Pardew's thoughts turn to Stephen Ireland

ALAN Pardew is attempting to persuade Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley to sanction the signing of Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland.

Stephen Ireland

ALAN Pardew is attempting to persuade Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley to sanction the signing of Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland.

Pardew is growing increasingly concerned by United’s lack of success in the transfer market and met Ashley yesterday to press his argument for more funds to be released.

Newcastle’s manager promised to battle with the board in order to sign the players he needs and, with injuries mounting, he has launched his first offensive.

Ireland has been linked with a wide array of clubs this month after Villa made it clear he could leave and the former Manchester City would add something to the squad, presuming he can rediscover the form he showed before moving to Birmingham.

Alan Smith has been ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury, while Dan Gosling has aggravated the knee injury which has sidelined him for the first half of the campaign.

With Steven Taylor sidelined for the next six weeks with a hamstring injury, Andy Carroll still failing to recover from a thigh strain and Ryan Taylor several weeks away from a return, Newcastle’s squad is starting to look fragile.

“I’ve got to have these battles with the board, absolutely,” said Pardew, when asked whether he needed to stress the need for new players to the United hierarchy. “I’d be very surprised and disappointed if we did not bring anyone in.

“I am a little worried about not getting anyone so far and I need to keep mentioning it.

“It is a worry that we have lost so many players to injuries.

“I’m not saying it’s the end of the world if we don’t sign anyone, but I do feel the need to bring in a player or two as soon as we can, absolutely.

“I’m going to see Mike Ashley just to reinforce the point – that’s my job.

“Cheik (Tiote) will be back by the end of the window, Andy Carroll will also be back by the end of the window and that’s massive for us.

“We’ve been running without Andy, although the two strikers have done brilliantly, and Danny Guthrie was fantastic when he came in at Sunderland.

“We had some bonuses and that bodes well, but we do need our key players back and maybe one or two in the door.”

Having seen moves for Tottenham pair Robbie Keane and David Bentley collapse at the first hurdle, and subsequent moves for Birmingham City’s Sebastian Larsson and Cardiff City striker Jay Bothroyd fail, Newcastle’s transfer target list is looking a little short. The Magpies retain an interest in Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips, but have competition from at least three other Premier League clubs for his services.

And Pardew admitted he is not enjoying himself as he tries to balance the everyday concerns of preparing the team for the arrival of Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow with trying to add to his squad.

He said: “If I’m candid, it’s such a difficult period for managers, with all the speculation about players going out and coming in. There are players coming to the end of a contract and their agents start linking them with clubs. I’m not the only Premier League manager going through the mess this window brings. It’s not a pleasant time.

“I’m a football fan, I enjoy the speculation, it’s interesting. But to actually get to the bottom of something ... It’s chaos trying to put it all together.

“I’m not enjoying the window at all. It’s been the worst period for myself as a manager.

“I can’t remember it being quite as active as this in previous windows.

It’s because of the speculation trying to bring a player in. The agents involved only have a month to earn their money so an agent parks himself in the middle of a deal even if he doesn’t represent the player. It just goes on and on.”

And, having taken control of player recruitment himself, Pardew is hoping to learn from his mistakes as we approach deadline day.

He explained: “One of the problems I’ve had is I’ve not been here long so there is no strategy in place for taking phone calls. Most are coming through to me when they could be going to the chief scout or the chief executive.

“We are all aware now that deals are done above managers and we come in at the last minute. Thankfully that doesn’t happen here, but at other clubs it does.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer