, photos of beautiful grandchildren, a deeply touching acrylic drawing of us on our wedding day done by her youngest daughter and aerial photographs of previous homes they all shared in the past.
My contribution lists thus:
1 photo of my Nan, 1 photo of a ship I served on during my time in the Royal Navy, 3 photos of my clubs grounds old and new, and a framed certificate proving that I own 2 bricks in the new one!!!
I hope this demonstrates how difficult this article is for me to write. I am a Sunderland fan.
During my youth it was accepted practice for the men to go and watch Sunderland at home one week, and then the Mags the next when we were away. And visa versa. I couldn't get that. To this day, the only time I have ever set foot in St. James' Park has been to see "The Lads".
So why do I feel strongly enough about Newcastles' achievements this season to bare my soul in this way?
The answer is simple. HE IS SUCCEEDING.
Newcastle fans are an unforgiving lot, and recent history shows that the owner of the club shares that trait. Forget the fact that Pardew was given a six year contract, as we all know that when it was issued, financial considerations surrounding his inevitable sacking were factored in.
What this man is achieving at this club is staggering.
Saddled with a chairman they all hate, who seems determined to airbrush their illustrious past with such things as ground naming fiascos, removing the Shearer name from bars, selling players for profits against the need of the team, Pardew just keeps succeeding.
Now on occasions, Mr P. can appear a charmless individual, almost Allardyce like in his self regard, and blinkered in a way that would make Sir Alex blush, but that has not prevented him from moulding a team of average and sometimes ungrateful individuals in to a unit capable of a challenge for Europe this season.
What he needs now, is the self proclaimed "Keyholder to Managers Offices" to deliver.
If Joe Kinnear (say it fast and it sounds like Joking Here) can sign half of the cheques his mouth has been writing, then Newcastle may at last have found their latest Messiah.
Do I hope that happens?
I'll leave you to decide!!
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