Pardon Me Pardew…

by Alex McCarthy

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Newcastle United today announced the appointment of former West Ham, Charlton and Southampton manager Alan Pardew.

A quick glance at the Wimbledon-born gaffer’s history shows nothing of particular credit or legacy worthy. Although he guided West Ham to the FA Cup Final where they lost to Liverpool, he did win the Saint Johnstone Paint trophy whilst in his tenure with Southampton. On the other hand, he took Charlton down, a club which has sunk to League One since, and in the 2006–07 season saw West Ham through their worst run of defeats in over 70 years. Facts.

Mike Ashley was quoted as saying Newcastle were looking for someone with more experience to guide the club through their début season back in the Premier League. You’d imagine this would mean stabilising the club and laying the correct foundations like Chris Hughton was. No one could have done a better job than he did. On 40,000 Newcastle supporters had their say on the man to replace Hughton in an online poll, with only 5.5 per cent backing Pardew.

I don’t understand the logic here. What exactly was Chris Hughton doing wrong, and what attributes does Pardew sport that reflect and match a clubs which can afford to do away with Hughton’s achievements and progress at a canter. Hughton must be thinking what else could I have done? He literally did all that was asked of him, he didn’t just get the Magpies up – they were champions. He has led them to 12th, a safe mid table position with victories over a strong Chelsea in the League Cup, Arsenal away in the league and a crushing 5-1 victory over bitter North-East rivals Sunderland, in pre-season not many people would have bet on that.

So why Pardew? Why not Martin O’Neill or the what seemed conveniently resigned former Ajax Manager Martin Jol? My instincts tell me Pardew is going to be a yes man, who will step to Ashley’s fund-less tune. Pardew was sacked by League One’s Southampton for the deteriorating relationship with the chairman and back room staff, a club who had by far the biggest budget in that league. Yet a chance to come back to Premier League management he must have bitten the hand off the socially unpopular Newcastle chairman. He knows the task, the Geordies aren’t swimming in money and are paying out big wages, people will have to go before anyone comes in. It’s not a stable situation, and I’m sure the respected managers of Europe would have looked at it and said how can I take this club forward? And not many answers would have rushed to the front of their mind….

I don’t see where the credentials are. As a Newcastle fan I truly hope Pardew defies the skepticism and leads Newcastle to a safe first season (even though Hughton has undoubtedly gave him an enviable platform), if he does it will remind me of Avram Grant getting Chelsea to the Champions league Final, effectively Jose Mourinho before him did, Grant inherited a great club and squad – as has Pardew. The Premier League record isn’t speaking volumes for you Alan, time to change the record.

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