Pardew urges Toon patience

The Magpies ended their first campaign back in the top flight in

12th place as a result of Sunday’s final day 3-3 draw with West

Brom, and would have finished ninth had they been able to defend

the 3-0 lead they held with just 28 minutes to play. Their

disappointment was eased by the relative comfort with which they

managed to hang on to their regained status, and as Pardew prepared

to put his summer recruitment plans into place, he was well aware

that expectations for next season will be significantly higher than

the sole ambition of survival. The manager said: “That’s what I

wanted to do. You don’t want to come here and say, ‘Mediocrity,

that’s what we want’. We want to excel. “But you are going to have

to invest very well and shrewdly over the next two or three years

to get yourself really competitive for that top eight. “We could

finish next year higher than top eight, maybe, but it might be

because a little bit of luck falls our way and we steer clear of

injuries. “To have sustained success up there, we need to build

over the next two years, for sure.” The need for that building work

was illustrated by the late capitulation which cost Pardew’s men

the three points they craved as they brought the curtain down on a

successful campaign. Just as the 4-4 draw with Arsenal after they

had trailed 4-0 earlier in the season felt like a victory, this

felt like a defeat. At 3-0, Newcastle were flattered by the

scoreline with woeful defending and a goalkeeping error by Scott

Carson contributing to first-half strikes from Steven Taylor and

Peter Lovenkrands before Jonas Olsson put through his own goal two

minutes after the restart. However, there seemed little prospect of

a collapse even after Somen Tchoyi had reduced the deficit with 62

minutes gone. But the Cameroon international lashed home a second

10 minutes later and as the Magpies wilted alarmingly, dived to

head home Olsson’s last-minute cross to snatch a point and allow

the full-back to atone for his earlier howler. And so a season

which had exceeded the expectations of many ended with a whimper

and boos rather than cheers as the chance of a top-10 finish and

the opportunity to lord it over derby rivals Sunderland dissolved.

However, when the dust settles on a disappointing afternoon, Pardew

and his players will reflect on a job well done which has helped to

establish a far more solid foundation than the one upon which their

first campaign back in the top flight was based. The Newcastle

boss, of course, only took over at the helm in December following

Chris Hughton’s demise and steered the ship from choppy, if not

stormy, waters into the relative calm of midtable. Opposite number

Roy Hodgson did not take up the reins at The Hawthorns until

February after Roberto di Matteo was relieved of his duties, and at

that point, the Baggies trailed Newcastle by five points. But the

former Liverpool boss’s 12 games brought just two defeats and a

return of 20 points, a return which eased them into 11th place, one

better off than their final-day opponents.