The prospect of a toxic atmosphere and a public mocking of manager Alan Pardew had most Newcastle fans mouths watering. Hopes of a reception similar to that of the last home game of the 13/14 season v Cardiff were being openly talked about around Tyneside.
The SackPardew.com campaign were the head of the snake, organising the Anti-Pardew protests step by step without any sight of a black and white coffin or a Geordie vicar. The campaign was expertly organised, with 20,000 A4 sized “Sack Pardew” posters and 100 “Sack Pardew” banners, all being distributed throughout the city centre with local pubs such as The Junction and The Goose even getting involved.
I arrived in Newcastle at 13:30 and from the second I stepped out from the metro station I spotted the first SackPardew.com distributor, with people flocking from all directions to grab one of the posters. Once sat in The Junction I scrolled through my timeline on twitter and noticed lots of people reporting that the stewards at SJP were standing on the turnstiles with black bags, waiting to be filled with all “Pardew Propaganda”. Obviously the club had heard about the mass protest which had been organised against public enemy number one, Alan Pardew.
I grabbed a handful of posters from the bar and made my way to the ground passing many others holding the same posters and proudly displaying them.At this point I expected Pardew to be in for a long day infront of 50 thousand Geordies, Little did we know Pardew must of had his thinking hat on the night before.
The game started and Pardew stood proudly in his technical area whilst the onlooking NUFC fans focused on encouraging the team. Pardew managed to figure out how to mute the toxic atmosphere by simply staying on his feet.
The 5th minute ticked over and slowly the “Sack Pardew” posters and banners starting appearing in every corner of the ground but sadly it wasn’t what we were all expecting. Despite several Anti Pardew chants the atmosphere didn’t seem to come close to that v Cardiff earlier in the year. Credit to Pardew though not once did he return to his seat in the dugout and let’s be honest it worked for him, despite him being boo’ed when touching the ball a handful of times…..he got off lightly in my eyes and I’m not quite sure how.
Was it the extra stewards within the ground trying their hardest to remove all the anti Pardew displays? the extra uniformed police who were unbelievably noticeable in and around the ground? fans wanting to focus on supporting the team after hearing the news regarding Jonas’ recovery from testicular cancer? Papiss Cissé brace? had sheer apathy hit the majority of our fans? Or do people actually want Pardew to remain in the hot seat?
We are now 5 games in and rightly so sit dead bottom of the premier league table, scoring 5 but conceding 11 and still yet to get a win on the board. Which simply isn’t good enough after what most fans, including myself called an “easy start” to the season.
I for one hope the “Sack Pardew” campaign grows stronger each week , there’s no way back for Pardew now. Hopefully the end is nigh and Ashley sees sense before it’s too late.