Has Alan Pardew Lost the Dressing Room?

Gutless, clueless, heartless and bereft of ideas – Newcastle’s latest soul-destroying display suggests the Magpies have a serious re-building job to do in the summer. The bigger question, however, is whether Alan Pardew is the right man to lead it? I have my doubts.

Has Alan Pardew Lost the Dressing Room?

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Andy

March 31st, 2014

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Gutless, clueless, heartless and bereft of ideas – Newcastle’s latest soul-destroying display suggests the Magpies have a serious re-building job to do in the summer. The bigger question, however, is whether Alan Pardew is the right man to lead it? I have my doubts.

For anyone who has read some of my previous articles, including pieces on footballscores.com, you’ll find that I like to back the manager, and feel that the only way to create a stable foundation at any football club is to give the manager time. However, over the weekend, for the first time in a long time, I was left questioning whether my faith in Alan Pardew is justified.

In the build-up to Saturday’s encounter at St Mary’s, there was a lot of focus on what sort of an impact Pardew’s return to the dressing room may have on the team. The gaffer himself told BBC Radio Newcastle: “If you take a personality out of the dressing room when you have a small team it’s going to have an effect. I’m looking forward to having some impact in there.”  Too right, but in Pardew’s case the impact was virtually non-existent. After Tuesday’s spineless defeat against Everton at St James’ Park, Saturday was another low in a season which has well and truly petered out.

All you had to do was look at the body language of the players, the pace, movement, the desire to win the ball and do something with it – it wasn’t there. It’s as though the players themselves knew they had nothing to play for. They seemed scared to take responsibility, and control of the game. Whose job is it to fix that? I’m looking at Pardew, for some inspiration, some guidance – but he was fell well short of his own duties.

In contrast, Southampton looked like a team on the up – with young, talented, hungry players, playing for a continental manager who wants to see the beautiful game played in exactly that way – beautifully. The likes of Lallana, Rodriguez and Lambert ripped Newcastle’s defence to shreds, and the Saints could easily have been five or six goals up at the break, if it wasn’t was Rob Elliot’s goalkeeping.

All this is far too depressing as a Newcastle fan. The clubs in and around us are progressing, while we’re regressing. Up to ten players could leave in the summer, and with Mike Ashley at the helm the chances of them being replaced are pretty slim. It is time to start all over again and that includes changing the manager too, in my view. I don’t know how far Alan Pardew can take any set of players on Tyneside – 5th in 2011/12 has probably his finest achievement to date and it’s really difficult to see how he’ll ever better that.

The bigger problem is Mike Ashley’s ownership of the club, and there is this feeling that while he’s here, Pardew’s job as Ashley’s ‘yes’ man is safe. While I can’t see Ashley sacking Pardew any time soon, I do wonder what would happen if we slip out of the top ten, a target set by the board at the start of the season. Last night, several Newcastle fans tweeting in to the Twitter account @nufcfans said they’d be happy to see the club drop in to the bottom half, if it led to Pardew’s departure. It’s a sad state of affairs when you want the club to fail so that it leads to change – but perhaps that’s what we need.

In my last Superblog, I was confident we had plenty to play for this season – sitting in and around 8th position – and well set for a European push. In a number of weeks, we’ve lost the momentum and failed to turn up in the big games against teams around us (Everton, Southampton). All we can do now dread what changes await us in the summer. For me, the biggest one Ashley can make is to get rid of his ‘yes’ man.

Howay The Lads!

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