Pardew eyes silverware

The Magpies last lifted silverware when they won the European Fairs

Cup in 1969, and have not claimed a major domestic prize since the

1955 FA Cup Final. Pardew admits it may be several years before

they can dream again of breaking into the top six on a regular

basis and challenging for honours in the league in the wake of the

financial restructuring the club underwent following relegation

from the top flight two years ago. However, he is confident that

shrewd investment to increase both the size and the quality of his

squad will allow them to target cup success and follow in the

footsteps of Birmingham, who claimed the Carling Cup this season.

Newcastle had already bowed out of the League cup when Pardew

arrived on Tyneside in December and made a swift and embarrassing

third round exit in the FA Cup at the hands of League Two

Stevenage, but he is planning a serious assault next time around.

The manager said: “The thing we really need to bring into this club

is two or three players who have real flair and can excite our

crowd. “It is going to be very, very difficult, of course, to break

into that Champions League position or push for Europe at this

stage, but it would be nice to play a brand of football that is

suited to Newcastle, an attacking, front foot type of game-plan in

every game we play and see where it takes us. “That’s the key

because if we have a bigger squad, then maybe we can attack one of

the cups. “That’s probably the first thing on our agenda, to try to

win a cup as soon as we can. “When I was at West Ham, we targeted

the FA Cup and came within a whisker of winning it, so it’s not

something I have lost focus on. “The squad this year was really

small and that worried me. We didn’t, of course, set out to lose at

Stevenage, but maybe on reflection, that result didn’t do us any

harm in terms of getting a strong position in the league with the

small squad we have.” Newcastle could finish as high as ninth with

victory over fellow promoted side West Brom at St James’ Park

tomorrow, a result which would ensure they end the campaign above

arch-rivals Sunderland. In any event, they will be no lower than

14, and that is a noteworthy achievement considering the

difficulties normally experienced by top flight newcomers and the

fact that Hatem Ben Arfa has missed most of the campaign through

injury, and that key striker Andy Carroll was sold in January.

Pardew is under no illusion that things will be any easier next

season and will not allow the club to stand still. He said: “The

second year in the Premier League, as we know, can be tricky, it

can be troublesome. “You lose the euphoria of promotion, so we have

to be very careful and make sure we are very professional next year

and that we do things really, really well – and we have a bigger

squad.” To that end, Pardew met owner Mike Ashley yesterday to

discuss his summer recruitment plans. He described reports linking

the club with the likes of West Ham striker Demba Ba and Wigan’s

Charles N’Zogbia as “unsavoury” with the Hammers already down and

the Latics fighting for their lives, and was giving nothing away as

to the identities of the men in his sights. He said: “He [Ashley]

was here yesterday. We had a good meeting and we discussed some

possible targets. “Mike will digest the figures and we will go from

there.”