Alan Pardew is unsurprisingly delighted with Newcastle United’s last two results; a 2-0 home victory over Chelsea and their imperious boss Jose Mourinho was followed up with an arguably even more impressive 1-0 away win over Spurs at White Hart Lane. Pardew feels that those wins put us in a fantastic position to attack the top of the league with two ‘fantastic home games coming up’ as he himself described it.
Those two games are against Norwich and West Brom, managed by two former Toon managers (albeit Clarke held the reins for a brief spell) and arguably these two games are infinitely more winnable than our last two.
Does this mean that we have crossed the elusive line into consistency? Does beating the likes of Chelsea and Spurs prove what a good team we are? Well yes and no. Why should it be such a surprise that we win at home to Chelsea or go to White Hart Lane and beat Spurs?We should be winning (or at least not losing) most if not all of our home games. Also, we used to go to White Hart Lane not too long ago and walk all over Spurs. In 2008, we went there and hammered them 4-1 with the likes of Butt, Geremi and Viduka playing in the side. Have we really tumbled so far in such a short space of time that a 1-0 win is regarded as season defining? I for one am not getting ahead of myself.
Another point that should be made is that the position we find ourselves in at this stage of the season is not much different from what we usually see going into the winter months. Our average points total after 11 games in the last 7 seasons has been 17 points. Guess how many points Hughton had after 11 games in the 2010 season, a few games before he was sacked? 17. So why then are some sections of the Newcastle United support calling this a good start to the season? It’s distinctly average. While we achieved a wonderful home point against Liverpool, a great home win to Chelsea and an excellent away win at Spurs, we have balanced those out with shocking performances against Hull, Sunderland and Everton.
I still think that Alan Pardew is not good enough to manage Newcastle United. He is a decent manager, and with more investment and better options to choose from, I imagine he would consistently get us into the top 8 in the Premier League – but let’s be honest, it is not that hard to be better than the likes of West Ham, Norwich, and West Brom. When teams like Southampton and Swansea are used as yard sticks by which to measure success, that is when you know you are aiming too low.
I do not wish to stick the boot in to Pardew, he’s a puppet who is getting more out our players in recent weeks. Undoubtedly, that tide will shift once more and we will be ‘treated’ to some tripe performances before this season is out, littered with a few unexpected results along the way, and we will probably finish around mid-table.
That is not good enough.
Whoever thinks that is good enough for Newcastle United has truly fallen victim of the toxic mediocrity that is spilling down from the top. Challenge that perception, demand more from this great club and those who are paid to represent it. Is 9th a good start to the season or is it simply where we should be expecting to be. Perhaps it is lower than we should be expecting ourselves to be?
I will probably be accused of taking a negative stance on some good results, but that is not the case at all. I cherish every victory, but by looking at the bigger picture, I realise how futile it may be. If we have proven ourselves unwilling to invest and progress following a 5th place finish, what exactly is our ambition? Seems like anything above relegation is success these days at Newcastle United, which is why I don’t sing too loudly when we win a game we did not expect to. It is 3 points away from relegation, not 3 points towards progress. I find myself caring less and less about our results.
That is the biggest crime of Ashley’s tenure in my opinion.