Alan Pardew’s Moments of Madness

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Piers Barber looks back at five moments of Alan Pardew madness…

Alan Pardew has won both the Premier League Manager of the Season and LMA Manager of the Year awards, has twice led teams to Premier League promotion and is surpassed only by Arsene Wenger as the longest serving manager in the Premier League.

Yet the current Newcastle United boss still seems determined to prove that he has a few wires loose, with his behaviour on the touchline repeatedly proving irresponsible, and often nasty. A succession of crazy moments reached a bizarre culmination on Saturday, when he was sent to the stands for headbutting Hull City’s David Meyler.

Pardew has already been fined £100,000 for his actions, and can expect more punishment in the coming days from the FA. His case is unlikely to be helped by the fact he has considerable previous in the field of managerial indiscretions. Here are five of his worst moments of madness that are coming increasingly close to defining his managerial career. Continue reading

Aleksandar Kolarov: will the inverted full back help us overcome a defensive Gaël Cliché?

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In the fourth installment of ‘Tacticle Your Fancy’, Simon Smith discusses the merits of Manchester City’s Aleksandar Kolarov and explores the idea of a back ‘three and a half’…

This has been a strange week for Manchester City’s full backs. I basically love Aleksandar Kolarov, but I strongly hate the constant popular analysis of him. It’s not that it’s wrong, on Match of the Day when the pundits gather round and highlight his attacking penetration but defensive shortcomings, or when the fans are rightly frustrated when a lapse in his concentration allows yet another testy ball into a dangerous area.

No, that does very well summarize the issue in Pellegrini playing him. The reason I hate that isn’t because of its inaccuracy but for the same reason I detest comparisons between Theo Walcott and defensive workhorse James Milner, why I loathe it when an old reliable like Ashley Cole is held up as an example of what Kolarov should try and emulate. These players play in the same part of the pitch, but they are far from the same position.

So to find myself enjoying not only Kolarov’s performance against the unfortunate Newcastle United on Sunday but also the quality of analysis on Match of the Day 2 was something of a surprise. Was there more detail than usual, a clever insight into his role I had missed? No, just the usual pointing out of his wide attacking overlapping with Silva cutting inside: an interesting feature but one prevalent in many top sides and a regular tactic of Mancini before Pellegrini.

What made the analysis good was what was left unsaid. Kolarov was effectively analyzed as if he was a midfielder in City’s 2-6-2 formation. Continue reading

Fumaça: The first ever Brazilian ‘non-footballer’

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Michael Hudson, from The Accidental Groundhopper, looks back on one of Newcastle’s worst ever players – Fumaça…

One of Mick Wadsworth’s fin de siècle plethora of unsuccessful South American signings, José Rodriguez Alves Antunes – better known as Fumaça or the first ever Brazilian non-footballer- arrived at Newcastle United in September 1999 by the circuitous route of Catuense, Colchester United, Barnsley and Crystal Palace.

The midfielder had already failed to make an impression on Birmingham City, Watford or Derby County, and though he had been offered a contract at Grimsby, Cleethorpes evidently hadn’t done enough to make an impression upon him. Eventually signed by Colchester United, he played fourteen minutes of a televised Division Two game against Manchester City before being knocked unconscious by a visiting defender and spending the next two days in hospital.  He never played again in Essex, Colchester manager Mick Wadsworth moving to Palace on a weekly contract as Steve Coppell’s assistant before taking on a permanent job under Sir Bobby Robson at St James’ Park. Wherever Wadsworth went, the nomadic Fumaça  – once laughably touted as “the best non-capped Brazilian player” – followed.  Think George and Lennie in Of Mice and Men, but with football agents standing in for that lynch mob in Weed. Continue reading

Mirandinha, From The Seleção To St. James’ Park

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Mark Godfrey of The Football Pink recounts the Brazilian breakthrough that was Newcastle United’s Mirandinha…

Brazilian footballers get everywhere these days. Look at any top league around the world and the proliferation of stars from the home of the Samba rhythm is increasing. Indeed, as of January 2013 there were over 500 playing in Europe.

There has always been a regular stream of talent that flowed, if not in vast numbers, across the Atlantic Ocean, particularly to the shores of the Iberian Peninsula and Italy. The reasons for the choice of destination for those early European adventurers are clichéd but nevertheless obvious: Weather, food, language and lifestyle.

These similarities, allied to the incomparable financial riches not available on home soil, lured the big names of the Seleção to La Liga and Serie A in particular. From the likes of Didi and Vava whose exploits in the 1958 World Cup acted as a springboard for moves to both sides of the Madrid divide, through Jairzinho’s brief sojourn on the Côte d’Azur with Marseille, and then into the 1980’s and the explosion of Brazilian flair post-Spain ’82, which was concentrated mainly in Italy. Continue reading

The Greatest Ever Premier League Finale

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In the final part of our look back at 2012, False Nine editor, Andrew Belt, salutes one of the best moments in Premier League history…

As was the case 44 years ago, Manchester City would be going into their final day clash with only their city rivals able to wrestle the title off them.

Continue reading