There is a strange feeling around St. James Park at recent and all thanks to the wonders of an 8-year contract that Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew was awarded with at the start of this season.
No one quite knows what clauses that 8-year contract is made up of and that mystery for the moment is just about keeping the waves of discontent at manageable levels, for now.
After defeat tonight to Reading, a lot more supporters have begun to turn against Alan Pardew and it’s been coming and no doubt only thing that stopped this from happening earlier was the shadow of that the 8-year contract and the security it brings, at least for Pardew.
The faithful expect Pardew won’t be dismissed from his position despite two wins in 17 games, despite it being the worse league campaign since 1988/89 and despite him quite frankly being a shoddy manager – the contract he signed back in September has helped hide the calls for his head which in the past would have cost a Newcastle United manager the job.
However , the more sensible supporters are coming round to the idea that Mike Ashley for all his faults as football club owner (and by God there has been a few), he is a cracking businessman and one that wouldn’t be stupid enough to let Pardew sign a contract with a potential eight year pay-off.
Now again, no one has any idea if Pardew will get a one-year’salary should he be sacked or if indeed should Mike Ashley decide to pull the plug then Pardew will get an unthinkable severance package but looking at Ashley’s past; he’s not one to throw away money.
The eight-year contract was a clever move at the time; Pardew had just been named LMA Manager Of The Year after guiding Newcastle into Europe and there had been rumours that Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool were lining him up as their next manager even before the season had finished. Mike, no doubt saw two things; firstly a huge success story, a relatively cheap one too and something he felt he needed to keep hold of and secondly, and most importantly to Mike – a money making opportunity.
He was hedging his bets that Pardew would have another successful season and then the big clubs above would come looking for the 51-year-old and should they want him as manager, they could do but for a huge compensation fee. That fee would be a lot more on an 8-year-contract than it would be on a 4-year one and yet should Pardew need to be sacked – he could be and for the small price of a year’s salary.
Mike Ashley isn’t daft.
Now of course, that theory might not be true but regardless it doesn’t hide the trouble that Newcastle United are in; relegation is a serious probability. A small squad is starting to buckle and injuries have battered the Magpies but that was why this month was so important; by February Pardew is likely to have his best players back and the January transfer gives him the chance to make amends to signing just one player in the summer.
That however also means that come the first of February, the excuse of a small squad is no longer valid as the chance was given to rectify that and the injury excuse is already wearing thin with Hatem Ben Arfa, arguably the only first team player currently out.
Of course Pardew’s hands are likely to be tied when it comes to transfers as he has very little to do with that but he should be banging on the door every spare minute he has to make sure the right players come in and so far that hasn't happened and many fans are losing confident that anyone worthwhile will come in.
Mike Ashley’s tenure has turned us all into skeptics.
However the main point remains that Alan Pardew is simply not a good enough manager, even with the problems that come with a transfer window – i.e the selling of Newcastle United’s good players without an adequate placement – Pardew should still be able to make the team work outside of the window.
Regardless if you’re in the first team squad or the reserves, if you’re getting paid thousands of pounds a week you should be able to fill the void needed yet how come Pardew lacks the ability to get the reserve players to step up to the plate?
Secondly, Newcastle can’t seem to hold onto a lead or come from behind to win, which suggests that Pardew’s half-time team talk is as motivating as repeatedly telling the media that the ‘squad isn't good enough,’ Funny that…
Moreover his tactics are questionable - continuously playing one striker upfront and placing the second striker on wing where they’re obviously very uncomfortable – it used to be Papiss Cisse and now it’s Shola Ameobi. Pardew has no backup plan and is very reluctant to change his tactics despite the fact they clearly aren’t working.
However finally and more hurtful for most is that in his post-match interview after the defeat to Reading, Pardew came out and blamed the fans for spreading ‘negativity’ after Yohan Cabaye was substituted with an apparent groin injury.
Pardew constantly reminds the fans to come out and be faithful, he says the same line nearly every week and repays them with poor performances springing from his terrible management and now he lays the blame at their feet? These supporters who in their thousands travel all over the country, who pay his wages and who are ultimately the foundations of the club and Pardew has the cheek to try and cover his own arse by blaming the them?
The substitution was wrong, at home 1-0 up to Norwich with a good thirty minutes to go, Newcastle should be out there trying to score as many as possible yet they came out after half-time like someone had kicked the spirit out of them. ..That’s not the fans’ fault it’s Mr Pardew’s.
For me Alan Pardew has to go – he sprouts so much crap to the media that he’s up to his neck in false promises and then when it comes to match-day – his tactics cost the team time and time again. He’s clueless and even with some new additions (very unlikely) to the squad, I feel under Pardew – Newcastle United will get relegated.