TRUST Newcastle United to ruin what should have been a jubilant weekend for their fans.
Not only do Alan Pardew’s side record a resounding 4-1 victory at Sunderland Reserves, sorry Hull City, to pass last season’s pitiful 41-point haul more than two months early.
But the neighbours keep their part of the bargain by shipping three second-half goals to gift Manchester City the Capital One Cup.
Yes, I accept Sunderland gave a better account of themselves than the Mapgies did during their miserable FA Cup final defeats in 1998 and 1999.
Yet does anyone of a black and white persuasion really care?
“Plucky” headlines certainly make for better reading today than “lucky” would have done.
Back then to Newcastle and Pardew’s disgraceful behaviour in particular.
While his headbutt on Hull’s David Meyler was hardly “Yosser” Hughes in his 1980s’ Boys from the Blackstuff heyday, it was still inexcusable regardless of the home player’s inital push.
As to whether the reaction merits Pardew’s dismissal, as a string of pundits lined up to suggest, did “Yosser’s” favourite team, Liverpool, sack Luis Suarez after he racially abused Patrice Evra or bit Branislav Ivanovic?
“Ah,” goes the argument, “but Suarez is only a player and not a manager.”
I bet though he still earns a few more bob in image rights than Pardew does.
Besides, the words “football” and “role models” have always made for uneasy bedfellows and if the national side axed every player guilty of on or off-field indiscretions then we would have even less chance than we already do at this summer’s World Cup.
My personal view is that Pardew deserves a eight-ten match touchline ban and a hefty fine on top of the £100,000 already docked from his Newcastle United wages.
The Magpies should also make sure that their penalty ends up in the hands of charity rather than disappearing back into the club’s coffers.
If that means Pardew should stand uneasily in front of the cameras with a giant cheque then so be it.
Oh the irony of it all.
The Newcastle United boss unsuccessfully begs his bosses to sign a few cheques during the transfer window and now it’s closed he has to write them a fat one instead.
Well done, by the way, to his players on Saturday.
Far too many Newcastle sides I’ve had the misfortune to witness over the years would have caved in once Hull deservedly pulled the score back to 2-1 at the start of the second half.
But such was the Magpies’ dominance there on in that the 4-1 scoreline was ultimately flattering to the home side.
Let’s hope Steve Bruce’s men aren’t too scarred before Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final at home to Sunderland.
We can’t be putting up so soon with all that red and white Wembley nonsense again.
– GAVIN LEDWITH
Enjoy this drivel?
Here’s some we uttered earlier: