What I would pay to be a fly on the wall in the Newcastle boardroom.
Mike Ashley and his side-kick Derek Llambias have once again defied belief in setting in motion the baffling events of the last week at Newcastle United Football Club.
Bar some unsavory rumblings that Chris Hughton’s managerial berth was in question in recent weeks, rumors which every football fan and pundit alike chose to ignore – as they were clearly delusional – life at Newcastle was for once rather settled.
Newcastle’s form card was indeed peculiar to say the least. Away wins at Arsenal and Everton along with sobering defeats at Bolton and West Brom. Victories at St James Park which included a 6-0 demolition of Aston Villa and the now folk lore 5-1 thumping of the old foe Sunderland were accompanied by questionably lackluster defeats against Blackburn and Stoke. The topsy-turvy season was however more positive than negative with the number one priority for the newly promoted side being survival. 19 points from 16 games and a mid table birth hardly had alarm bells ringing.
Thus, when Newcastle announced that they had parted company with Chris Hughton, not just Newcastle supporters but football fans in general were left speechless. The rather cowardice statement released by the club stated that they were looking for an “individual with more managerial experience”. I am not sure how one is expected to gain experience without the opportunity to start their managerial journey somewhere. Mourinho after all began as a translator.
With the two Martin’s – O’Neill and Jol – firm favorites amongst the fans, the arrival of either would have no doubt began the healing among fans and players alike near on immediately.
However, when the recently failed League One manager, Alan Pardew, arrives on the Tyne this Saturday I would not hold my breath for a heroes welcome. Ashley and Llambias have offered a five and half year contract, the type of offer one would only reserve for a manager of the very highest calibre, to a manager who has not stayed in a job for longer than 4 years in the procession of clubs he has managed before.
With Pardew holding membership at the same London casino as Ashley and Llambias Newcastle fans will be forgiven for holding a cynical approach to this particular deal. One cant help but picture the Black Jack table in which the early exchanges were made and the plan began to take shape with Hughton at home enduring another sleepless night planning for the next fixture.
Admittedly this is a rather poetic take on affairs but such is the pantomime drama which Ashley has directed at Newcastle since his topless drinking session amongst the fans at the beginning of his tenure, nothing now surprises me when it comes to Newcastle United.