A day removed from the result (or non-result depending on your feelings and perspective) at The Hawthorns on Saturday has not necessarily filled me with good feeling and a sense of "at least we're closer to safety (ostensibly)". I'm still rather irritated that we did nothing in the second half that worked in the first half. Seems we were told that we would see a completely energized team that was taking the pitch on a week's full rest for the first time in however long... but this is not the point for this particular piece. Here is:
Pardew told the Chronicle: "All we need to do is get over the line.
"I don’t care if we finish one from bottom, I really don’t.
"If we can get over the line, our fans know we have a good group of players.When everybody is fit and we can get one or two new signings in there we are a top-10 team.
"There is no doubt about that.
Given the current temperature of feelings in the support base towards Alan Pardew, it's a safe bet to feel this is going to rub some the wrong way. If I'm being honest, it should. On the other hand, however, it really shouldn't.
Why it should irritate the snot out of you
With another season with no silverware assured following our defeat in the Europa League quarter-finals, there is absolutely nothing else to focus on besides the final six (at the time of our EL campaign ending) matches and taking the maximum number of points from those matches as we possibly can. This idea kind of goes hand-in-hand with the idea of "getting over the line". It's not at all overly simplistic to say "Get the points - Stay up".
What you should be expecting to hear from your manager at this point of the season is something like "We are going to do our level best to take maximum points from the remaining fixtures. Safety is by no means assured unless we do just that."
Why it shouldn't irritate the snot out of you
It is a truly difficult season that has played itself out with our beloved club, and to assume that it has not taken it's toll on last year's LMA Manager of the Year would be mean-spirited at best. During a low-stress season which saw us contesting for Champions League spots over contesting to just stay in the Premier League, Pardew was very careful to stroke the ego of the collective support of the Toon Army which makes it all the more striking that he has not much been doing that this season - and even more so when he speaks a plain truth like he has in the quote above. Let us be honest. This squad this season is never going to climb into the full mid-table spots that are available based on "could get to". Ruling those spots (11, 12, 13 for discussion's sake) out, there is absolutely no appreciable difference between finishing 14th and finishing 17th. What there is an appreciable difference between is staying up to get a cut of the new media deal and going down and getting no cut of the new media deal.
...We're not going to see Pardew gone this off season. There's honestly not much sense in it.
...We are left to sit here and hope a) that we pick up enough points to stay above Wigan or Aston Villa (who are level on points for 17/18 if you give Wigan the 3 points for their game in hand) and b) the factual lack of return on investment from the January window won't scare Mike Ashley off with regard to investing in the very clear shortcomings in the squad.
...It may be germane to consider that the coaching staff have gone through the Europa League experience as well and could be tiring.
...There are many who want Pardew gone regardless - but even without further investment or manager change, this squad will be more likely to finish in the top half than the bottom.
...We knew ahead of this season that our squad was not deep enough. We have found out that major investment in the January window is too late to compensate.
...Though we don't like to hear it, Pardew is correct in saying that the ultimate goal is to "get over the line".
Fake Psychologist Jim is in the office... have a spot on the couch and tell him "how it makes you feel."