ALAN PARDEW – THE CASE FOR THE DEFENCE

Posted on: November 11th, 2014 | by Erika | No Comments

Newcastle Alan Pardew

The signs have been lost, the chants have died out and the knives pressed to Alan Pardew’s neck have been taken away. For the man at the helm of Newcastle United, these past few weeks have been sweet vindication.

They’re a proud bunch, the Toon army, and rightly so. Their club is one of the very top table in English football, with a history of success most clubs would be only too proud to boast. When Roy Keane, a former Sunderland manager, did his best to trample all over the club in his controversy-hunting book released last month, it smacked of missing the point entirely. The Toon Army are not “an arrogant bunch”, as Keane (or ghost-writer Roddy Doyle) so eloquently put it. They are simply supporters that want to see the kind of success that befits their monster of a club.

Which brings us back to Pardew. Could he ever win?

In the 2011-12 season, when Newcastle scaled the heights of 5th and looked for a long time that they might qualify for the Champions League, Pardew was still a long way short of hero worship. His reward, an eyebrow-raising contract, which was anything from six to ten years in length depending on who you believe, was met with derision rather than celebration.

Since he’s been at the club, any good work Pardew and his players have achieved has been trampled by a size nine from above. It is difficult to imagine any manager retaining consistently high levels of success having had to sell off their crown jewels at every turn. No sooner has a player developed into the status of player befitting a top-six club then he is turned around to the highest bidder. Carroll, Enrique, Ba, Cabaye, Debuchy. Gone. Now this is often at the whim of the player, but also at the lack of ambition from above. To an extent, Pardew is hamstrung. Runs of poor form are inevitable.

And that’s not to say he hasn’t had money to spend. In 2012 he was allowed to spend £26m, but when offset against the sale of their talismanic top scorer for a paltry £7.5m and two further players for £5m, for supporters that crave European qualification, it just isn’t enough. Pardew is constantly battling a rejuvenation job at Newcastle, steeped in the knowledge that if any of his signings do prove to be a diamond in the rough, he’ll be booted off to a more ambitious club.

Part of the problem is that he is seen as an extension of the very regime that keeps the club below the level of European qualification. Pardew has never spoken out at how the club has been run. His silence keeps him sweet with his employers, but angers the supporters on whom he relies to keep the club in harmony. As we’ve seen, unlike at so many clubs, if you’re tight with Mike Ashley, no number of Toon Army protests can waver his faith. In the case of Newcastle, it is Ashley, not the supporters, who pay his wages. He’s them, not us.

Let’s face it, the man is no angel. He’s headbutted players, pushed linesmen and been less than complimentary towards Manuel Pellegrini. As far as PR goes, the man is a walking disaster. But as we’ve seen time and again in football, this category of misdemeanour is so often ignored when partnered with success. Had he held on to the players his side so dearly miss, the Toon Army would have supported their man the way Liverpool fans supported Luis Suarez.

And it’s here that we see a difficult period for die-hards of the ‘Pardew Out’ campaign. He’s turned the team’s fortunes around in this past month, and if this particular spate of form is to be extended, the quiet hush of protest may well become widespread acceptance. Deliver the trophy the supporters have craved for so long, and who knows? They might just sing his name.

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