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Football is mental
First published in The Pink on Saturday, December 11, 2010
SOME concepts are just hard for any lay person to get their head around.
For example, the fact that the faster you travel, the slower time passes is fairly mind blowing stuff.
As is the revelation that the 27km Large Hadron Collider is only four metres long from the point of view of the atoms whizzing around at almost the speed of light.
Mental, I’m sure you’ll agree.
But none of that is as crazy as the events at Newcastle over the last week.
Chris Hughton was, by any measure, doing a good job at a club that sure as hell needed a calming influence.
No one will ever really know exactly what Mike Ashley’s thought process was.
But, Alan Pardew is in charge of the Toon, and I think he’ll do a decent job for them.
Whether or not he’ll do any better than Hughton would have, is a point that will be debated over many beers the length and breadth of the nation.
Reading the reaction of many Saints fans to the appointment was, however, a bemusing task.
A number of supporters online started saying how sorry they were for the St James’ faithful as Pardew did ‘a poor job’ here, to quote one fan.
Really? Does anyone truly believe Pardew did badly at Southampton?
At the time of his sacking, more than 90 per cent of fans polled said the decision to get rid of him was a bad one.
Under his tenure we won a trophy and came close to getting into the play-offs despite a ten-point deduction and no preseason.
Such a change of opinion is – to my mind – tantamount to the rewriting of history.
Hearsay and malicious conjecture seem to have replaced results and performances as the yardstick to measure the success of a football manager.
Pardew certainly wasn’t Mourinho, but in no way was he a failure at Saints.
The pressing issue now will be who – if anyone – will he want to take from Southampton to Newcastle.
Lallana is the obvious candidate – especially as we are still waiting to hear the state of play over a possible new contract offer.
The step-up from League One to the top flight is a big one but surely Adam would be the most capable of doing it, along with the prodigious Alex Chamberlain.
Also, I’d rather have Rickie Lambert on my Premier League bench than Leon Best, that’s for sure.
We don’t want any of them to leave – that would be suicide for the team without some major investment to replace them – but who knows what Pardew will do with whatever warchest Ashley gives him.
Nicola Cortese has said no one will be leaving. I hope that is the case.
Until someone makes an offer though, we just don’t know. In football, everyone has their price.
Let’s just hope the Saints players have tags on them big enough to put others off.