Q & A With Vital Newcastle
1. I was quite surprised by your efforts last season under Alan Pardew, do you think he can replicate those achievements this year? Where do you think you'll finish?
If Pardew gets us to top 5 then i think our fans will be the most surprised out of anyone. A mixture of a lack of investment in cover as well as suspensions and injury has caused our play to be all over the shop. We'll do well to finish top 8. My initial prediction was top 6 but ive changed it to top 8 which funnily enough is the club's ambition.
2. What were your initial thoughts on the appointment of Pardew? How do they differ with your thoughts on him now? Is he still the long term answer for you?
We heard about the rumour a good 2 months before it happened but it still took us by surprise a bit as Martin Jol was giving all the signs that he was interested, although with the appointments previous of the calibre of Joe Kinnear, we weren't that surprised. A bit angry really, when i think back considering the change of mood around the club thanks to Chris Hughton. However, from stepping into a difficult atmosphere, a lot of us have completely changed our opinion of the bloke with the mood only slightly soured this past week by the defeat and manner of it against West Ham.
All will be rosy again if we win on Saturday. As for long term, id love him to see out the obscenely long contract as that would mean we've had some success of some sort.
3. What changes have you made to the team in the Summer?
None really. We brought in Vurnon Anita, a versatile player who's comfortable at full back or defensive midfield but he's mainly a squad player as well as another midfielder, Romain Amalfitano, who's here to bolster our already bulging central pack.
The formation has changed though and that's what's caused the mood to change on Tyneside and we're more direct.
4. What is the general feel amongst the fans after the start you've made to the season?
The general feel is very hard to describe as some are saying that it's expected that we'll struggle with so many games extra, some are saying we're not struggling while others expect us to click in the next game.
5. It appears you're playing quite a direct game this season, as I believe your the team with the most long passes so far, is that true, if so, are you happy with that style of play?
it's apparently true but we haven't had a settled side all season so it's expected that we'll hump it long at times to relieve any pressure but the feeling amongst many is that Pardew has changed the style to keep Demba Ba happy with his much publicised clause in his contract. We're better going 4-3-3 instead of 4-4-2 but i expect a change this weekend.
6. What are your strengths and weaknesses in your team?
This season our strength has been the continued good form of Hatem Ben Arfa but apart from that we're weaker in every department. We just haven't started yet.
7. The transfer window is soon approaching, do you think you'll be spending money in the New Year, if so, what positions should your manager be targeting?
We need to spend money but anything is possible with Mike Ashley. We need cover in central defence, a right back and a striker.
8. What are you thoughts on Swansea's start to the season under the new manager Michael Laudrup? Did you expect us to struggle following the departure of Brendan Rodgers?
I expected second season syndrome but not because of the departure of Rodgers. More because of the players that left.
9. What are your thoughts on Rodgers' move to Liverpool? Many of us thought he was going out of his depth and making a big risk going to a bigger club that would demand instant success...
Truthfully, i think he's out of his depth as well. Not because i think Liverpool are this massive club of the size that they once were but because he has a hint of Pardewism about him, which is another name for being cocky i feel. He's not a massive name and maybe lacks the experience to deal with an expectation level.
10. What are your predictions for the game and what can we expect from Newcastle United?
*puffs cheeks out.....
I honestly feel this can go either way due to our lengthening list of absentees but then again, we may yet just click on the day as we'll still have dangerous players with their tails up. the crowd should be more up for this as well. Whatever happens it'll be a narrow win for us or a 1-1 draw.
*Just to add, one of the lads on our forum has approached the club to see if we can get a bit of a repeat of last years excellent memorial to Gary Speed. Obviously not on the same scale but at the very least a feature in the program or some sort of announcement may happen.
Thanks to Mark Robson at Vital Newcastle for answering our questions.
You can read our views to Vital Newcastle's questions here