Alan Pardew has been under intense pressure at Newcastle since Yohan Cabaye departed at the start of the year and he is now starting to look like a dead man walking, with many considering it only a matter of time until he is given his marching orders. Although many fans feel he should have been sacked in the aftermath of the Southampton match, it looks like he will be given the Hull match at home, at least. That could prove to be a huge error on Mike Ashley’s part as the atmosphere will be toxic at St James’ Park. Last season during the last home match against Cardiff, the atmosphere was so bad that the manager couldn’t even leave his dugout without being booed. It is expected to be worse this weekend if Pardew is in fact in the dugout.
It is completely understandable that Pardew is facing the sack after only picking up five wins from 23 matches in 2014, while they have only found the net 17 times. For a manager who is known for having his sides solid at the back, Newcastle have conceded 44 goals this calender year already. The Magpies have only picked up 18 points this year, which is relegation form if it continued across a whole season, which is unacceptable given the stature of the club.
He may have had an excuse after his best player was sold without being replaced in January, but nine players were signed in the summer, with Pardew publicly stating he was pleased with his squad. This will make it very difficult for him to blame squad depth or lack of investment, plus it will only increase the pressure from Mike Ashley as he has put money into the club this summer, in the form of signings like Remy Cabella and Siem de Jong, who are both international footballers. They were coups for the club as bigger clubs have tracked the duo in the past. Pardew was also the one who sanctioned the departures of the duo Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Hatem Ben Arfa, despite their undoubted talent. This was seen as a huge risk and Newcastle’s current position suggests both would be significant improvements on some of the players in the starting line up.
Pardew has also overseen 21 defeats by three or more goals since he took over the job in 2010. Meanwhile, from 1993 to before Pardew was appointed, Newcastle suffered 35 defeats by the same margin, showing his limited tactics and the lack of team spirit when the side loses the first goal. This season things haven’t improved after the side conceded three or more goals twice from four matches this season. Furthermore, at the other end of the pitch, they have only scored in one match, albeit they found the net three times that day.
It looks like Pardew’s job is quickly becoming untenable, and another loss on Saturday should confirm his fate. The atmosphere should only go further to confirm that he can’t change the opinions of the fans and that a change is needed or the club could face a relegation fight this season, which shouldn’t be on the agenda given the squad Newcastle have at their disposal. Against Southampton, the players looked disinterested and the lack of passion clearly showed they are no longer playing for the manager, it’s clear new ideas are needed on the changing ground.
A continental manager would be ideal if Pardew leaves, with the plethora of Dutch and French footballers at the club. Frank de Boer would be a favourite among the fans, but more likely are Steve Bruce, David Moyes and Tony Pulis as all would be approved of by Mike Ashley, who prefers to work with Englishman. He is very unpredictable when it comes to important decisions and one news source has linked captain Fabricio Coloccini with a player manager role, given he took on some of the managerial duties during Pardew’s ban last season. He also has a relationship with the owner, which would be positive for Ashley. It would be interesting as he is still a player at the club, but he played under Marcelo Bielsa, therefore more attractive football should be forthcoming. While at the same time Diego Simeone and Mauricio Pochettino have showed Bielsa proteges can be very successful managers.