Pardew calls for scheduling change
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has warned the football authorities they need to alter the Christmas programme if the FA Cup is to retain its glamour.
Pardew has called on the match schedulers to ditch the round of league fixtures between Boxing Day and New Year's Day in order to allow clubs to field strong sides in the third round, which this weekend sees the Magpies and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Cardiff meet at St James' Park with each playing for a fifth time inside 15 days.
His comments came after Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert voiced the opinion that clubs struggling for Barclays Premier League survival could do without the FA Cup.
Pardew said: "I have got some opinions on this which I think most Premier League managers would share with me.
"The devaluation of this competition is the scheduling of it, and they really need to look at that because this will be our fifth game in 15 days.
"The FA Cup falls right on the back of the Christmas programme, and I think that is wrong.
"I think the league need to look at that, or the FA or whoever is in charge of the scheduling, and move it because I don't think it's right.
"I don't think it's fair on Premier League managers. I sympathise with Paul and I sympathise with a lot of the teams down at the bottom of the league, where they are going to be looking at their survival, which is financially massive.
"That needs to be looked at, in my opinion, if they want the FA Cup to go back to its former glories."
Pardew, whose side slipped out of the competition at Sky Bet Championship Brighton at the same stage last season while trying to drag itself away from the relegation zone, believes there is a straightforward solution to the problem.
He said: "The game on the 28th needn't be in the programme, and I think the FA Cup game then fits all right.
"The game on the 28th, in my knowledge of the history, was put in there because the holidays were around this time. But that's irrelevant now because we would still fill the stadiums if we had that game in August or September, so that really needs to come out, in my opinion."
Pardew nevertheless remains a fan of a competition in which he has reached the final as both player and manager.
While striking a balance between the demands of the Premier League and the financial implications of being part of it, and challenging for glory in the world's most famous club knock-out competition remains a headache, he is confident it is still hugely attractive.
He said: "Of course the glory is what we want. Managers and players, they want glory, we love all that. It builds our ego, it makes us confident, it makes us want to improve ourselves and have winning a trophy next to our name, so you will never change that."
Newcastle will go into Saturday's tie without suspended full-back Mathieu Debuchy, injured skipper Fabricio Coloccini - he could be sidelined for up to six weeks with a knee problem - and with doubts over keeper Tim Krul and midfielder Yohan Cabaye.
The Magpies have not won a major trophy in almost 45 years and last lifted the FA Cup, their most recent domestic success, in 1955, and that is a wait Pardew is desperate to end despite a perception among some fans that owner Mike Ashley is more interested in the Premier League and the riches it brings.
He said: "Owners and managers don't always have the same agendas and we have clashes over many, many things. I'm not saying this is one of them, but it is how it is.
"We want to win the game - we want to win every game as Newcastle, and that will never change as long as I am here.
"I don't care what the perception is, that's what we are going to try to do.
"It's pretty obvious that this club is in desperate need of a trophy. It's a big, big club that hasn't had a trophy for a long, long time."
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