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Newcastle "will have to play a lot better than that" - Pardew

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has admitted his club are struggling for form early in the Premier League season and other notable news items.

Mike Hewitt - Getty Images

Just in case some of you might have thought I was dabbling with hyperbole with my Reading instant reaction story, this item has come out today from Alan Pardew who has become a new object of vitriol amongst the community here:

"This was a tough place to come – the energy levels of Reading were fantastic. They showed a lot of quality. We were struggling for long periods, and our spirit has seen us get a point again."

"But we can’t keep relying on our spirit. We’ll have to play a lot better than that if we’re going to get wins especially away from home. I don’t want to say it wasn’t good enough, because I thought we tried hard, but we definitely aren’t playing at our best, and we need to find it."

retrieved from 10/2/12

It is impossible to argue that Newcastle have looked unfocused at best this season. Given that we have lost a large number of games to our preferred starting XI thus far this season, it is not entirely surprising. Given that we have not had to start any player that hasn't started a significant number of games over the past 15 months, our indifferent form thus far this season is unacceptable. Things will get better... there is too much quality in the side for us to continue playing as we have. We are benefiting from a rather topsy-turvy season so far in the Premier League in that we're not falling behind the pace quite yet... but we truly need to get it sorted soon.

Newcastle United to End Sponsorship Deal With Virgin Money

Newcastle United Football Club has chosen to end its two-year sponsorship deal with Virgin Money a year early.

The agreement was due to run until the end of the 2013/14 season, coming to an end in May 2014, but the club has decided to exercise a clause in the sponsorship deal which states either party could terminate the agreement early by giving notice.

retrieved from 10/2/12

We are being told that the club have a new deal with a new sponsor, but very little information is out there regarding who it will be. I know that this particular reaction will be greeted with great consternation by certain in this community, but we have been repeatedly told that there are big dollar deals coming our way for the best part of 2 years (remember the mythical "stadium naming rights"?) and nothing has turned up yet. Rumor is out there that the new shirt sponsor will have purchased said naming rights. If it does not turn up that way, however, and the take on the new jersey sponsorship doesn't present a sizable increase over the Virgin Money deal, it will be hard to frame it as anything other than a money grab in the form of yet another new jersey/sponsor combination for supporters to purchase. This particular view is perhaps a little cynical and admittedly in some ways Mike Ashley has earned a little leeway... but again - if there are no naming rights and the deal is not better for the jersey sponsorship, there will be questions to be answered.