Mediocrity Reigns On Tyneside
The last five days have once again shown that Newcastle United as a club isn’t going anywhere under Mike Ashley.
October 24th, 2014
Words like mid-table, stagnant, mediocre and average would be apt to describe this regime. Ashley is merely a custodian of this great club – and the sooner this custodian leaves Tyneside the better.
The good news is that Newcastle finally won their first game of the season last weekend; a nervy, scrappy 1-0 triumph against Leicester City eased the nerves as the Magpies picked up three points at the eighth time of asking. That’s a positive – and why wouldn’t it be? It’s never easy to win in the Premier League, and regardless of it being a newly promoted team, Newcastle desperately needed the points.
What has unfolded since, however, hasn’t been much of a positive – and once again highlights the limit to Ashley’s ambitions. Is it just me, or are Ashley, Pardew and even some of players celebrating a 1-0 win against Leicester like they’ve won a trophy. Soon after the final whistle, Pardew told reporters that Ashley had personally paid a visit to the dressing room, to thank players for their efforts as they basked in the glory of three points (for the first time). Pardew himself looked a relieved man in post-match interviews as he spoke about how ‘proud’ he was of the players.
In the days that followed, we heard Pardew dedicate the victory to Toon fans after a number of depressing defeats. Steven Taylor, who impressed on his return to the team, revealed that he and his teammates have always considered match-winner Gabriel Obertan a ‘top quality player’ and it wasn’t long before Pardew began reflecting on the gloomy pre-Leicester days – describing the situation as ‘desperate’.
I have no issues with positivity. I’ve always been a positive football fan, more a glass half full kind of person. Contrary to the opinions of many Toon fans, I feel this team has goals, I feel we’ll go on winning run at some point in the season and the squad is good enough to finish mid-table. In other words, we might be in the relegation zone but we won’t get relegated (not after eight games anyway). Something I do have an issue with, however, is how Ashley, Pardew and the hierarchy dampen expectations. Positives like the win against Leicester are blown way out of proportion by this regime – when all it really was was a scrappy 1-0 win against a newly promoted team.
The reason for this is simple. The current regime doesn’t understand success and as a result, the threshold for what constitutes success is extremely low. Growing up, supporting the team in the Keegan and Sir Bobby days, beating Leicester 1-0 at home would have been a negative. Surely Newcastle should be scoring more than one goal at home? Under the current set-up it’s celebrated like a great achievement. This is why it was no surprise to read that in the recent fans forum meeting the club set a minimum top-10 finish target for Pardew. The standards have dipped and sadly mediocrity reigns on Tyneside.
Howay the lads!
Umar Farooq, Editor – NUFCfans.co.uk