When this season is over, we’ll probably know how bad of a decision was it to give Alan Pardew an 8 year contract. Newcastle are still in Europe, but are also facing relegation battles, while the English identity of the team, something Pardew has been proud of for most of his career, is slowly fading away.
Rewind to 2006, when Pardew was the manager of West Ham. Pardew goes on a mini-rant, heavily criticizing Arsene Wenger, with whom he’s had some sort of personal rivalry since arriving to manage the Hammers. Arsenal went through a long stretch of not playing a single English player (Over 700 minutes), even playing a match against Real Madrid. David Beckham, a Real Madrid player at the time, was the only English player on the pitch.
I saw a headline saying Arsenal are flying the flag for Britain in the Champions League, but I had to wonder where that British involvement was when I saw the team. Every English club should carry at least three British players in the first team.
The foreign players have added massively to our game, but the soul of the club is the homegrown players and they should be integrated into that team. It is important we don’t lose sight that this is the English Premier League and English players should be involved.
I know it is difficult to buy British players because the market is expensive. Chelsea are in a position where they can pay over the odds to bring in those players whereas we have had to search through the lower divisions to do that and Dean Ashton was the only player we had to pay top money for.
Fast forward to 2013. Newcastle have only two English players that are regulars in the team, and one of them will soon be pushed out: Kevin Williamson and James Perch. With the arrival of Mathieu Debuchy, another French player, this time at right back, there’s a good chance that both Perch and Danny Simpson will be relegated to bench duties. Yoan Gouffran from Bordeaux, another French player, with the famous grass allergy, is the next Frenchman to be joining the club very soon.
Opinions and principles change – the money at his disposal, the relative success that’s gone to his head, and the scrambling to somehow make things right this season. Pardew and the men running Newcastle are buying anyone they can get their hands on, and nearly 100% of the time he isn’t British. Is this another reason for looking so bad this season?