Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

United Fans Told Top-10 Place Is Still Club's Target

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

United Fans Told Top-10 Place Is Still Club's Target

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas Newcastle United Editor

THERE were the best part of 4,000 words posted on Newcastle United's website early last night but probably just one pertinent fresh revelation.

United's target - and therefore Alan Pardew's - is to finish in the top ten of the Premier League this season.

For good measure, they added in minimum and underlined it to make it clear the current position is worse than they had anticipated.

Of all the rest of the stuff in the online document - and Newcastle answered supporters' questions on banned media, free-kicks, the big screen fiasco, Jonas Gutierrez and Sports Direct's relationship with United - it was only really this whichmight have long-term ramifications for the club.

Mike Ashley's patience with Pardew has shown no bounds in 2014.

The club might have been bottom of the form table for most of the calendar year but the manager has survived an unseemly clash with David Meyler, a double derby defeat and one of the weakest starts the club have made in the Premier League era. Would he see it through if Newcastle dipped under that top-ten target? That might not be so clear.

For those who think this is reading too much into one sentence in the Fans Forum notes, it is worth considering the version put out to the public is agreed by the club's board before it ever sees the light of day.

Nothing which goes on the site has not been poured over by Lee Charnley, the club's notoriously publicity-shy managing-director. If it is there, it is meant to be there.

The club do choose their words carefully on many of the big issues.

Supporters who are chosen by the club sit with the club's board - not Ashley, obviously - and grill them on topics which mean something to them.

It is an admirable exercise but it has hardly been without criticism, not least for the fans who sit on it. …

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