ONSIDE: Newcastle United players and boss Alan Pardew to blame for latest FA Cup surrender

Onside
Onside

YEOVIL Town, Stevenage, Southend United and Rochdale.

All sides with pressures of their own at one end or other of their respective leagues.

Yet all safely through to the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Not so Premier League giants Newcastle United after their tame 2-1 home surrender to crisis club Cardiff City on Saturday.

It would be tempting to pin the blame solely on owner Mike Ashley and his apparent dislike for the competition.

You know the depressing theory: why bust a gut chasing £4m from an FA Cup final win when there’s £60m-plus to bank from merely preserving your top-flight status?

But in my book the players and manager Alan Pardew are far more culpable for this particular exit.

A weakened Newcastle United side still started Saturday’s tie with seven full internationals.

Even the remaining four players have all represented their country at some level.

Oh and the three substitutes – the word “somehow” may need adding at this point for Messrs Ameobi and Obertan – also have full caps.

Yet between them there was barely a defence-splitting move all game.

Nor could they handle the basics with Cardiff, themselves fielding a squad side, dominant at corners at both ends of the pitch.

Pardew predictably bleated that this was the first time his back five had played together.

Presumably though they should all be familiar with each other after some old-fashioned daily routine called training.

It is perhaps a blessing that Newcastle rarely sign any players otherwise the inevtiable bedding-in period would make this shambles even worse.

And so the Magpies’ hunt for a domestic trophy will enter a 60th year.

In the meantime, with an extra £800,000 or so on offer in prize money per position, there is at least the excitement of the Premier League placement pot to play for over the remaining five months of the season.

It is probably the only pot Newcastle are ever likely to get their hands on.

– GAVIN LEDWITH

@GLedwithHMail