Category: Newcastle United

Alan Pardew, along with first-team coach Steve Stone (right) and several other members of the Newcastle United back-room staff, have been rewarded for the team’s fine form with long-term contracts (Image | Getty)

Alan Pardew has made an impressive impact thus far in his Newcastle United tenure. Now, he’ll have longer than even he could have dreamed to work on restoring the Toon Army to its former glory.

Pardew signed a historic eight-year contract yesterday which will keep him at St James’s Park the Sports Direct Arena until 2020. The move signals a significant change of focus for a team which has had eight permanent managers – Pardew included – in as many years. The deal is the longest offered to a manager in English football’s living memory.

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Escape to Victor… Oh, wait | Everton striker Victor Anichebe thought he had scored. He had scored. It was not given, however. (Image | Sky Sports)

Normally barely a month passes in the top flight without the goal line technology and video replay debate cropping up. On Monday David MoyesEverton became the latest side to be robbed by incorrect decisions made by linesmen and referees. First, Marouane Fellaini saw his legitimate goal ruled out for offside before Victor Anichebe’s late header clearly crossed the line, only for play to be waved on by the officials. What was the result of this?

Well, unsurprisingly the world has still carried on after such a grievous injustice. Moyes, although probably still spitting feathers and burning a giant effigy of referee Mike Jones, acknowledged that the aforementioned decisions had cost his side a victory but is yet to submit an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

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A platform to build on? | Fans have been perplexed by the decision of Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew not to strengthen last year’s overachieving squad. (Image | Mirror)

Newcastle United confounded expectations and surprised us all by finishing in fifth position last season, one place ahead of Champions League winners Chelsea. However, the club’s lack of activity in this summer’s transfer market signals a clear lack of intent from the Magpies.

It ought to be stressed that the performance last season was no fluke. This did not constitute another “Ipswich Town – 2000/2001”. It was not a flash in the pan achievement. Manger Alan Pardew has an array of genuine top class talent at his disposal, yet Newcastle continue to pass under the radar. Despite this, discerning observers ought not to let the media’s lack of acknowledgement fool them. After all, “why don’t we just talk about Liverpool instead?” Does this sound familiar? It should.

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Sergio Aguero fires past Paddy Kenny to secure Manchester City‘s first title in 44 years. (Image | The Guardian)

The ultimate round of matches of the 2011-2012 Premier League season had more twists and turns than a rollercoaster. In this vein, footballing clichés were wheeled out by the bucket load. At Manchester City, it really was a game of two halves, as the league leaders thoroughly pummelled the Queens Park Rangers defence, peppering shots at Paddy Kenny and any other body the R’s could get in the way. 44 of them, in fact. With Manchester United maintaining a 1-0 lead over Sunderland for the majority of the game at the Stadium of Light, all eyes were on the Etihad Stadium. Pablo Zabaleta set the Citizens on their way just before half-time, at almost exactly the same point as Bolton Wanderers completed their turnaround against Stoke City to take a 2-1 lead. QPR were relegated, Bolton were staying up, and City had a hand on the trophy. Surely this would be it from Mark Hughes’ ultra-defensive side?

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Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard lifts the Carling Cup, the club's first major trophy in six years (Reuters)

Liverpool’s long wait for a trophy is over following a 3-2 penalty shoot-out triumph over a battling Cardiff City, after the game finished 2-2 following extra time.

After the first three takers – Steven Gerrard and Charlie Adam for Liverpool, and Cardiff’s Kenny Miller – had missed, Don Cowie gave Cardiff the advantage. Dirk Kuyt hit back for Liverpool, and after Rudy Gestede struck the post, Stewart Downing put Liverpool ahead. Peter Whittingham levelled the scores, but with Glen Johnson having beaten Tom Heaton, Anthony Gerrard missed the crucial kick.

It was a devastating end for Cardiff’s cup adventure. The Welsh side punched above their weight throughout the game and pushed Liverpool until the final whistle.

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