Anyone who has been keeping track of the Premier League in 2014 can see that since the sale of key player Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle United have been struggling to find form.
During the course of the first half of the season, Newcastle had been surprising everyone, with wins over the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea. By the end of 2013, Newcastle were sitting in eighth place after just about falling behind Tottenham and Manchester United, as they had been sitting in sixth for most of December.
Then it all fell apart. The last game Yohan Cabaye played in for Newcastle was in a 3-1 win over West Ham United in mid-January. In the next four games, Newcastle did not score a goal and conceded 10, losing heavily to bitter rivals Sunderland in the process.
Things have gone from bad to worse for Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. Since the sale of Cabaye, Newcastle’s record is three wins, one draw, and a massive 10 losses. Even their 4-1 win over Hull back on the 1st of March will only be remembered as the time Newcastle’s manager head butted a player on the opposing team. And even though they beat Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford, they lost 4-0 at St. James’ Park in the reverse. Talk about one step forward, three steps back.
The calls from the Newcastle fans screaming for Pardew’s head on a platter are louder than ever now. Newcastle are now bottom of the form table after losing their last six matches in a row, scoring only once, and although the lowest the team can finish is 11th, the fans are calling for a new manager as soon as possible. Newcastle did finish 16th last season, so some should see it as an improvement, but these fans are long suffering and dying for change. Whether that comes in the form of a new manager or a completely new infrastructure at the club during the summer, we shall have to see.
Two games left of the season - one against relegation threatened Cardiff and the other against title chasing Liverpool; the latter should be a formality, that much we know. The match against Cardiff could prove a safety jacket for Mr Pardew. But what would a win mean for the club?
Beating Cardiff could put Newcastle United in a very tricky spot. Not only would they be helping out bitter rivals Sunderland in their battle against relegation, but would it give Pardew the leverage he needs for one more chance? In the eyes of Mike Ashley, probably so. Everyone has seen that in the eyes of Mike Ashley, you only become a scapegoat when there is no other alternative. Best friend Joe Kinnear was fired because fans were angry about the Yohan Cabaye transfer. Alan Pardew wasn’t fired after the David Meyler situation because the fans simply weren’t that angry then. The only reason to fire someone in his eyes is to briefly get the heat off himself, because that is the only person he cares about. Not the players, not the club and certainly not the fans.
Newcastle fans, the only advice I can give you is that you need to focus your attention on the root of the problem. Say Pardew does get sacked, do you want the devil you know or the devil you don’t? Who might be hired next? Joe Kinnear? Malky Mackay? One thing I can assure you is that no-one that this chairman signs to manage the club will live up to your lofty expectations. The only way Newcastle will ever win a trophy is if they get the problem out of the club. That problem is Mike Ashley.