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Alan Pardew wants signings as Newcastle fans put shirt on frustration | David Conn


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The appointment of Joe Kinnear and Wonga's sponsorship leave some supporters questioning the direction of their club

Newcastle United's renaissance at the inception of the Premier League was rallied by the club's then owner, Sir John Hall, as a flagship for an economic revival of the north east and the restored pride of the "Geordie nation". There was a hollowness in the rhetoric from a man whose fortune was made building a shopping mall, the Gateshead Metrocentre, on a former industrial site and Hall made £75m from selling his shares, ultimately to Mike Ashley, in 2007. So perhaps today's unhappy club, owned by another retail magnate and advertising Wonga payday loans to an economically depressed city, represents the fruition of Hall's vision rather than a shortfall.

At a downbeat press conference ahead of Saturday's home game against West Ham United at St James' Park, Alan Pardew spoke of Newcastle as financially vulnerable to bigger clubs in the transfer market and said he understood fans' "despondency". This with August sunshine still warming the training pitches outside, and after only one game, albeit Monday's 4-0 evisceration by Sheikh Mansour's Manchester City.

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