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Where did it all go wrong (again) for Newcastle?
ALAN PARDEW’S public silence in the days after Joe Kinnear’s return to Newcastle spoke volumes.
Mike Ashley’s decision to bring Kinnear back to the club as director of football following his disastrous stint as manager surprised the football world.
But it also came as a surprise to those closest to the Newcastle owner. Although they had been warned there was a possibility of the position of director of football being re-introduced, Pardew, along with chief scout Graham Carr and then managing director Derek Llambias, had no idea Kinnear would be Ashley’s man.
The decision just didn’t make sense. The club already had an effective partnership in Carr and Llambias, who would work alongside Pardew to identify targets and thrash out deals. That team had delivered the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote, so why change the change now?
It completely undermined the trio and raised questions as to whether there was a hidden agenda behind Kinnear’s appointment. Ashley was understandably angry at the club’s slide down the Premier League only 12 months after finishing fifth, but there were mitigating circumstances to take into account, like an unforgiving European campaign and a glut of injuries.
Immediately, Pardew’s future on Tyneside was thrown up in the air and who wouldn’t have forgiven the Magpies boss for walking at that point? He didn’t follow Llambias through the exit door, but it was clear Kinnear’s arrival had created an uncomfortable atmosphere around the club.
All throughout the summer – and after handing over his list of desired players to Kinnear – Pardew constantly reiterated the need to sign reinforcements. Two strikers and a left-sided midfielder were at the top of his list.
Darren Bent, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bafetimbi Gomis were wanted men and Ashley is understood to have sanctioned moves for all three at different stages, but despite Kinnear’s attempts he failed. The acquisition of Loic Remy on a season-long loan sweetened up frustrated supporters for a few days, but it was clear the more time passed by, the less chance there was of anyone else arriving at the club.
Even on deadline day when it seemed like every other club in the land was doing business, it was deafly quiet on Tyneside apart from a few rumours that the Magpies had made inquiries for Demba Ba, Tom Ince and James McCarthy.
If there was never any intention to sign anyone, why keep supporters clinging onto what little hope they did have that some business might be done?
The window slammed shut and once again they were left disappointed and underwhelmed, but the statement released by the club on behalf of Pardew that followed on Tuesday just seemed to make everything worse.
Immediately, it put Pardew in the firing line and any sympathy he had been afforded in the wake of Kinnear’s arrival soon evaporated.
It contradicted what he had been saying publicly for months. In more or less every interview since the club returned to pre-season training he had spoken of the need to strengthen in specific areas, so why come out now and chose to take the completely opposite stance?
It begs the question whether he is merely another cog in the world of Newcastle United under Mike Ashley, but now Pardew faces a backlash and once again he is left to face the fans single-handedly.
He shouldn’t have been the one to come out and explain the club’s failings in the transfer market, it should have been the man given the responsibility and authority to take care of that side of things. Joe Kinnear, come on down.
There have been certain theories doing the rounds ever since Kinnear returned. Was his appointment Ashley’s way of putting the wheels in motion to ostracise his manager? All these questions need to be answered, but you’d probably have more chance of winning the lottery than that happening.
Pardew does not want to walk away from St James Park and has reiterated that before, but you can’t help but wonder where this latest fracas leaves the Magpies boss.
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