Fickle or Passionate? The ballad of a Newcastle United fan

By Stuart Dick.

It’s the start of January and 2015 is in full swing. The New Year brings excitement and a fresh start for individuals across the world. Well, except for Newcastle United fans.

Approximately 4,100 fans made the trip to the King Power Stadium, in the hope that 2015 would bring their first major trophy since 1969 – and their first FA Cup in 60 years.

Knocked out: Newcastle's loss to Leicester City was the fourth time in five seasons that they have been knocked out at the third round stage,

Knocked out: Newcastle’s loss to Leicester City was the fourth time in five seasons that they have been knocked out at the third round stage of the FA Cup.

90 minutes later and we know the answer; a lacklustre display from the team in black and white saw the Tyneside club go out of the competition at the third round stage for the fourth time in five seasons. In fact, not since the 2005/6 season have Newcastle United passed the fourth round stage.

Meanwhile social media was awash with opposing fans and media pundits voicing their opinions…

“Serves you right for hounding out Alan Pardew, he was doing a great job under difficult circumstances.”

“Newcastle isn’t even a big club, when was the last time they won something?”

And the always apparent, “Newcastle fans are fickle.”

Let’s take these one by one.

Newcastle have lost 45 league games in the last three seasons, that is more defeats then the likes of Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion who have changed managers a number of times in that span.

Alan Pardew’s side have also conceded the most goals by any Premier League club in the previous three seasons, conceding a mammoth 155 goals. They don’t fare much better going forward, with the Magpies scoring only 107 goals – only Stoke City, Aston Villa and Sunderland have scored less.

Rejoice: The majority of Newcastle United fans were happy to see Pardew leave for Crystal Palace. In the last three seasons under Pardew, Newcastle conceded 155 goals and only scoring 107.

Rejoice: The majority of Newcastle United fans were happy to see Pardew leave for Crystal Palace. In the last three seasons under Pardew, Newcastle conceded 155 goals and only scoring 107.

“Newcastle fans are fickle.”

Alan Pardew’s record in 2014 makes even grimmer reading – out of the 92 football league clubs, only Carlisle United, Hull City, Hartlepool United and Blackpool have a higher loss percentage than the Magpies – who lost a staggering 52.6% of their league games.

Coupled with this, they’re only outdone by Hartlepool United when it comes to failing to score in a game – 47.37% of the time in fact.

“Newcastle fans are fickle.”

Newcastle also rank 86th out of 92 in goals per game scored (0.95) and goals per game conceded (1.66). That’s right, Alan Pardew’s side struggled to score goals whilst being equally adept at conceding.

“Newcastle fans are fickle.”

The Premier League table based on 2014 alone sees Newcastle finish 14th on 42 points with the worst goal difference in the division. Only an incredible November run saved Newcastle from sitting comfortably bottom of the table.

Now let’s look at the difficult circumstances; namely noting that Mike Ashley sold his best players and didn’t make funds available to Pardew for replenishments.

Nobody can deny that the sale of Yohan Cabaye was a huge blow for Newcastle in the 2013/14 season, but outside of that one sale, Newcastle have done extremely well in the transfer market. The £35 million deal for Andy Carroll was a stroke of genius and the £20 million gained by the Cabaye deal did not go unused.

But Pardew has spent over £65 million in the past three seasons and wasted a good majority of that money. Only Moussa Sissoko (£2.5m); Ayoze Perez (1.6m), Dayrl Janmaat (£5m), Mathieu Debuchy (£5.5m) and Loic Remy (£2m) have had any sort of impact on affairs.

That’s £16.6m well spent, the rest of the money has been spent on lacklustre purchases who just couldn’t cut it at the Premier League level – the likes of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Yoan Gouffran, Vurnon Anita.

Add in the struggles of £12 million signing Remy Cabella and French striker Emmanuel Riviere and you begin to see the real problem, Pardew has had money to spend, but he has struggled to spend it wisely.

“He’s doing a great job under difficult circumstances.”

Struggling: £12 million pound summer signing Remy Cabella has struggled so far and has found himself on the bench recently.

Struggling: £12 million pound summer signing Remy Cabella has struggled so far and has found himself on the bench recently.

The media and opposing fans were quick to defend Alan Pardew from the ‘fickle’ Newcastle fans, but if you had watched Newcastle for an extended period of time you would realise, Pardew was the main problem.

For the majority of 2014 he stuck with a 4-2-3-1 formation that produced defeat after defeat. His questionable substitutions, his insistence on playing the likes of Yoan Gouffran and Mike Williamson who have struggled all year to find any kind of form, didn’t make sense.

Let’s move on to the second opinion of Newcastle fans, ‘Newcastle isn’t even a big club.’

This ‘non big club’ garners a support of 52,000 loyal fans despite watching the pitiful drivel that the side has produced over the last three seasons. This ‘non big club’ has one of the largest and loudest away following in the Premier League despite being let down again and again over the past 46 seasons.

But the most salient point is this, if Newcastle United is not a big club, why does everyone have an opinion on Newcastle’s matters?

“Newcastle fans are fickle.”

These four words annoy any Newcastle United fan more than anything else. Arsenal fans call the Toon Army fickle when they themselves were up in arms after going eight years without a trophy. Manchester United fans complained about how Moyes was ruining their club and wanted him sacked after just one season.

It’s not like Newcastle fans are asking for a top four finish, a Geordie manager or a long cup run. Despite what everyone seems to think, we are realistic.

All Newcastle fans want is a passionate owner and a passionate team – something that has been lacking for a number of years now.

Who do you think should be Newcastle’s next manager/Head Coach?

What needs to change at Newcastle for them to be successful again?

Read more from Stuart Dick here!

Follow @StuOnSport

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