The statement made by Loic Remy regarding the understanding he had with Alan Pardew that he would sit out the last game of the season at Anfield is an extremely serious one. Remy has made an allegation that Newcastle United did not do everything it possibly could to win a football match and deliberately played a weakened side because there was nothing to be gained for the club in that match. Remy has made a statement that his own personal interests, namely his bid to get into the France national team and avoid injury ahead of the forthcoming World Cup was how he viewed his omission from the United team visiting Liverpool on the last day of the season. In terms of United’s responsibility to the Premier League and it’s notional desire for sporting competiveness – the game could have decided who won the Premier League title had things gone differently at Man City, Remy makes a serious statement regards the integrity of his former manager Alan Pardew and the ethics that prevail at Newcastle United.
I don’t think anyone needs to be reminded how much money supporters pay to watch football – not least the eye-watering £49 those in the away end were rushed for in that last game of the season but the Liverpool fans were also subject to some exorbitant prices as well and deserve, like us, to see the best players on the pitch and the highest level of competitiveness in what is promoted as “the best league in the world” (sic). It is also a matter of great importance to SKY, BT, the FA and the Premier League that Remy is making an allegation he was not selected to play in a match in a league they pay fortunes to buy to sell to a worldwide audience as well as sponsors and of course the FA and PL’s responsibility to deliver bona fide competitive football matches.
Apart from managers, coaches and players betting on games or conniving to fix matches or nobble referees etc. (let’s not presume it can’t happen – it happened in Italy, hitherto the best league in the world) deliberately selecting a side not to compete in a competition because of another interest, must be the most serious allegation that can possibly be made. It has been made and it should be fully investigated by those who are supposed to govern the game. If it is found to be correct then the individuals responsible, namely Pardew and Remy should be punished severely. Personally, I would ban both from football but in Pardew’s case, it’s my opinion, if he is guilty then Newcastle United should be punished heavily too.
Not surprisingly, Pardew has interrupted his holiday in Monaco to issue an indignant statement – as ever – via Newcastle United’s only known link to the world – its website – to completely deny Remy’s allegation. I have a picture in my head of United officials searching desks looking for a medical scan to prove Remy was injured for the trip to Anfield – and there may well be one – but I just wonder what Remy has to gain from making such a statement?
But the allegation should be thoroughly investigated by the Premier League / FA and the matter not swept under the carpet.
Fans, sponsors, broadcasters – all need to know that games are played to their full competitive potential. That cannot be allowed to hang.
I must confess to being somewhat amused by Pardew’s response and the plea for his integrity not to be doubted.
Remember this is the manager of a football club who have made a public statement making plain the low priority placed upon two of the other competitions his team plays in each season. I think we all know that prioritisation is made because of the relative financial rewards of the three competitions. We all know Pardew has selected deliberately under-strength sides for those cup competitions and the performances and record of his teams in the FAC in particular has been dire. It is not so much of a leap therefore to accept Remy’s account of what happened before last season’s game at Anfield is it?
From Remy’s perspective – clearly working to his own professional agenda and knowing he has absolutely no commitment to Newcastle United or indeed owing the club anything morally really – without his goals, we’d have been relegated – I can rationalise (though not excuse) his motives. I don’t imagine he will have been the first to think in these terms.
I know Pardew won’t be the first manager to have taken a strategic approach to team selection for certain games above others. For example, was it not Mick McCarthy’s candid admission whilst at Wolves for a fixture at Old Trafford, that he had made the not altogether wild assumption his team would be beaten at Man Utd and he preferred to keep his team fresher and more energetic for a following match against less demanding opponents? That blunt admission scandalised football at the time but given the growing lack of competitiveness in the PL, it is inevitable.
Clearly, the pressures on managers to keep clubs in the Premier League and on the broadcasting gravy train is leading to the development of a way of approaching fixtures which are potentially more “corporate” in their flavour than what we might naively believe should be sporting.
Who do you believe – Remy or Pardew?
Well, I think I understand the ambitions of a footballer and the venality of football clubs to draw my own conclusions.
If any, one club needed to come out of the traps this close season into the transfer market this summer it was Newcastle United. That they have so far failed to make a breakthrough with players to arrive at the club who can go straight into the first team speaks volumes for the lack of ambition and competence at St James’ Park. Hopefully, my criticism will melt in the white heat of United’s transfer activity in the next week or so but seriously doubt it.
We have yet to tie up the club’s number one target Remy Cabella from Montpelier with news (sighs) the selling club and United are miles apart on the valuation of the player and there is also distance on wages as well. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want our club to pay way over the top for players but this is just all far too familiar a tale under the Ashley regime and carries echoes of what KK informed us was the practice of duplicity when he was at the club in his second spell.
Similarly rumours that Grenier may be slipping away from us as is Gomis are worrying. I realise I could be paying too much attention to paper talk but all of the above just seems so familiar.
What also appears to be routine is the start of the whispers about players leaving the club. We have read Sissoko and Debuchy have their names linked to other clubs and I have my doubts about Krul, Taylor and Tiote as well. I believe Ben Arfa and Marveaux have played their last games for United and will be sold. At the risk of the melodramatic, would I be going OTT to fear a complete meltdown at United this summer?
Maybe I’m being too early into the now traditional Mag pessimism but this transfer window seems remarkably similar to previous ones. I hope I’m completely wrong.
Our design guru, Glenn Ashcroft is now properly stuck into finishing off the next issue of true faith. Our SUMMER SPECIAL (TF112) will be the first one to be published entirely as a DIGITAL issue. Like many, I’ll always look very fondly upon the paper versions of the fanzine we have knocked out but also as will on many other titles too.
However, there is no mistaking the opportunities for developing true faith in the DIGITAL format and we’re seeing that already as Glenn lets his design skills let rip and we are also able to allow more writers get on the TF groovy train. I can say without any doubt whatsoever this issue we have currently on the boil is by some distance the best we have ever done. We’re covering more angles about what is going on at United, giving platforms to more people to express themselves in one of the best known, widely read and respected fanzines in the country. But we’re also adding more to our offer than the unrelenting gloom that surrounds Newcastle United. We’ve always attempted to have a strong internationalist flavour in the TF bunker and there is plenty evidence of that in the next issue as well as our ability to dabble in the cultural side of the game and our lives more generally.
The next issue of true faith will be the biggest one we’ve ever done. It will also be the best designed issue we’ve put out. In particular for our readers all over the world, they will get it exactly the same time as everyone back home in the Geordie Motherland as we aren’t reliant upon dubious postal services to get the little fellas through the letter boxes all around the world to the Black & White diaspora. Everyone gets it at exactly the same time on exactly the same day.
The DIGITAL version of true faith looks great on PCs, lap-tops, i-pads and Tablets. My personal preference is to read true faith via a Tablet but other methods are really good too.
The cost of subscriptions is dropping dramatically but because we have an archive of 30 back issues the value is increasing as well.
true faith is without doubt getting bigger, better, faster and cheaper.
May I thank everyone who has so far taken out a subscription, its greatly appreciated. Over time, hopefully whatever profit we might make, will be reinvested into what we’re doing and just as we did with the paper version, we’ll keep getting better and improving. Our commitment is to give you lot the best fanzine in the country. We’d like to think we gave you one of the best paper fanzines in the land and we’re determined to exceed what we’ve done previously with the DIGITAL version.
There might be a crippling lack of ambition in the corridors of power at St James’ Park but there certainly isn’t in the true faith bunker.
Our best years are ahead of us.
We hope you stick with us as we go forward.
Have a great week.
The true faith SUMMER SPECIAL will be available on 9th of June – the anniversary of The Blaydon Races.