There are some interesting goings-on up in the northeast of England this summer on Tyneside, but is there ever a time when there aren’t? If you’re a Geordie, surely, at least on the surface, you’re chomping at the bit to get the season started.
Newcastle thus far have brought a very talented array of players in the door at St. James’ Park by way of Siem de Jong, Emmanuel Riviere, Daryl Janmaat, Jack Colback (just to dig at Sunderland just that little bit more surely) and Remy Cabella. If done right, the Magpies could be in with a shout for a European place if the talent on offer at the club is properly tapped into. But just when you imagine that the seeds of optimism will continue to be planted, you remember that Alan Pardew is still the headmaster of all things ridiculous at the club.
Never mind the notion that no one on this side of the galaxy is more adept at snuffing out the creative spark of his players, which surely must fester in the large portion of the Newcastle supporters conscience that tells them that all these strong signings this summer will amount to nothing, but Emperor Caligudew has well and truly been on the path of making himself, and his ego, bigger than the club. In no other way have we seen this take shape than in the continued alienation of Hatem Ben Arfa, who, in all honestly, is the clubs best player when you consider pure talent.
Paranoid, untrusting, unable to receive and accept criticism and making himself the focal point of the club when it is not even he that truly carries the standard into battle, Caligudew’s crowning achievement surely must be his treatment of Ben Arfa in the latest row between the Imperial camp and the Frenchman’s representatives.
Between claiming that the former Marseilles player is unfit and overweight coming into this season (claims that have been categorically denied and challeged by his agent, Michel Ouazine), and routinely passing over Ben Arfa for first team selection last season when he was consistently fit for active service, where he instead would opt for Gabriel Obertan (just…just why?), it is clear that the relationship between Emperor and one of his most capable Prefects has been irreversibly damaged.
While I can understand the sentiment that Ben Arfa may have gone too far over his willingness to be loose-lipped inside the Newcastle camp about his criticism’s of the manager (something that, perhaps, more players needed to consider being involved in), is it not the better option to have the two parties sit down and hash out their differences in a more civil fashion which could hopefully patch the relationship to the point where the club could field it’s best XI possible week in and week out?
The issue remains, that Caligudew’s ego (and his willingness to keep feeding it, in glutinous fashion) has become more important than the Newcastle collective. With owner Mike Ashley’s continued faith being placed in him, there is seemingly no end in sight, short of a complete player uprising that will force his hand in giving him the ax.
Say what you will about Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and even Jose Mourinho (and I am pretty sure his ego is somewhere in the stratosphere), but despite their own personal ego’s that have been created through achievement, they still have done right by the club on numerous occasions.
As for Alan Pardew, he only continued to do what is right for Alan Pardew, and until that issue is sorted, no amount of successful transfer windows will ever stabilize the black and white empire of the northeast until they put into place someone worthy of sitting on the thrown of St. James.