The King’s New Clothes

Danish writer H.C. Andersen once wrote a Children’s fairytale about an Emperor who hires two swindlers. They promise him a suit of a fabric so fine that it is invisible to anyone who, in their mind, is “hopelessly stupid”. The idea frightens people around the Emperor, and even though not even his ministers see the fabric themselves, they play along. Once the fabric is complete, the Emperor marches through town to parade his new acquisition. The watching people all applaud him until a child, too young to understand the need for sustaining the pretence, shouts that the Emperor is in fact not wearing any clothes at all. The child’s assertion is taken up by others as the charade becomes increasingly embarrassing. The Emperor, suspecting that the child is right, cringes, but continues his triumphant march anyway.

After four years of relentless strategic PR management, Alan Pardew and Mike Ashley must have been really disappointed. So much hard and proactive work had been put into the avoidance of exactly this, yet people found reason to complain. Not only was there disappointment, but the masses, who had been constructively informed and prepared with explanations of the new reality of Newcastle United, were even angry.

In their desired world, we as fans shouldn’t voice opinions about things we do not understand, but rather be thankful for the possibility of discounts at Papa John’s while “sovereign states” like Southampton and Everton keep making footballing strides.  This situation constitutes the biggest obstacle hindering a realisation of the Mike Ashley dream – a nullified and lifeless Newcastle United allowing him and his homeboys to proceed with their  untroubled moneymaking day-to-day agenda. But much like the people deemed “hopelessly stupid” in H.C. Andersen’s story, the crowd is now highlighting the fact that Alan Pardew isn’t wearing any clothes.

The reaction boils down to ambition of reclaiming a narrative that once constituted Newcastle United; pride, dignity and belief. That reaction was labelled “mass hysteria” by the man who is most responsible for the more modern narrative currently epitomizing our club; fear, 0-4 and science. But dismissing the protests as “mass hysteria” did not do the job. People outside of the most critical supporter spheres had started to pick up on what was actually going on.

Suddenly, the banished media started to refer to the quotes, the results and the numbers showcasing a man unfit for purpose. The tide was, and is, turning against the most central mechanism to Mike Ashley’s status-quo machinery. As a consequence, the representatives of our now not so proud, dignified or faithful club returned to what they do best. Unfortunately, that has nothing to do with correcting wrongs, but rather reinforcing them.

In a little less than two weeks, players, ex-players, managers and pundits have rushed to explain what a decent, hard-working and competent person Alan Pardew is.  Ashley’s PR go-to-guy, Keith Bishop, had his squad of spin-doctors call all kinds of people. It could have been Wayne Quinn, Hayden Mullins and Dan Gosling, but instead we’ve been corrected by Didi Hamann, Teddy Sheringham and Peter Lovenkrands. They all advocate the unconditional justification of Pardew’s position. “It’s Alan, trust me, he’s great, be nice to him”, seems to be the message.

In stark contrast to the argument presented by this website, their reasons stem from the underlying perception that ex-players and other people within the football establishment can correct our silly little misconceptions. In other words, we are hopelessly stupid.

Throughout this drive of defence speeches there are four distinguishable categories of people that have come out to cover for Newcastle’s beleaguered manager. Firstly, there are those who know Alan. They’ve been kind to tell us what sort of person he really is.

“His character has not changed, he’s exactly the same guy. He’s a top bloke and always will be.”
Mark Bright, ex-team mate at Crystal Palace

“I can’t explain to you how bad the social media side of things is because – I hate to say this – it could be an agent going on there, stirring things up. It could be somebody who lives in Australia.”
Steve Brown, Ebbsfleet Town manager

“He wants to be involved for as long as he can. He’s trying hard to turn it round. I like Pards, he’s a good man, long may it continue.”
Teddy Sheringham, brings females to the event

There are those who were dug up and paraded as knowledgeable voices, not only with regards to Newcastle United, despite questionable insight into our current demise.

“I hope he stays there. He’s in his fifth season. When you talk about managers getting the sack or being under pressure, the most important thing is whether there is life in the team.”
Dietmar Hamann, left Newcastle 15 years ago

“I thought he was not only a great guy but a fantastic manager to boot. I have to say in my own experiences I have had managers who only want to focus on the negatives and not highlight things when they are positive. “
Peter Lövenkrands

“He knows that he has to stay strong because that’s part of the job at Newcastle. He can’t do much more than what he is doing now.”
Nolberto Solano

“But Alan’s an experienced manager, he’s in a difficult moment and he’s been through the mill but he’s a very good manager. I know it’s the first time he’s been through this sort of thing but I think they’ll be fine.”
Gary Monk, Swansea manager

“There’s been an undercurrent ever since the pair got together but on the main I think Alan Pardew will look at what he’s achieved at the club – that great season where they finished in the Europa League positions”
Alan Curbishley, nobody’s manager

There are also those within the club who can thank Pardew’s judgement for their continued employment on Tyneside.

“We’re all frustrated but he’s been calm and he’s showed composure and that’s what we need.”
Mike Williamson

“Prick”
Andy Woodman

Incomprehensible swearing
John Carver

Lastly, there are journalists who have dug deep to find the real answer. A personal favourite is that “the rub of the green” is responsible for the 141 goals we have conceded in 83 league games since August 2012. Not only that, but the incredible lack of luck has also never seen us come back to win after trailing at half time during his tenure (P 43 W 0 D 6 L 37).

“Pardew has suffered a couple of huge slices of ill fortune by losing his two best players from last season, and also the rub of the green in matches. He might yet turn things round.”
Sean Ingle, The Guardian

There is a recurring theme in the declarations of Pardew’s true colours; the inability to explain why he is the right man. The hypotheses are almost fascinating in their blatant lack of substantial evidence (other than the correct assumption that this angry mob is spearheaded by an Australian agent). Nothing in Alan Pardew’s past, present or future indicates that he’s the right man to lead Newcastle United. Nobody seems able to point to the strengths of Alan Pardew, aiding the idea that there are practically none. His naked appearance is acknowledged by more and more people.

It’s time for the emperor “king” to put on clothes and abdicate.

  • Richard

    This isn’t the best article you’ve written so far – in fact it’s slightly ‘messy’. (What’s the Sheringham link about? You’ve been so professional so far?)
    However, you do touch on a very important theme, so maybe revisit it and tidy it up a bit.
    Also, the Keith Bishop stuff maybe requires a full article to itself.
    Especially in light of his previous thoughts on Honesty:
    http://www.featuresexec.com/bulletin/interview_article.php?id=16614#.VDVXCXZycpF
    But please, keep going. We NEED this site.

  • Joe Hawkins

    Pardew is now “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

  • Whitbymag

    So say we all.

  • Reg Burlam

    Great article chaps. I’m getting more frustrated by the day having to see and read the clubs propaganda in defence of Pardew. That’s then compounded by Pardew now talking as though everything is now back to normal.

    He has the worst form in the entire league for almost a year, how long can possibly go on?