I can well understand anyone who is calling for the removal of Alan Pardew as manager of Newcastle United and the appointment of a credible replacement who will take the club forward. I could weep my agreement with that sentiment.
For what its worth, I’m on the record for believing he should be dismissed. Alan Pardew is failing as Newcastle United manager. He appears to have lost the confidence of the majority of the club’s support and judging from the performance on Saturday at Southampton, the players are no longer performing for him either.
The emergence of what appears to be a group of supporters committed to Alan Pardew’s removal, who are organising online and on the street has captured a massive amount of media attention and exercised a huge amount of debate between supporters.
I have no idea who is behind this campaign. They have not been in touch with us or comrades at The Mag, nufc.com to my knowledge and as a board member of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust, I happen to know, they have not been in touch with NUST.
Not that they have to. They are under no obligation to consult, approach or whatever else with anyone. Click here and let them speak for themselves.
The people behind this campaign feel strongly about this issue and judging by the away end at Southampton and conversations I have with supporters as well as virtually every e-mail I receive, our supporter responses via our own social media activities and of course from our many writers in the fanzine, the desire to remove Pardew is huge.
Pardew has failed at Newcastle United. A change is required and the sooner the better otherwise the club us going to find itself in trouble and how.
Let’s be honest, Pardew is waiting to be sacked to pick up his compensation and Ashley is waiting for him to resign or for things to improve on the pitch. The latter appears to be a forlorn hope.
In many ways, I’m delighted this group of supporters have mobilised to do something they believe so strongly in. I have grown weary of supporters exhorting others to carry out their shopping list of quite often extravagant demands while they … do what exactly?
The modern age has become ideal for what is coming to be termed as the “slacktavist”. The person who can’t be arsed to do the hard miles in any kind of campaign (its not just Newcastle United or football) and imagines setting up a page on Facebook or making a few strong Tweets is going to change the world. It isn’t.
So, fair play to these supporters for putting their arses in gear and doing something.
Whether you agree or disagree isn’t relevant. I admire their energy. I repeat, I’ve no idea who they are but I do think there is something admirable in them remaining anonymous and avoiding the temptation to become rent-a-quote for The Chronicle et al. The fact they have remained invisible has leant them a kind of mystique and it means the talk is about their argument not about anything else. I admire their savvy in that regard.
What I do find objectionable however are slurs against the integrity of this “group” (if it can be so called?). Anyone who has ever ran any kind of campaign knows everything costs money. Quite often the organisers are putting their own money in. I know that because in the very earliest days of the Trust, in its NUSC manifestation I put my own money in to pay for some basics (Mark Jensen (The Mag), Biffa (nufc.com) and I each donated £100).
Others paid for print bills via their own initiative and so on. Go further back and the Save Our Seats, United Supporters For Change will all have been personally out of pocket by organising various protests etc. I’ve no doubt at all about that.
Those shuttling around on NUST business forever do so at personal costs – admin. costs, petrol money and other stuff – the very idea of expenses is laughable.
Take also the march organised before the Liverpool game last season. Now whether you believed it was a great idea or not isn’t relevant. That march would not have gone ahead but for Graeme Cansdale finding £600 of his own money to pay for various licences and other sundries to make that happen. I’m not sure if Graeme ever got that money back but what it demonstrates is this: people who organise campaigns, protests etc. often do so at their own personal expense. They are often inventive, call in favours and end up owing a few.
For anyone, anyone at all to accuse or smear with insinuation that someone somewhere is on the take, without even knowing who they even are let alone having no evidence whatsoever, for whatever purpose, is frankly despicable.
There is absolutely no evidence to suggest whatsoever anyone is doing anything improper and there is a rather old fashioned belief in innocent until proven guilty and I’d ask you all to ignore the poisonous shibboleth “no smoke without fire”.
I would hope the anti-Pardew group at some point publish how much money has come in and how much has gone out. Now that a character assassination has been attempted a response will be required. For anyone dull enough to be interested, the Newcastle United Trust’s books are available for inspection at every AGM when the Treasurer does his report and they are correctly audited. Anyone can see exactly how much money comes in and where it comes from and anyone can see where it goes.
Whatever, does or doesn’t happen on Saturday, I’m afraid I have to raise a hand to some of the revisionism that is currently underway regarding the relegation that followed Kevin Keegan’s wholly justifiable resignation in 2008.
No Newcastle United supporter was responsible for the relegation that followed. No supporter did the following:
appoint Denis Wise as Director of Football with a Chelsea steward, Tony Jimenez on his staff.
refuse to concede KK’s demand to remove Denis Llambias and Denis Wise – which would have guaranteed Keegan’s return as manager
lie to the public and be found to have done so in a quasi-judicial tribunal hearing which subsequently found in Kevin Keegan’s favour and awarded him£2m compensation.
appoint Joe Kinnear as Newcastle United manager
through grotesque mismanagement get Newcastle United relegated and cause the loss of tens of millions of pounds which are still on the club’s debts
make an offer of the management post at United to Alan Shearer then ignore him all summer
re-name St James’ Park in a tawdry attempt to promote the owner’s business interests
sack Chris Hughton as manager, a man who has an altogether better managerial CV at United than Alan Pardew
award Alan Pardew a ludicrous 8-year contract
turn the club into a stepping stone for continental players out to prove they can hack it in a big league before moving onto an ambitious club
appoint Joe Kinnear as Director of Football (the ramifications of which are still being felt at United)
turn St James’ Park into an advertising hoarding for Ashley’s businesses
ban the local media and the Newcastle United Supporters Trust
promote people into positions of authority on the basis of their readiness to toe the Ashley line rather than bring creativity, energy and ambition to their roles
run the club on a shoe-string and fail to make adequate investments in key positions, thus bringing us to this pass
and I really could go on and on and on.
There is no question where the root cause for the malaise at Newcastle United lies. There is only one man to blame for turning Newcastle United into a Zombie football club and it is quite simply Mike Ashley.
If the club is relegated this season, it will be completely the responsibility of Mike Ashley.
The man has 100% control over the club. Nothing moves without his say-so. Mike Ashley is the man responsible. Alan Pardew is simply his haddock-eyed apologist whose time is up.
So, agree or disagree with this campaign’s aims, style or whatever, give them credit for still feeling enough anger, for not being so beaten down by the relentless stream of shite coming from our club, that they will be out on the streets on Saturday, getting busy and doing something they believe in.
Fair play to them.
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