High-flying Geordies overcome turbulence
If at first you don’t succeed, then try and try again …
For all the huff about Mike Ashley and the way he runs Newcastle United, the discontent on the terraces, the boardroom struggles, Dennis Wise and the London “mafia”, Newcastle United are three points behind Arsenal and chasing a lucrative Champions League spot under the guidance of Alan Pardew.
Newcastle have had a glider-like experience under their present owner and it’s not been without a little turbulence so far. But all this seems to have been forgotten now that they are defying the odds and are hopeful of an unexpected top-four finish this season.
Massive credit must go to Pardew and his backroom staff of John Carver and former England midfielder Steve Stone, along with Ashley – firstly, for giving Pardew the job of carrying the club forward under difficult circumstances and, secondly, for giving the manager the funds to purchase players without getting the club in hock in the process.
After the dismissal of fans’ favourite Chris Hughton in December 2010, Pardew has done a sterling job – firstly, getting the fans onside and, secondly, transforming a side that had just come out of the Championship into possible European contenders. Without signing household names, Newcastle have been transformed into a free-flowing attacking side with signings such as Demba Ba and his fellow Senegalese Papiss Cisse, who have plundered 27 goals between them.
And with midfield talent such as Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote backed by the able Tim Krul in goal and captain Fabricio Coloccini, the vultures are circling to dismantle this high-flying Newcastle team. Ashley, though, has other ideas. His club are close to being solvent and will resist any big-money offers from Chelsea to steal Tiote away from the North-East.
With the £35 million from the Andy Carroll sale to Liverpool not all being spent and more to come with the new shirt sponsorship deal from Virgin Money coming into play next season, Newcastle look like a club on the up. Not many would have thought this would be the case as little as 12 months ago.
With three games remaining against Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton, it’s going to be touch and go whether they can remain in that coveted fourth spot. All will ride on the Chelsea game and whether Chelsea have reached the Champions League final. Will they have the same spirit to chase down this current Newcastle side?