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Alan Pardew: In the wolf's mouth...

I'll tell you the full story sometime, but...somehow early in the English Premier League season I committed the woeful blunder of becoming attached to the Newcastle United Football Club, a miniature obsession that has already caused me nothing but pain and frustration and--like the underdog-loving, guilt-ridden, glutton-for-punishment that I am--the more pain and frustration the club cause me the more steely becomes my resolve to keep rooting for them.

In five games, they've lost two and drawn three. Not a single win to their credit as yet, and with a -6 goal differential, they're even positioned below Burnely FC, who've only managed a single goal in five games. At least I was treated to a three goal fist-clencher against Crystal Palace a few weeks ago and a 2-2 draw today with Hull City....so unlike Burnley supporters, I at least know my club can be coaxed to rise to the occasion with a few goals, but shit...

The Magpies finished 10th in the league last year and if all continues steady as she goes, will be lucky to avoid relegation; a failure that would just be too hard to swallow in my first year of following EPL. But I didn't pick these guys cause they were "good" or because they were expected to win the league. I picked them for other reasons, which I'll explain some other time.

Alan Pardew: Staring into the abyss...
As to the drama part: Newcastle United supporters really, really hate the club's manager, Alan Pardew. In fact there's a whole "Sack Pardew" campaign going on in Newcastle, complete with a website and a grass-roots organizational structure that would give the Democratic Party a run for it's money. Everywhere today in St. James' Park, Newcastle, there were "Sack Pardew" posters and banners and a really palpable sense of tension in the air as Pardew gave pre-game interviews and even when he stepped on the field. However, he did the classy thing and "clapped-up" the crowd when he walked onto the pitch, showing that either he a.) is not affected by the scorn campaign, or b.) is determined to rise above it. Probably B is my guess.

Anyway, this my friends is what you call Narrative. This is real-life drama you couldn't script any better if you tried. A middling club with a bunch of young players, representing a hard-scrabble town in northern England has slipped from the middle to the bottom of the league in a matter of a month, and their fans want blood...the Manager's. Will the team emerge from the pressure hardened and brilliant, like a diamond? Or will it fray and tear at the seams, crack under pressure until the ownership does, indeed, sack Pardew? 

I don't care if they score a lot of goals or not, this is enough for me to tune in every week. 

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