Please don’t jump to the wrong conclusion because of the title. I am not talking about waiting so long for us to win a trophy. (for that, we are amongst the most loyal and patient of fans)
I am referring to the way that we have backed Pardew and the team during this disappointing season. It is not so very long ago that if we spent most of the season hovering a few points above the relegation zone, we would have been calling for the manager’s head and giving the players a hard time. But this year that hasn’t been the case.
Even after the Reading game, although many of us were a bit concerned, there was no real panic or meltdown amongst the fans. Admittedly the way the club responded to the situation and the impact that the new signings made, nipped any disenchantment in the bud, but I get the impression that, because we can see what the club are trying to do, both on and off the field, the fans seem to be far more patient than in years gone by. This can only be a good thing because Pardew and the team must know that we REALLY do back them, unlike our unhygienic neighbours who have spent most of the last few months slagging off 90% of their own players (only Mignolet, Fletcher, and Rose seem to have escaped, and Rose is not even their player) and who, after crowing so loudly about having one of Britain’s “Top” managers at the helm, now whinge that he is not up to the job!
I think that our season spent in the Championship probably helped to re-adjust our expectation levels, but many of us hoped for a top 10-8 finish this year and a good run in one of the cups. Although this could still be the case, most of this season has been disappointing, and fans could be forgiven for allowing themselves to show their frustration. But this hasn’t really happened. Even when we have not played well there seems to be an air of optimism, a belief that we will get it right, and that we are moving in the right direction. Alan Pardew may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he certainly isn’t the worst manager to have, and it will be interesting to see how he manages to take the club forward next year, in what will be one of the longest spells that he has had in charge of any club. He is in the process of building a very good, young squad. Now he has to show that he has the necessary management skills and tactical knowledge to get the best out of these players and get the team performing at the highest level that they are capable of.
We are now reaping the benefits of staying so patient with Pardew and the team, and helping to maintain the positive atmosphere at the club. We have a big game on Thursday to look forward to and the team is still aiming for a 10th place finish in the league.
So as they say, patience really is a virtue.