Macdonald: Newcastle players must stand up and be counted

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MALCOLM Macdonald has blasted Newcastle United’s under-performing players – and told them it’s time they started earning their money.

Manager Alan Pardew is under intense pressure after a dismal run of results this year, with ninth-placed Newcastle having lost six of their last seven Premier League games.

And there have been calls from fans for Pardew to be sacked.

But ex-Newcastle striker Macdonald – who was at St James’s Park yesterday for the unveiling of a plaque commemorating late club legend Joe Harvey, the Magpies’ last trophy-winning manager – feels the players must take their share of responsibility.

“I’m watching players go out on the field, and I’m not seeing them really earning their money,” Macdonald said.

“They get a lot of money, and good for them – as long as they earn it.

“I don’t feel there are a lot that are earning it. The players have got to do it.

“We’ve seen instance at Old Trafford of (Manchester United) players getting rid of a very decent man (David Moyes), who for a decade at Everton kept them battling with the giants of the game.

“Players hold immense power. I just hope Alan Pardew isn’t suffering in similar fashion.

“I’m not seeing the players show me any different on the field.”

Newcastle take on Macdonald’s former club, Arsenal, at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night.

Arsene Wenger’s fourth-placed side need a win to keep their Champions League destiny in their own hands, and Macdonald predicts a difficult night for Newcastle.

“It’s going to be hugely intriguing, as Arsenal are battling for the Champions League,” said Macdonald, who wrote himself into Geordie folklore after being signed by Harvey from Luton in 1971.

“They had aspirations earlier in the season to win the Premier League, and, in not doing that, the very least they need is Champions League football.

“They’ve got a battle on. Arsenal will be rubbing their hands thinking it’s three points, and Liverpool (Newcastle’s final-day hosts on May 11) will be doing the same.”

Macdonald was joined at yesterday’s ceremony by a number of club legends who played under and alongside Harvey, including Bob Moncur, Vic Keeble and Wyn Davies.

A plaque was unveiled at the Gallowgate end of St James’s Park, and Macdonald said: “It’s long overdue – I just wish it had been done when he was alive so his family could have enjoyed it with him.

“The game of football in any era is relatively simple – all Joe Harvey wanted was defenders who can defend, midfielders who can make goals and forwards who can score goals.

“He still remains the last silverware-winning manager. There’s nothing that has happened ever since. It’s almost half a century.

“I look back to when Joe was sacked, and it a wrong decision.

“The plaque should be used as a springboard – success breeds success.”