James Lawton: Pardew resists temptation to grave-dance with new Toon

Newcastle give supporters reason to cheer but they should not celebrate too soon

Of course, you are right. The problem of Newcastle United is insoluble and if you forgot that for a moment there was the perfect antidote.

All you had to do was look into the mirror images of Mike Ashley and the best part of a 50,000 audience celebrating the goals that undid Liverpool, a club trying to repair themselves unsuccessfully after a relatively brief onslaught of human folly.

The man who gained most, on balance, was Alan Pardew, the latest temporary resident governor of the madhouse.

This might have been Joey Barton, the cheerfully recidivist personality who was head and shoulders above everyone else on the field before dragging himself down once more with his lewd reactions to the baiting of Fernando Torres, who would have been a lot better off berating himself for a quite wretched performance.

Pardew struck most of the right notes – not least when Liverpool gave up two goals with tragic incompetence in defence.

His celebrations were muted enough to suggest that he understood that anything more demonstrative might have been seen as dancing on the grave of his fellow professional Chris Hughton, which in a way it would have been but not with any shocking originality.

Grave-dancing is after all part of the contract, one where the patent leather shoes are a staple of the job handed out like castanets to a flamenco troupe.

Maybe Pardew overstated matters a little when he said his new players had put their lives on the line but then no one has ever been indicted for over-statement at St James' Park.

Plainly he did what was most sensible. He had a brief introductory chat with his fellow inmates on the basis that, if there was ever a time for some low-key acceptance that in an imperfect world the running of this particular football club was never likely to be a point of redeeming light, this was it. So they got on with the job rather impressively; indeed, with Barton bristling with good football intentions and Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan enjoying a party as much on the field as off it, there was absolutely no hardship in recalling some of the more striking performances under the departed Hughton.

One or two more efforts like this and the Toon Army will be embracing Pardew not as the latest recruit to the Cockney Mafia but a bona fide saviour.

Meanwhile, Liverpool's Roy Hodgson greeted Barton's goal and Newcastle's second with the kind of self-rumpling of his face which must have alerted both the good folks of St John's Ambulance and some of the men in white coats. It was a mime ferociously appropriate in a place where madness for so long has never been far away.

It was not so hard to understand, however. Hodgson must have felt a recent upward trend was leading him to the wild possibility of an away victory, especially when the relentless Dirk Kuyt scored an equaliser and Ashley and his little cabal in the directors' box briefly looked rather less like the fat cats supping their cream. In fact, it was almost time on the terraces to fish out again those Cockney Mafia signs when Torres was sent clear for a chance which in another life he might have buried without a passing thought.

Tragic-comic defence did for Liverpool and of course Ashley, and the fans, some of whom are said to despise him, were celebrating once more.

Celebrating quite what: a good performance, no doubt, a shaft of light into the future, a new brimming of unbreakable hope? Take your pick Bonnie Lads, but best keep those signs handy.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth Games
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
film
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
Extras
indybestSpice up your knife with our selection of delicious toppings
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried