The last few weeks have been particularly tough one for everyone connected with Newcastle United. After their heroic defeat against Benfica in the Europa League, the city awoke the next morning, with a collective sigh, to mourn the death of their teams European Dream. The following Sunday evening they tossed and turned, tortured by the terrifying nightmare of relegation to the Championship, the consequence of a 3-0 thrashing at home to bitter rivals, Sunderland.
The paralysing fears held by Newcastle supporters, players and officials alike were realised last Saturday, when they ruthlessly put to the sword, in a 6-0 home hammering at the hands of Liverpool. The result saw Pardew’s sacrificial lambs become embroiled in a relegation dogfight.
There glorious failure to reach the Semi-Finals of the Europa League will be contrasted sharply be an ignominious, inglorious failure, should they be relegated to the Championship.
As 17th placed Newcastle- who drew against West Ham- are only now only 2 points ahead of perennial escapologists Wigan, who won 3-2 against West Brom to narrow the gap to the slenderest of margins. To compound their woes, they must tread a treacherous path to safety in their 2 remaining league fixtures, starting with an away clash at QPR. In their current form you wouldn’t gamble on them securing the points that will keep their heads above water. So it is possible that they will have to defeat an in form Arsenal, at St James, on the last day of the season to avoid a catastrophic collapse into the choppy seas of the Championship.
It is hard to fathom Newcastle’s spectacular fall from grace, as at this juncture of the campaign last season they were still chasing a Champion League place. At which point, Pardew was telling anyone who would listen, that his team were on the cusp of mounting a serious challenge to the Premier League’s elite. Blinded by his delusions of grandeur, he even had the gall to state “Forget about Everton, we have put ourselves in a similar position to Arsenal”
Beware of the False Prophets eh?
Now the Toon faithful must be scared that the Man who promised them divinity, is actually on the verge of leading them to Championship obscurity. Not as scared though, as Pardew, who is now well aware that the ravenous wolves aiming to inflict fatal wounds on his sides survival hopes, are not the nice, fluffy sheep he thought them to be.
Only last year, Newcastle Chairman, Mike Ashley, demonstrated his devotion to Pardew by way of an 8 year contract. In the era of trigger happy chairman, who start firing at the 1st sign of trouble, it seemed, to many, poignant that the club placed such faith in Pardew. For others it seemed foolhardy to afford a manager such security after one season of relative success. Yet, the most intrepid of gamblers wouldn’t have bet that Newcastle would be playing such a high stakes game of Russian roulette, involving their life or death in the Premier League this season. Now anyone would fancy a flutter on Newcastle going down, as much as they would gamble that, Mike Ashley will not be as faithful to Pardew should he fail to avoid the dreaded drop.
So Pardew, the False Prophet, may soon become the Lost Prophet.
And Newcastle fan’s who thought things couldn’t get much tougher than the last few weeks, think again. As the restless nights, and visions of the Grim Reaper of Relegation, will be a recurring nightmare over the next 3 weeks.