We’re all a bit self-contradictory in this football game. David Moyes for example is lauded as a saint, not because his team now happens to employ one of the sexiest forward lines north of the Mediterranean and has therefore finally quashed it’s traditional slow start, but because he’s been there so damn long. Ten years in fact. We look to Everton and think, “There’s a team that knows to stick with the manager through thick and thin. And look what he hath wrought—Jelavic, Anichebe, Fellaini, Baines.”
Today, Newcastle awarded Alan Pardew an eight-year contract. The going theory on Twitter right now is that this is batshit mental, a return to the Kevin Keegan Krazy Days. The Telegraph felt nothing of using the adjective ‘staggering’ in their headline.
Presumably everyone feels this way because Newcastle haven’t yet matched the form that saw them finish fifth in the league last year. This is clearly a case of Stockholm Syndrome: we’ve been told sacking managers at the first sign of weakness is the normal thing to do for so long now, we can’t fathom a club attempting to do the exact opposite, even when our better selves recognize that as a saner course of action.
It might behove the “Holy Shit how could Newcastle do that?” folk to check the 2003-04 Premier League table. That was Moyes’ second season in charge of the club (his first, in 2002-03, saw Everton finish a respectable 7th)—they narrowly avoided relegation and finished 17th.
A lesser—ie normal—club would have sacked Moyes on the spot and, I dunno, hired Paul Jewell or something. Everton, for better, for worse, stuck with Moyes. And kept sticking to him. Until eventually he repeatedly ended up in the same sentences with Sir Alex Ferguson simply by virtue of his tenure.
All Newcastle have done is signaled they want to stick with Pardew over the long haul. And in the scatter-brained football world, this makes the club ‘insane.’
What are we missing here?