Following today’s defeat at home to Manchester United, Newcastle have now lost seven of their last ten games. Beyond the ugliness of that sequence, the real worry has been how many times Alan Pardew’s side have not just been beaten but how often they’ve been out-matched in every department of a game.
Newcastle aren’t just known for losing at the moment, they’ve become synonymous with an almost scandalous lack of desire. The three-nil losses to Sunderland and Everton, and the four-nil defeats to United, Southampton, and Tottenham were all characterised not by technical inferiority but an unwillingness play with any sort of pride or application.
Newcastle under Pardew have become an abomination.
There are background issues at St James’ Park, and neither Mike Ashley’s ownership or Joe Kinnear’s stint as Director of Football have been particularly helpful, but Newcastle’s current troubles are all rooted in the dressing-room. Yes, the failure to replace Yohan Cabaye has been extremely detrimental, but that in itself does not explain the deterioration in attitude. Cabaye’s departure may have made it harder to win, but the Frenchman’s absence does not provide an adequate excuse for the current slump.
With no sense of hyperbole, this current side is an insipid embarrassment to the fan-base.
Whilst the way Newcastle is run is undeniably an obstacle for any manager, Alan Pardew should be eternally grateful that Mike Ashley is his employer. The infrastructural issues at St James’ Park are so pronounced that on-pitch failure seems relatively forgivable, and Pardew in many ways is the lesser of the two evils - it’s as if his own shortcomings are permanently asterisked by what’s happening above him.
But this has gone too far now: Pardew has evidently lost his hold of the dressing-room and is continually overseeing performances which harm the club’s reputation - he may well be serving a ban at the moment, but that’s a side issue with next-to-no relevance.
While there may well be personnel issues within the first-eleven, this is still not a group of players who should be falling on their sword as often as they do.
Eventually, someone has to be held to account for this. If, as manager of a club of Newcastle’s size and squad, you return four wins from four months and you also head-butt an opposing player mid-game, it’s wholly-unrealistic to expect to keep your job.
Now is the moment to call time on this prancing blow-hard and move in a healthier direction.
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