Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Month Of Saturdays: June 2013

Nearly six years into his reign as owner of our club, Jabba remains something of a mystery man. What do we actually know about him? That he can down a pint very quickly indeed. That he's really a Chelsea fan (not the Spurs supporter as had been rumoured). And that, just when everything appears to be going swimmingly (or at least all is quiet and tranquil), he seems compelled to make controversial decisions calculated to cause chaos and provoke outrage, much like a boy jabbing at a wasps' nest with a big stick. Previous instances of this tendency have included undermining King Kev with the appointment and subsequent backing of the Poison Dwarf, and the announcement that St James' Park was to be rebranded - but last month he really outdid himself.

The re-employment of JFK was an extraordinary move and a cruel joke even by Jabba's exceptionally high standards. Our first reaction was to check the date - nope, 1st April had long gone - and then to cling to the hope that the club's silence on the matter was telling and that JFK would follow up the revelation by claiming that the Premier League is secretly run by lizards. Incredibly, though, what had seemed like the ravings of a delusional old duffer were eventually substantiated by the club, who confirmed that he had indeed been appointed director of football. While sides split the length and breadth of the country (and beyond), we were left to wonder whether Jabba had been following events down the road with interest and decided that having our own egomaniacal lunatic buffoon in residence would be the best way forward.

JFK kicked off his first spell on Tyneside with that infamous inflammatory press conference - not a charm offensive, just an outright offensive - but this time around his media strategy appeared to be different. Rather than bombarding hacks with more four-letter words than a Quentin Tarantino movie, he instead opted to bamboozle them with a barrage of lies and baseless self-aggrandisement like someone outrageously embellishing their CV. He exaggerated the length of his managerial tenures at other clubs, he insisted he has the ear of every big-name manager around, he claimed credit for the signing of Tim Krul. Every day seemed to bring new nonsense, and the press pack was left astonished by such brazen bollocks.

If Jabba's decision to bring JFK back was aimed at stirring things up, then it was soon fully vindicated. The mulleted fuckwit swung into St James' Park with all the subtlety of a wrecking ball. Within two days he'd upset a whole host of players by mispronouncing their names or, in the case of Little Big Lad, confusing them with their much older siblings, and Llambiarse had quit, apparently hastily and in disgust. As the sobriquet he earned indicates, we were often critical of our outgoing managing director's words and actions but nevertheless remain appreciative of some of the work that he accomplished behind the scenes, and it was telling that Jabba seemed to have no compunction in infuriating and then waving goodbye to his erstwhile trusted and loyal deputy. Speculation inevitably followed about the futures of Graham Carr and the Silver Fox - now the second-longest-serving manager in the Premier League, but for how much longer? - but the former appeared to want to stay (and to think we had him down as a man of astute judgement).

Alan Shearer, treated with criminal disrespect following our relegation in 2009, voiced his disbelief at JFK's return in the press and immediately suffered the indignity of being mocked by the subject of his criticism and having the bar bearing his name rebranded without any consultation whatsoever. A minor news story, perhaps, but it nevertheless demonstrated Jabba once again showing scant regard for history and sentimentality, instead ruthlessly exerting his authority.

Even before the news of JFK's improbable return had broken, Dreamboat sounded dissatisfied and unsettled, hopeful that his agents would be busy engineering him a move away from Tyneside (perhaps either to Man Utd or newly promoted Ligue 1 Flash Harrys Monaco). You suspect he can't now get away fast enough - just as Sideshow Bob is no doubt kicking himself for committing to the club for another season just before all the upheaval, despite having a clear yearning to go back to his native Argentina with San Lorenzo. Papiss Cisse and Mr T were also reported to be disgruntled, though for them the cause wasn't so much mooted big-money moves or JFK's mangling of their names as the fact that, as practising Muslims, they're uncomfortable with having to wear the new Wonga-branded shirt. (That decision was another one of Jabba's pokes of the wasps' nest, and sadly not one likely to be reversed, despite the fact that a clear precedent now exists.)

While we'd part with any of that quartet with a heavy heart, the same can't be said of Dan Gosling, Mehdi Abeid or Romain Amalfitano, all of whom arrived with high hopes and yet whose impact has been negligible at best. A BBC article in June revealed how shockingly few homegrown youngsters are coming through the system and getting first-team opportunities in the Premier League, but in truth they still need to be good enough and on the evidence we've seen Abeid and Amalfitano certainly aren't.

So much for potential outgoings - what about players coming through the gates that were, it turns out, neither legendary nor iconic? Talk of ex-Mackem Darren Bent and central defender Douglas persisted, other names reportedly in the frame were Derby's Will Hughes and Reading's Alex Pearce, and clubs published their released lists which, rather like the reduced section in the supermarket, seemed to offer a broad range of rotten fruit and veg and a few expensive luxury items that were well past their sell-by date - slim pickings, in other words.

But, despite JFK's claims of his international connections and eye for a player, no new additions of any kind were forthcoming. Instead we had to face up to the fact that we were inching ever closer towards the new season and a lovely opening-day obliteration at deposed champions Man City with the squad unimproved, the manager undermined and the director of football doing nothing but wreaking havoc and spinning yawnsome yarns about his talents. If this is all part of your masterplan, Jabba, then you're one hell of a strategist.




Anonymous Robert Doyle said...

"The mulleted fuckwit" should be your new alternative nickname for JFK.

Nice one.

7:56 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home