It ends in hugs for Pardew and Coloccini – but not for Harry
Newcastle United 1 Queen's Park Rangers 0: Redknapp's falling-out with his 'overpaid' stars is unlikely to be quite so readily resolved
Sunday 23 December 2012
After a spat with his captain, Alan Pardew was keen to build bridges, but it was more about burning them for Harry Redknapp and several members of his Queen's Park Rangers squad.
Both men were nothing if not candid in the aftermath of a 1-0 home win for Newcastle United that brought a halt to the visitors' mini-revival and, Newcastle will hope, provide the kick-start their season desperately requires. When a manager is happy to reveal a falling-out with his captain, it often means an irrevocable breakdown in the relationship. Yet the very public display of olive branch-waving between Pardew and Fabricio Coloccini suggested anything but.
Redknapp's damning post-match critique of the over-inflated pay levels of some of his players makes a reconciliation rather more difficult. There is unlikely to be the kind of bear hug enjoyed by the Newcastle duo after the final whistle when it comes to Harry and some of his more well-remunerated individuals, whom he accused of earning money under false pretences, such has been their lack of input so far this season. It's safe to assume Jose Bosingwa won't figure greatly in Redknapp's future plans.
There's rather more bonhomie at Newcastle, where, after their differences, it was a case of friends reunited. "There was a reason for going on the pitch at the end of the game to see Colo," Pardew said, after Shola Ameobi's first Premier League goal for nine months allowed Newcastle to deliver on their rather ill-advised comment that this was a must-win game. "Colo was a bit upset. It was a very little thing – if it was more serious I would say so. It was important I went on to embrace him in that way."
The manager wouldn't go into detail; suffice to say that the differences were the result of six defeats in seven league games before some tentative steps on the road to redemption were taken courtesy of inflicting on Redknapp a first defeat since he took charge at Loftus Road.
"I said to Colo before the game, we're both winners, we're allowed to fall out," added Pardew, after his animated post-match clinch with the South American. "We fell out this week and we're entitled to do that, as the captain and the manager. It was just a silly little thing and I know he was determined to get the result today.
"Before the game, I said to him: 'Be our leader, be a captain and make sure they don't get a sniff of a goal'. When you ask someone to do a job and they do it, it's only right you pay your respects to them. You fall out with players all the time as a manager, because if not you're not doing your job. Sometimes I have to say what I think is right – even your most senior players can disagree with it. I have no problem with that.
"He was never off my Christmas card list because it wasn't me who had the problem. In any walk of life you have to be a man sometimes and admit when you're wrong and also pay your respects when someone does something right and I thought Colo was absolutely brilliant."
It was a fair summation. The visitors hardly had a shot in anger, but for a Djibril Cissé effort early in the second half, in stretching their winless run on Tyneside towards 20 years.
Pardew earned the displeasure of the locals for his second-half substitutions that finally shook Newcastle from their stupor. The derision that met the withdrawal of Papiss Cissé, who took a little persuading to shake his manager's hand, was soon overtaken by a rather more positive reaction when his replacement Ameobi produced a confident, close-range finish to seal a tense contest. Sylvain Marveaux, who teed up the winner for his fellow substitute, twice came close to embellishing the margin of victory, which would not have flattered the hosts, given their dominance of the final 25 minutes.
"At times, it was like the Alamo," Ryan Nelsen, the QPR captain, confessed. "I swear I heard the horns and the cavalry coming." The New Zealander and his centre-back partner Clint Hill were exempted from Redknapp's withering post-match criticism, but not Bosingwa, the Portuguese midfielder, who has been fined two weeks' wages – £130,000 – for refusing to sit on the bench last week. "That's not a bad amount to earn for two weeks' work, is it?" Redknapp said. "There are players here earning more than anyone was when I was at Tottenham. There are a lot of players earning far too much money for their ability and for what they give to the club."
A five-point gap to safety is by no means insurmountable, especially with gritty characters like Nelsen in the camp, but Redknapp may have trouble moving on some of his unwanted high earners to create room for manoeuvre in January.
Nelsen added: "St James' Park is one of my favourite places, especially with the rain lashing down, the wind biting and the passionate crowd. That's what English football is all about. Maybe I'm just old and sentimental."
Newcastle: KRUL 8/10, SIMPSON 7, WILLIAMSON 7, COLOCCINI 8, SANTON 7, PERCH 6, TIOTE 6, ANITA 7, P CISSE 5, BA 5, GUTIERREZ 5
QPR: GREEN 6, NELSEN 7, HILL 7, FERDINAND 6, FABIO 5, FAURLIN 5, GRANERO 5, MBIA 5, MACKIE 5, D CISSE 6, TAARABT 5
Goal: Newcastle United Shola Ameobi 81. Substitutes: Newcastle Obertan (Gutierrez, 60), Shola Ameobi (P Cissé, 61), Marveaux (Tioté, 77). Queen’s Park Rangers Wright-Phillips (Granero, 56), Hoilett (D Cissé, 64), Derry (Faurlin, 78). Booked: Newcastle Tioté, Perch, Shola Ameobi. QPR Ferdinand, Hill. Man of the match Coloccini. Match rating 5/10. Possession: Newcastle 56% QPR 44%. Attempts on target: Newcastle 8 QPR 4. Referee K Friend (Leicestershire). Attendance 50,180.
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