Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Swiss Ramble on Newcastle United - Life In A Northern Town

What a difference a few months can make, especially at a football club. Newcastle United fans endured a turbulent pre-season, as they saw the heart and soul of their team leaving for pastures new with Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton making their way to London and José Enrique joining his former colleague Andy Carroll at Liverpool. The departing players wasted little time in putting the boot into their former club, which might be expected, but this exodus did seem to undermine the authority of manager Alan Pardew, who had firmly stated that they would all stay. Pardew himself still had a lot to prove to the Geordie faithful, as his track record at former clubs had provided little support for his abundant self-confidence. Above all, the rotund figure of Mike Ashley loomed large in the background with his almost unparalleled ability to alienate supporters with a series of embarrassing gaffes and his seeming unwillingness to hand Pardew much of the £35 million received for Carroll. That was then, this is now. The Toon army has had much to celebrate in a season that has seen their team restore the pride in the shirt. Playing some thoughtful, attractive football, Newcastle currently lie sixth in the Premier League with a genuine chance of qualifying for Europe.

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