Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pards: I Love FA Cup and My Target Is to Win Trophy for the Toon Army; United Manager Responds Frankly to the Key Questions Posed by Supporters in the Chronicle's Big Toon Survey

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pards: I Love FA Cup and My Target Is to Win Trophy for the Toon Army; United Manager Responds Frankly to the Key Questions Posed by Supporters in the Chronicle's Big Toon Survey

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE RYDER

ALAN PARDEW has assured the Toon Army that Newcastle United will be giving the domestic cup competitions their full attention this season.

And that's an answer that will be music to the ears of fans who identified both the FA Cup and League Cup as the tournaments they want to see Newcastle United succeed in most next season.

Indeed, during the Big Toon Survey in May, when asked whether the manager should play his strongest team in the cup games, a massive 66.7% said he should do this for both competitions - 23.6% said only in the FA Cup - while 9.7% believed the manager should concentrate on the Premier League.

The fact that both relegated Wigan Athletic and Swansea City won the two domestic cups last season has only strengthened fans' views that United should be making more of the competitions.

The downside of winning a cup is that it cost the Latics their top-flight place, and the Welsh side slumped after beating Bradford City 5-0, with both now facing an exhausting fixture list due to Europa League qualification.

And chairmen up and down the land feel that getting into the Champions League and retaining Premier League status are the main moneyspinners.

The Magpies have not reached a major final since 1999 under Ruud Gullit when they lost 2-0 in the FA Cup at Wembley to that year's treblewinners Manchester United. But under Pardew's tenure, Newcastle have failed to make it to the latter stages of either the FA Cup or the League Cup.

Newcastle battled their way to the last eight of the Europa League last season.

But they tripped at the first hurdle in both the Capital One Cup at Man United at Old Trafford in a 2-1 loss, while the FA Cup resulted in a toothless display by an injury-hit Magpies team on the south coast as Brighton & Hove Albion dumped the black and whites out of the competition for the second season running.

Pardew played in the FA Cup final as a player with Crystal Palace and led West Ham to the final in 2006 where they narrowly lost to Liverpool, eventually being beaten on penalties.

When asked by fans if he will target the cup competitions this year and use strong teams, Pardew said: "I have been really, really unfortunate in the FA Cup.

"It is a competition I have said before that I love.

"It is a competition I have done well in as a player and a manager.

"And yet here, I have had two games (Stevenage and Brighton) when the team I have had to put out have not been representative of the quality in the groups I have had.

"Particularly last year. "That was probably the low point of the season for me.

"I know people might look at the Liverpool (0-6) or Sunderland (0-3) at home, but Brighton away was the most disappointing because the team I was putting out at the time wasn't representative of a Newcastle United team. …

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