Time To Say Goodbye, Pardew!
It’s comes as no surprise to long-suffering Newcastle United fans that their club prop up an embryonic Premier League table, following a dismal 4:0 capitulation to Southampton yesterday.
Many members of the Toon Army had predicted the current state of affairs in pre-season, despite the club’s uncharacteristic capture of several promising new signings. They argue that it doesn’t matter what players are at the club, they’ll all end up being “Pardewed”.
It’s not a verb to be found in the Oxford Dictionary (yet) but it’s certainly in common usage on Tyneside. A rough translation of the word would be “to suck any potential or ability out of a previously talented footballer”. The whole Newcastle United side looked Pardewed yesterday. Hatem Ben Arfa certainly was, and escaped to Hull City on deadline day. Papiss Cisse, a shadow of his former self, is another certain victim.
So, how has Pardew survived? Many people point to the infamous eight-year contract he was handed by Mike Ashley as the main reason for his stay of execution at St. James’ Park (does any football fan actually call it the Sports Direct Arena? Apart from Ashley?). However, he’s well into that contract now and the compensation, should it be terminated early, isn’t thought to be exorbitant.
The manager has survived headbutting an opponent’s player
, he’s outlasted Joe Kinnear, he’s even overcome worse form that this. But, yesterday’s defeat to his former club seemed like a tipping point. Many Newcastle season ticket holders have reached the point of “either he goes or we do”. Ashley would be wise to recognise that it’s not any Francophile player that’s the club’s major asset, it’s not the large advertising hoarding that is their home stadium – it’s the Geordie faithful.
And these long-standing fans have had enough. Well, they’ve had enough long ago but now they’ve had more than enough. The away contingent at St. Mary’s yesterday was littered with “Pardew Out” banners and similar chants were so intense that the boss rarely emerged from his dugout. Pardew also sidestepped a post-match press conference and it was a surprise that he emerged from a subsequent meeting with Ashley with his job intact.
Rumours persist about the real reasons behind Pardew’s longevity but even Ashley will find it hard to persevere with him at the helm, based on current form. Newcastle’s results this calendar year, or since Yohann Cabaye was sold, make grim reading. They’ve recorded just 18 points out of a possible 66 since the turn of the year. When they club were relegated in 2008/09, they gathered the same amount of points in their last 22 matches. They’ve also already lost eight league matches by three or more goals without reply in 2014, including two 4:0 defeats to Southampton.
Relegation is a fate they face again this term, unless something dramatic changes at the club. They’ve got the fanbase, they’ve got a decent squad. But have they a decent manager? If, as seems likely, Pardew gets one more game to save his job, it’ll be ironic if his downfall is led by Ben Arfa and his possible replacement – local boy Steve Bruce. Newcastle host Hull City next Saturday, and surely even Pardew can’t survive another wretched defeat?