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‘You can never surround yourself with too many French tarts’ – Why Alan Pardew’s holiday boast will haunt him

by Paddy Power Admin | May 3, 2013


Twitter anarchist @TheBig_Sam recalls a sojourn to the French Riviera which is a warning for beleaguered Newcastle United…

Last July, the League Managers’ Association treated some of Britain’s finest, most decorated coaches to an all-expenses-paid trip to the dazzling French town of Juan-les-Pins. This sun-drenched jaunt was both a reward, and an homage, to the outstanding work carried out by these fabled LMA members over the course of the previous season. It goes without saying that Big Sam’s name sat proudly at the top of the list of invites; I was even named as lead traveller on the Easy Jet booking.

Joining me in paradise was David Moyes, Roy Hodgson, Alan Pardew and Dave Bassett. Dave, it has to be said, did nothing of real note in the 2011-12 season. If we’re being brutally honest, he’s done nowt post-9/11. He’s not particularly popular within the LMA either, due to his incessant habit of trying to sell copper to every person he talks to. He was, however, responsible for finding the deal on that Secret Escapes website, so we had no choice but to let him come along, unfortunately.

Unsurprisingly, the holiday was glorious. Over the course of four incredible days and filth-soaked nights, we sang, danced, drank, laughed, loved and learned. We splashed amongst the creamy surf by day, like a gaggle of giddy Hollyoaks whores; basking in the glow of our own hedonistic sensibilities. Once the sun had been supplanted by the moon, the evenings were filled with excess and debauchery. We hit the town, snaring more muff than a rogue gynaecologist.

A night of mayhem and pool with the two Daves

One night in particular was complete and utter mayhem. It began with us setting fire to a small gourmet coffee shop, before slaughtering a pig in front of a screaming French family. Later in the evening, Hodgson, still high on the fumes of his appointment as England manager, stripped off in a bar, draped himself over a pool table, and placed each member of his junk squad into three separate pockets. Just mull over that for a second; his plonker, and both testes, plopped neatly into THREE SEPARATE POCKETS. I still don’t know how he did it. Moyesy was shooting some 9-ball at the time and, ever the professional, carried on playing. He was clearly put off, though.

Not Big Sam Managers

NONE OF A KIND: Dave Bassett, Sir NBS, Mr Roy Hodgson, Alan Pardew and David Moyes

The next morning, after barely a few hours of sleep, we reconvened by the pool, to sooth our aching hangovers, and recalled with laughter each disgusting incident that occurred the night before. As the afternoon heat took hold, we settled in for a lazy day of recovery. Roy poured himself snugly into a hammock, with a copy of ‘The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman’, whilst I lay on a nearby sun-lounger, sipping on a Peartini and inviting the scorching rays of the sun to lay upon my golden body.

As my skin roasted to sorrel-hued perfection, I gazed over at the two Daves with a smile (we’d decided to refer to Moyes and Bassett collectively as the two Daves; it was Big Sam, in fact, that coined the term, which, in turn, saw me rewarded with my own holiday nickname – Funny Sam). As they waded playfully in the pool, I felt an invigorating shower of pride fall upon me like poignant rain. These were my guys. Sure, none of us had ever won a major trophy, and we’d all been sacked more times than Rome, but for other, more subtle reasons, we truly were the cream of the crop. These reasons are simply too numerous to list, and if you can’t come up with them yourself, then you’re just a queer, quite frankly.

Anyway, in the midst of this luscious tranquillity  it suddenly occurred to me that our troop was one less than it should have been; Pardew was missing. Towards the end of the previous night, we decided to hit the Eden Casino in town. We all felt we were on a bit of a roll after a sensational visit to a local bath-house, and wanted to see just how far we could push this winning streak. Alan, however, refused to entertain the notion. “I’m not going into a casino,” he said, anxiously. “No way,” he continued. “Well, maybe just for an hou… NO! No I won’t. I can’t. I shouldn’t. Should I? NO!! I mustn’t. I just… I… no, not ever. Never. I MUST SURVIVE!”

Alan Pardew’s French dream

As the rest of us stood in silent puzzlement, Pardew collected his thoughts, laughed nervously and said, “I’ll resist this place until I fancy managing a French club, eh?” before wishing us well, and going on his way. We had no idea what caused this reaction, but before Pardew had even walked out of sight,a chest-thumping Hodgson was already at the entrance of the casino, with a bare breast in his mouth. The next stage of anarchy had most certainly begun.

Alan never entered my mind again that night, and his very existence continued to elude me until that moment by the swimming pool. As if by some form of coincidental voodoo, he sauntered around the corner; sun-burnt, half-naked and surrounded by a bevy of beautiful women. “There’s the lads!” he shouted, with a smile. “I’m the king of the Premier League, that’s who” he added, bizarrely  before leaping into the pool, dragging his conquests with him. As he looked at me and winked, his cockiness troubled me. I watched as he pranced around the pool with his scantily-clad entourage, popping a pair of Ray-Bans on his already-flaking face. “What do I always say boys?” he roared, with a smirk. “You can never surround yourself with too many French tarts.”

Fast-forward 10 months, and I wonder if Alan Pardew still believes in such a flimsy slogan.

As he prepares to bring his cluster of shell-shocked nancy boys to Big Sam’s Upton Park fortress this weekend, it would be understandable if he had become submerged in a thick, gloopy cocoon of xenophobic regret. After finishing in fifth place last season, and thus earning himself a long-term contract that ensures we’ll all be wearing flying f**king space boots by the time it’s finished, Pardew finds himself just five points above the relegation zone. Last week’s mauling at the hands of Liverpool came hot on the heels of another St James’ Park disaster against bitter rivals, Sunderland. The vultures are circling.

I see warriors like Nolan and Carroll in my dressing room

Was last season a fluke? Is he now levelling out to betray his true abilities as a manager? Is he dying? Who knows exactly why Pardew and Newcastle have slumped so badly this season. What is clear, however, is that when you are going into battle, you want to have the right sort of soldiers by your side. I look at my dressing room, and see warriors like Nolan, Carroll and Reid. Alan looks at his lot and sees the camp, flimsy supporting cast of an Audrey Tautou romcom. I’ve tried many times in the past to warn him about buying lightweight Europeans, who are ill-equipped for the bone-shattering clatter of English football. He never listens, though; he just turns the conversation back to his fifth-place finish, and shows me a secret scrapbook, filled with pictures of celebrity genitals he claims to have seen. His head has gone forever, I fear.

As I see him on the touchline this Saturday, I’ll smile fondly as I remember our time together in the French Rivera. Then, as I watch my group of grit-encrusted British bulldogs tear the last few shreds of flayed Geordie skin from his team’s decaying body – pushing them further towards the drop – I’ll shake my head ruefully at a man who has placed his destiny in the hands of dispassionate, lifeless foreigners. My local butcher, Geoff has done exactly the same thing as it happens, by hiring those two eastern-European cretins. He didn’t heed my warning either. Sometimes I genuinely think I’m the only man in football who can still see the bigger picture.

Agree with Not Big Sam? 

  • Get the latest odds on West Ham v Newcastle this weekend in the Premier League right here.
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Not Big Sam is a parody account on Twitter which can be found here. It is in no way related to Sam Neill, Sam Adams, Sam Allardyce or Sam Fox.

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