Towards the end of May Newcastle manager was responding to interest from Celtic in bringing Fraser Forster back to Glasgow for next season following his year long loan when he said this;
“We have watched that division and watched him all year. We’ve been very disappointed with the quality of the games, other than the occasional Rangers versus Celtic game.
“And even some of those have been poor, if I’m honest. He is coming to a completely different level of football.”
So what actually makes Alan Pardew think he has the authority to say this? This is a guy who has been sacked from three previous clubs and only got the Newcastle job because their previous manager was wrongly sacked. Off the top of my head I can think of three top managers in England who learned their trade in Scotland, those being David Moyes, Kenny Dalglish and one Sir Alex Ferguson. Not bad for a league which such a poor standard. He has done next to nothing as a manager apart from draw controversy with his rash comments, when he was West Ham manager theyeven had to appoint a media advisor to him to help him win over fans, that doesn’t sound like the kind of guy who should be talking without thinking carefully first.
I’m not for one minute saying that the quality of the SPL is better than the EPL, of course it isn’t, but I can’t count all the English games I’ve had to turn off because of the poor quality. Where is the appeal in watching Newcastle vs Wolves unless you actually support one of those teams? I’d rather watch Rangers/Celtic play Hibs/Hearts any day of the week. Not forgetting Rangers beat Newcastle 2-1, albeit in a pre season friendly and then kept the only clean sheet at Old Trafford this season when they played in the Champions League. Both halves of the Old Firm have been in a European final in the last ten years, again, not bad going for poor quality. Then look across Europe and what do you see? Look at the La Liga, just because Barcelona and Real Madrid are there does it automatically make it have great quality? I recall a game near the end of the season where Real Madrid beat Almeria 8-1, hardly engrossing stuff is it? Compare that to a 6-6 between Hibernian and Motherwell and I know what I’d prefer to watch.
Hamilton were recently relegated from the SPL, yet in the past couple of years an established EPL club have signed two of their players in James McCarthy and James McArthur. A quick look at a Newcastle forum and you’ll immediately see their fans asking who would walk into their team like Peter Houston said. A few spring to mind, Birim Kayal, Emilio Izaquirre, Scott Brown, Gary Hooper, Allan McGregor, Steven Davis, Steven Naismith and Nikica Jelavic. They would walk in because the Newcastle team is average with very little experience of winning trophies whereas these old firm players are all internationals who know what it takes to have to win week in week out. Getting back to Fraser Forster and Pardews comments, he said that he wasn’t tested playing here, but I can remember one save in particular against St Johnstone, a stunning save that any keeper would be proud of. Forster had a very tough job replacing Artur Boruc and done a very good job, a couple of mistakes here and there but what goalkeeper hasn’t? He has to face pressure playing for Celtic that Newcastle players can only imagine.
And finally, who knows how many players have come up to Scotland with their big reputation and swagger and had to run back to the land of the rich with their tails between their legs. Maybe Alan Pardew should take a leaf out of his Scottish managerial counterparts and keep his mouth closed when it comes to commenting on other leagues that he doesn’t know the first thing about.