So here we have it, welcome to the Toon Alvin.
Rather unusually for a press conference, Peardrop conducted it by himself. We would have expected to see his Chairman right alongside him. Sadly, for unexplained reasons, Llambias was not there, but at least Mr Peardrop will have had the opportunity to consider why. Some speculation already raging around the bars of Newcastle suggests that one of the outgoing management team made his displeasure known in the manner of an outstretched goalkeeping clearance.
Whatever the reason, we know that the Chairman wasn`t behind his new appointment.
The conference opened with Peardrop paying his “respect” to the departing manager. Respect includes getting the name right for the outgone Chris Houghton. Yes Mr Peardrop, his name is Hughton, not Houghton. Please Alvin, if you are going to be respectful, get his name right!
Hughton`s name was not all that he did not get right. He marvelled at how the stadium dominated the town. No Alvin, Newcastle is not a town, Newcastle is a city, and has been since 1080. 930 years of history is only a slight oversight. You have been in cities before, Southampton from where you were sacked, Reading was a town, Barnet was a Borough, Crystal Palace constitutes an area, Charlton is a suburb, but in fact yes, Newcastle is a city, of which the residents are rightly proud.
The priorities shone through. It seems that Alvin had not yet met the players, but had spoken to the captain, Kevin Nolan, whose name he got right. There were of course other priorities, getting his negotiations right, the press conference. The players could wait until tomorrow, after all, what have the players got to do with anything. Those contract negotiations are much more important.
Attention turned to his relationship with the Chairman, London media having reported that the two had been spotted together in London casinos. Alvin`s response was that he had met Derek 8 or 9 times, at charity events. It is so welcome to know that the London casinos are so benevolent to AIDS orphans in Africa and other worthy causes.
Of course, Alvin was asked about his Premier League record, which he described as “good”. No, he didn`t take West Ham down, although he left them in a relegation position. Sadly, Charlton were not so lucky, having secured his services to take them down. We can ignore the fact that it is not in his Premier League record that he left Charlton in the drop zone for the 3rd tier of English football.
Peardrop did highlight that he expects to bring in his own coaching team, starting on Monday/Tuesday next week. He will be confident of success, bearing in mind that his board singularly failed to bring in a replacement for not a team, but one assistant for his predecessor. Calderwood departed on 18th October. More than 6 weeks on, Llambias failed to secure a number 2 for Chris.
Transfers are another issue that is always high on the agenda. Alvin was keen to highlight his successes, as all managers are, in his case, quite rightly with Ashton and Benayoun. What did not crop up is the signings behind his back, Tevez and Mascherano.
Alvin has surely done his homework and will be aware of the tribunal case concerning a South American player who was signed above Kevin`s head, and which won Keegan his case for constructive dismissal due to board interference. We recall that Alvin did not at first play these players, one of who is currently top scorer at Manchester City, the other playing with minnows, Barcelona. To play Harewood above Tevez surely backs Alvin`s impeccable judgement.
Of course, Alvin`s success in dealing with Chairmen will be welcomed by supporters, especially since he has been sacked by 3, the latest of which is on record as not regretting the decision at all.
Nobody will doubt Alvin`s attention to detail, talking about Newcastle being in 11th. Well, we are 12th, but if you haven`t read the newspapers since Monday morning, you will not appreciate Liverpool`s climb to 11th. If you haven`t read the newspapers, you will also not appreciate how warmly Hughton, sorry, Houghton, was perceived and what some will perceive as treachery to be undermined by a colleague.
He has at least seen highlights on TV. That will give him a great start. He wants to “grow the club”. Well, he does have the experience of doing the opposite with West Ham and Charlton.
All we can say is welcome to town Mr Peapod. After your conference, we expect you to get things as right as you did when you made your first impression. Your aspirations are to the sort of position where your predecessor, Chris Houston has been for most of the season. We wish you well.
The Pardew press conference, take 2.
So here we have it, welcome to the Toon Alvin.