After the end of season awards party has acknowledged the heroes of the season, it's time to look at those we'll miss next year. Bow your heads in respect with Profile365...
Before, United fans knew that even if Fergie messed up, it was OK because Fergie was there to clear it up. Now, uncertainty. Nothing is the same. Sh*t just got real...
It was only a matter of time before we got round to Alan Pardew, one of the more gently yet consistently amusing managers in the Premier League. Profile365 has long suspected that Pardew is a man of hidden and mysterious depths. That beneath the faintly Partridgesque exterior - never has a manager celebrated his team's goals with such awareness of the watching cameras - beats the heart of a man with other priorities. A man who competes in regional tango competitions, or grows prize-winning courgettes, or knows how to fold a square of paper into a delicate and quite affecting crane.
Or at least, that's how things used to be. In recent days this aura of vaguely distracted fastidiousness has been punctured by something alien and disturbing, something unlooked for and unwelcomed, something incongruous and strange. We talk, of course, of Pardew's beard. For it looks, and let's be frank for a moment, ridiculous. As it first slithered onto our television screens, the watching nation rose and spoke with one voice: "What the hell has he got on his face?"
This isn't helped by the phrase itself, "Pardew's beard", which sounds less like a dignified thing that might belong to a dignified man and more like an exclamation - "By Pardew's beard!" - or a rare tropical jellyfish, or an intimate fungal infection.
"I'm sorry, sir, but the tests indicate the early stages of Pardew's beard."
"My God! Is it serious?"
"I'm afraid you will require surgery. I'll refer you to Dr. McManaman."
Traditionally, the sudden appearance of a beard on the face of a manager is a sign that things are spiralling out of control. Rafa Benitez's transformation from enigmatic tactical maven to general figure of fun, abuse, and fun abuse began around the same time he decided that cuddly Satan was the look for him. And Roy Keane, of course, spent the last days of his Sunderland looking like two black and furious marbles adrift in a sea of hair. You might think this is speculative, but no less a psychological authority than former root vegetable and England manager Graham Taylor told the BBC he suspected the same:
"I do think there is a psychological thing about people who grow beards for no reason. People may laugh at this and say it is absolutely silly, but (Keane) changed his personality when that beard was grown. My wife will tell you the truth. When I saw the beard I told her there were problems. I do think there is a psychological problem when people grow beards for no reason. I can't believe they do it."
Until recently, Graham, nobody would have been laughing. Everybody would have known you were right. But suddenly, the appearance of Pardew's beard has thrown everything into doubt. Because whatever it signifies, whatever inspired him to grow it, and whatever inexplicable force is preventing him from cutting his head off just to ensure it never happens again, it works. Newcastle have been getting better.
It's possible to suggest other causes for Newcastle's uptick in form. Some analysts would doubtless insist that the influx of talent from Leeeeeeeeeegh Uhn has played an important role. Others - like Lee Ryder of the Evening Chronicle - have highlighted the crucial contribution of Steven Taylor's dressing room banter. But really, it's all about the beard. By taking such a commonly accepted symbol of mental collapse, and flaunting it in front of his players, he is in effect saying to them 'Look, I know we've been playing like hot toss, but I am so confident in my own ability that I can look the curse of the hairy chin straight in the eyes, irrespective of the Picasso-like implications of that hopelessly mangled metaphor, and I can win. And you can win with me'.
It's stirring stuff, and it's clearly worked: league form has returned, and European progress has been made. All that's left is to wonder is which malign symbol of managerial dysfunction Pardew will embrace next time things go a bit wobbly. Will he give himself a vote of confidence? Ask for the Manager of the Month award? Be seen standing under - cross your fingers, knock on wood - an umbrella? Like the honey badger, Pardew don't care. Pardew eats curses alive, and couldn't give a solitary one if the bits gets stuck in his beard.
Most amusing! "By Pardew's Beard!" will surely become common parlance down our way....- JoeyBoswell