10. Embarrassing excuses
What do sovereign states, spies, social media and the Notting Hill Carnival all have in common? They’ve all been used as excuses by Alan Pardew during his three and a half years on Tyneside. Yes, seriously. The North East-based reporters have even invented ‘Excuse Bingo’, where they gather at press conferences and predict which of his legendary list of reasons he’d use next. After January’s miserable FA Cup exit to Cardiff (more on that later), he said: “We don’t seem to be able to get through this tie (third round day). For the last three years I don’t know, it’s science against me.” It isn’t science Alan, it really isn’t. My personal favourite occurred after the original 0-3 defeat to Sunderland, which came three days after a Europa League game. Pardew made five changes to the starting 11, using both “The players were tired” and “the players were rusty” as simultaneous excuses. Incredible.
Counter-argument: Managers always give excuses as they don’t want to criticise players. All interviews are dull.
Other managers do it without sounding so ridiculous. Chris Hughton gave dull interviews but at least he didn’t outright lie. After Saturday’s home defeat to Swansea, Pardew said: “I’m pretty sure I’d have stopped that last goal if I’d have been there”, referring to his touchline ban. Apparently Alan can run onto the pitch and save penalties! In fact, recent post-match comments have ramped up the craziness. After Stoke, he blamed the local press and after a convincing 3-0 defeat to Everton, he stated: “In two thirds of the pitch we were good, but in the last third, we must improve.” So either the leaky defence or blunt attack was “good” in his eyes – absurd. Study each interview he does and you’ll find at least one reprehensible comment.