Like it or not Newcastle fans, Alan Pardew will be your boss for the first game of the 2014/15 season. So what does he need to do to win back the terraces?
On Wednesday evening it was confirmed that Newcastle’s manager Alan Pardew would still be in the St James’s Park hotseat for the 2014/15 season, much to the chagrin of some outspoken Geordie fans.
A statement read: "The board accepted that the second half of the season had been disappointing but underlined its aim of improving on a 16th-place finish in 2012/13 with a top 10 finish had been realised.”
Pardew will now sit down with chief scout Graham Carr and managing director Lee Charnley to earmark the kind of signings that will appease the terraces and propel the team up the Premier League table and back into Champions League contention.
Newcastle lost their best player Yohan Cabaye to French side PSG and slid from fifth position down to tenthin the second half of the campaign.
Pardew has no doubt been busy scouting new talent but a formal full-time signing has not been made for 16 months. Consequently, it’s obvious that his summer’s transfer business will be pivotal, but Pardew will also have to win back the fans before the team can truly persevere.
Here’s how Pardew can win the terrace back:
1. REGAIN SUPPORT OF THE PLAYERS AND CONTROL OF THE DRESSING ROOM
At times this year Pardew has lost his cool on the sideline in the manner of an embittered Sunday League coach. If he had full control of the characters in the dressing room he would have full control of himself in the technical area: it's a knock-on effect. Hatem Ben Arfa may be a maverick who can win matches single-handedly but if he rocks the boat and brings unease to the training sessions, he simply has to go. And so do Gabriel Obertan and Sylvain Marveaux.
2. FOSTER THE KEVIN KEEGAN SPIRIT, MAKE A BIG EARLY SIGNING
Every team needs spirit and togetherness on the field in order to engender support in the stands. The second half of the season the former simply was not present – the Cabaye sale killed it – which led to a furious decline in the latter. Some clever early raids on lesser-known World Cup and Ligue 1 talent and perhaps the re-introduction of a hungry Demba Ba or proven goalscorer might go some way to rebuilding the spirit. He’s been confirmed as boss now so a quick, big signing would go some way to solidifying his intent and engendering excitement on the terrace.
3. WORK, WORK, WORK!
When Pardew was asked by a member of the press what his summer would bring ahead of the final game at Anfield he simply replied: “Work”. And he’s got a lot of it do: he needs to sell Ben Arfa but make sure the club are remunerated well for his services; he needs to make an early signing that signals the club’s intent; he needs to eradicate any feelings of discontent in the dressing room for good and build discipline, camaraderie and order.
He also needs to make the right signings, at the right price and at the right time. He needs to prepare his team, World Cup or not, to come out the blocks fighting and pressing hard for their jersey during the first ten fixtures. He needs to be in the top ten at Christmas and he needs to ensure that he holds on to his most gifted players to build the nucleus of a better Newcastle United.
No more Cabayegate.