Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Common Sense in Going for the Cups

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Common Sense in Going for the Cups

Article excerpt

Byline: John Gibson

THEY were at last words of common sense all were reassured to hear.

Alan Pardew, viewing domestic cup activity inexplicably shunned by United of recent years, looked deep into the TV cameras pre-Carling Cup tie and told the devoted: "We're not going to win the Premier League so why not try to win the domestic cups?" Hear, hear. Well said. After a wait of 56 years dating back to Wor Jackie et al in the mid-fifties, we need to shade our eyes from the glint of silver once again.

And, of course, for the manager who pulls it off, immortality awaits.

Why then, you might ask, has Pardew been dicing with death instead of playing a shrewd hand? After his statement of intent which was supposed to strike a chord with the Toon Army, he made a whopping NINE changes at Nottingham Forest in midweek and, as a consequence, United had their lead pegged back no fewer than three times by a Championship side in shocking form before squeezing through with almost the last touch in extra time.

Just as in the previous round when a much-changed Newcastle had gone to League One Scunthorpe and required extra time again to nick a result.

Yet, let us be realistic, Forest are currently in the Championship relegation zone with but one victory out of seven matches and Scunthorpe similarly occupy a relegation slot a division down without a win in nine attempts.

Hardly like playing the creme de la creme, yet it was a struggle both times.

Twice loyal supporters have travelled a considerable distance in midweek only to be kept in after school as a punishment, which meant arriving home only a short while before breakfast the next day.

It was a monumental risk, twice taken, and yes United survived which is great but how often will they do that if the same policy continues and better sides are faced? Put simply, United aren't good enough to shuffle the pile that much and still cruise to victory against inferior opposition.

Manchester United may be, but not this United.

Besides, Fergie has bigger fish to fry with the Champions League, but we so obviously have not. It took two goals from the only players to retain their places at Nottingham - Danny Simpson and Fabricio Coloccini - to relieve the embarrassment and lottery of a penalty shoot out. …

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