As the post-match analysis drew to a close and the expectant feeling of joy that usually settles in when I see Sunderland take a good thrashing still hadn’t arrived up popped Paolo Di Canio for a post-match interview.
Yet the brief moment of joy I got when his face arrived on the screen as he was clearly (and rightly so) fuming at his team’s 6-1 defeat to Aston Villa quickly disappeared and turned to anger, not towards the Italian but towards Alan Pardew.
|Pardew and Di Canio|
Di Canio uttered the words that I’ve never heard Pardew say at his time at either Newcastle United or indeed West Ham:
"If the team has performed in this way, the first person responsible is the manager"
Di Canio stood up and said – you know what I got it wrong. He didn’t open the book of excuses, he didn’t blame the red car of Stephane Sessegon (even though he possibly could have as it was dubious) he didn’t blame it on injuries or any other feeble excuse, he simply stood up and took it like a man. Like a team.
Pardew could take note from this, for I have not once seen Pardew stand up with his team – not once have I heard Pardew admit he got it wrong and not once I have I heard Pardew just admit that they were beaten not because of Europe or injuries or referee decisions, simply just because he got it wrong.
The Newcastle United manager seemingly lives in a world of his own, on a planet where he is the greatest manager of them all. Where he’s never wrong and he’s always right even if we lose but especially if win. He’s a man in it for himself, not for the team but solely for Mr Pardew. The self-proclaimed tactical genius spoke of ‘my team’ this weekend after Liverpool turned Newcastle over 6-0, his teams are apparently ‘renowned for being on the front foot’ - from my memory he’s play one upfront all season and his tactics have favoured the hoof the ball approach rather than the get it down and play style. Go out and ask any West Ham United fan and they’ll laugh at that quote, front foot? The guy is deluded and it’s about time Mike Ashley cut him loose now because if Newcastle United survive and right now it is hanging in the balance, the club will face a battle to hold onto their star players.
There haven’t been many of them this season but it has largely been down to the tactics of the great silver hair genius, who had restricted to Yohan Cabaye and co from reaching their full potential – his defensive tactics, sorry ‘front foot’ tactics have stopped the team reaching its full potential. If he remains, you’ll see a flurry of transfer requests – it’s not just about this season it’s about the future, Pardew has lost the dressing room and they’re not playing for him; Saturday evening proved that.
Pardew’s unfounded self-confidence and belief are going to drag this club down, I never thought I’d want to see us share similar traits as Sunderland but I’d love to have a manager able of admitting he’s wrong instead of reeling of the same sorry excuses week in week out.