ONSIDE: Newcastle United win at West Ham United is tall order

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JUST finished reading I Am The Secret Footballer.

It is worth a dabble if only to try to work out who the author actually is.

What we do know is that his career is now on the wane after he made it up to the Premier League from a smaller club.

My first guess was former Crewe and Liverpool star Danny Murphy.

Now I’m more inclined to think it is ex-Reading and Stoke City striker Dave Kitson.

Whatever the truth, which not even social media has been able to categorically confirm, his insight to the modern game easily would easily while away a three-hour holiday flight later this year.

One subject he briefly tackles is how your average punter should not challenge those within the game about tactics et al if they bump into them in the pub or petrol station (do Premier League stars fill up their own cars these days?).

I can see to a large extent where he is coming from.

While only a mediocre journalist, I still reckon I know more than most people who don’t write for a living about whether or not a compound noun should be hyphenated on becoming adjectival.

So if that is the case then can someone with a little more nous than me please explain why Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew decided to introduce a new 4-2-3-1 formation for his club’s 51st game of the season?

One 6-0 home defeat to Liverpool later and I imagine it is quickly going to be ditched for Saturday’s trip to former boss Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United.

Much of this week’s post mortem has centred on sudden suspicions that our French Foreign Legion have divided the dressing room.

Mind, no-one was saying so little over a month ago when the likes of Moussa Sissoko was rampaging through defences and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was keeping them out at the back.

That said, Yanga-Mbiwa, usually unbeatable along the deck, might be exposed by West Ham’s, how shall we say it, physical approach this weekend.

Nor is fit-again Fabricio Coloccini likely to enjoy such a robust encounter after more than two months out.

I would be tempted to bring back the taller Mike Williamson along Steven Taylor in defence and give Shola Ameobi a rare start up front alongside Papiss Demba Cisse if only to help repel the inevitable aerial barrage.

Even then Allardyce’s uncanny knack of engineering Newcastle defeats – something he perfected while unfortunately at St James’s Park – is likely to prevail.

Expect the travelling supporters’ attention to wander to Wigan’s fortunes at West Brom long before the final whistle.