Just what is it about Newcastle United? Why do the Geordie's have this intolerable sense of entitlement to success? You would think that with no league title since 1927 and no major trophy for nearly 40 years (the Intertoto cup of 2006 does not count, for those Magpie fans outraged at this sentence) they would realise that they are exactly what Sir Alex Ferguson described as in 2013; 'a wee club in the North East.'
For those Newcastle supporters offended and upset by this, I say to you, get over it and accept it because it is true. I have seriously never been able to understand where the expectation comes from up in the Toon.
Historically, Newcastle have not been dreadful and have won more than many others, yet not more even than their bitter rivals and neighbours, Sunderland, who have accumulated six league titles to Newcastle's four and do not put nearly as much pressure on their manager and board to get results.
Of course, the fans want the best, but don't all fans? Sometimes you have to accept that things take time and with those clubs above you with more money, history and prestige, you can't achieve greatness with ease.
In the mid-early nineties, Newcastle were in a position where expectation was relatively fair. Challenging for the Premier League title, they had players of the calibre of Alan Shearer, Faustino Asprilla and Les Ferdinand, led by Kevin Keegan, and only pipped by Manchester United after the former Liverpool man's infamous post match interview where to say he lost his emotions is an understatement.
It would be unfair, during these times, to have criticised the Toon Army of complaining, should there have been a fall from grace, as it turned out there was. Alas, we are now in different times and in the modern game, the only clubs able to sustain consistent success appear to be those with either a strong financial backing or a colorful history in winning trophies and a reputable tradition.
In some cases, the successful clubs will have both. If you look at the Premier League table you can list a number of teams with a much stronger financial backing than Newcastle; Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur will all provide their managers with sufficient transfer budgets.
In respect of tradition and history, City, Chelsea and Tottenham are more aligned than the other three in the list, but the former two's financial resources vastly outweighs the need to lure players with the prospect of playing for a club with a rich history.
Both Chelsea and City have also managed to have a lot of modern success, making them an attractive proposition to players of good calibre. Spurs may be a good comparison to Newcastle in the respect of history and prestige, but have had much more consistency of top table finishes and European football as well as having had success stories in players such as Gareth Bale and Luka Modric.
Already then, you have six clubs who you would expect to consistently finish above Newcastle United. Throw Everton into that mix, with solid top half finishes over the last 10-15 years, similar financial prowess and a much richer history of success and that leaves Newcastle just about scraping into 8th, provided that the many other clubs on their level don't beat them to it.
What exactly then, did the Geordies expect of Alan Pardew during his tenure at the club? Or for that matter any of the many other managers they've had since the late Bobby Robson was sacked in 2004? This is a question I'm not sure anyone can answer with any seriousness, it is something I have wandered ever since I was about 12 years old.
Do they really expect European football every year? If so then why? What makes them so much more deserving than the likes of Southampton, Aston Villa or Sunderland? Of course supporters should always strive for the best, but the 11 managers they had in six years (from 2004-2010) shows an incredible lack of patience, instigated by an arrogant and deluded sense of entitlement.
The irony of course is that Pardew wasn't pushed like the many men before him, he walked. Clearly he had had enough of the fickle nature of the North East club. Just a few games into the season fans were calling for his head, only for him to completely turn the fortunes of his side around.
It's as though the Magpies don't seem to understand that every team experiences poor form and that you can't judge a manager over a few games, half a season, or in some cases a whole season. To be fair to Pardew he's actually proven to at least ensure consistency during his time at the helm.
Where do they go from here?
Newcastle may not have set the world alight but they have been far from trouble during his tenure and even finished fifth in 2012. Building on such success isn't so easy at a club without as much financial strength or long line of trophy wins. In this respect, theres not much more Pardew could really have done to satisfy the Toon.
The Newcastle fans will do well to remember that prior to Pardew's appointment, they had fallen into Championship football after a string of managers and much uncertainty. Although Chris Hughton was unfairly dismissed, Pardew ensured a long run of security and stability which they had been craving since Robson had left.
The likes of Tim Sherwood, Steve Mclaren and the rest on the other hand, will do well to remember that taking the job at St James Park will bring with it an expectation of mammoth and frankly unrealistic proportions, as well as a fickle and ungrateful fan base. They would do well to stay clear, nothing is good enough for the Toon army.
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