**WARNING: This is more of a rant than a well thought out post. Forgive me!**
And so, yet again, another year goes by without a cup for Newcastle United. It can’t be argued anymore that the Toon simply lost to a better team, no – this was Cardiff. Cardiff reserves. You don’t even need to look closely to see the pattern. Since Mike Ashley took control at St James’ Park in 2007, we’ve never got past the fourth round of a domestic trophy.
Mike Ashley is a man that craves mediocrity; he will always choose pennies over glory. Last season, he looked into the possibility of withdrawing from the Europa League because the financial rewards weren’t worth the effort. Ambition is a dirty word with this regime; he’s happy to simply collect the annual TV cheque and do nothing of note. In Alan Pardew, he employed a spineless coward of a manager and a man happy to be his puppet, a tool to spout his propaganda.
For what it’s worth, Pardew looked delighted with defeat and why wouldn’t he? Objective achieved, in his eyes. There are, incredibly, some idiots that still support him – the ‘Alan Pardew, Give us a Wave’ crew. That’s what they gleefully chanted as our star-studded team slid towards relegation last season. What they don’t understand is that Pardew isn’t one of us; he’s part of the regime. Always has been.
He’s a small time man full of pathetic excuses, one of the most negative managers I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing. Pre and post-match comments are spent belittling his own team whilst his tactics consist of scraping 1-0 home wins over the Norwichs and West Broms of this league. A Championship manager at best who, to give him credit, stumbled upon a winning team this autumn. When Christmas came, the games were packed tightly and it was time to rotate, which he admitted. He proceeded to keep running the same XI into the ground whilst talents like Hatem Ben Arfa and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa observed from the bench.
Football is all about glory and chasing dreams, everyone is in it to win trophies and create everlasting memories. In theory it is. At a fans forum, club representatives specifically said that winning cups is not a priority for Newcastle. Well what is? The thrilling battle for 8th place? I’m sorry but that’s not how it should be. My parents were barely alive for our last trophy win and I fear I’ll never see one, in an era where Swansea, Wigan, Birmingham and Portsmouth win things. We’re Newcastle United. 52,000 Geordies in a beautiful cathedral of football, known worldwide. And this is what we’re reduced to.
This club is just existing – floating about, doing nothing of note. Another season over by January, another surrender. I know only a few clubs can win things but at least everyone else shows some form of intent. It’s made worse by Pardew’s post-match comments, which feel like constant trolling. “At home, you cannot back off against quality sides, you cannot be negative.” Quality side? This is Cardiff City. It was two sides desperate to lose and they still beat us; you’re the king of negativity. He went on to spout more garbage: “We don’t seem to be able to get through his tie (third round day). For the last three years I don’t know, its science against me!” Yeah, that’s exactly what it is – the science of removing the slightest hint of ambition from fans. Yet in the next breath he complained that there weren’t 50,000 people at St James’.
There’s a reason that Stevenage, Brighton (twice) and Cardiff have knocked us out of the last four FA Cups and it’s directly linked to Pardew’s motives, or lack of. It shows in his comments, in his team selections and probably in training sessions. Why bother winning cups? Why try? All these other teams try but the joke must be on them. Let’s laugh at them. Another trophy-less year of pain and off-field drama, please. The thing is, winning a cup would make Pardew a hero up here – his shortcomings forgiven. But he chooses not to, in order to collect his salary from the regime. He’s a sell out.
Anyone who still supports Pardew is beyond help, probably. Then again, I’m biased. They’ll point to the 5th placed finish and ignore the bigger picture. Most managers in the world could achieve these things with that squad and the likes of Villas-Boas and Laudrup are a breath of fresh air when it comes to Europa League attitudes. Each Thursday night, Pardew made it sound like torture. But he’s not the disease in the club, just a symptom of it. The problem will always be Mike Ashley. I’m just sick of it, to be honest. We’ll never be happy until the regime goes away for good.