Alan Pardew head-butt comment: The FA must show it stands for something - managers who head-butt opposing players would be a start

Alan Pardew clashed with Hull midfielder David Meyler

In his time at Newcastle United, Alan Pardew has often looked like a man who has just shut the door on a nasty family row. The kind of row when things are said that cannot be unsaid and people feel diminished. Then out comes Alan, putting a brave face on it, trying to mouth the right thing but ultimately unable to hide the trauma of his previous conversation.

Selling Andy Carroll, bringing in Joe Kinnear, changing the name of the stadium, selling Yohan Cabaye, Kinnear resigning: Pardew has been through all those Mike Ashley decisions with the additional indignity of being the man pushed out onto the stage to be the public face of it all. He has had no choice, really. He was given the job when he was unemployed and out of favour in English football and forced to accept it on Ashley’s terms.

Pardew crossed a line on Saturday. He did something no manager can hope to do and maintain the dignity and authority that comes with the position, however much the position at Newcastle has been cheapened. For a long time, he has looked like a man on the edge. When he head-butted David Meyler, Pardew did not so much vacate the moral high ground as fling himself off it. It had all the finesse and style of a Sports Direct basket of £2 Donnay tennis socks.

It would be pointless for the Football Association to push for a ban that only barred Pardew from the touchline, when Paul Ince received a five-match stadium ban earlier this season for abusing a referee. The FA has it within its power to petition a commission to ban a manager from “football-related activity”, which would prevent Pardew from coaching his side full stop. It would be a far more devastating blow to him than preventing him from being pitchside on match days, by which point, most managers tell you, the crucial work has already been done.

 A ban from the pitch, from the stand and from the training ground is what Pardew deserves and it will be another test of the FA’s fortitude to see how far they push these measures. The received wisdom is that they will go no further than the stadium ban. Occasionally football reaches a point where it has to say: no more. Denuded of so much of its power, obliged to consult the clubs on all rule changes, the FA must stand for something. And managers who head-butt opposition players is no bad place to start.

It is with no great joy that one calls for the toughest possible measures against this haunted, habitually undermined manager who seems terminally braced for the next blow. It would only open the door once again for his departure from the club, a position that has flat-lined and been resuscitated more times than one cares to remember in recent times.

Graeme Souness, another former Newcastle manager, also combustible, described Pardew’s position at the club as “untenable”, implying that he should either be sacked or resign. You could have made a good case that his position was untenable on occasions even before Saturday. But sacked? It would sit uncomfortably for a club that has done so much to contribute to Pardew’s increasingly erratic behaviour over the last few years.

At times it has felt like the club have made decisions primarily to antagonise the manager and the supporters, and, by and large, they have succeeded, the appointment of Kinnear being the tour de force. There has not been a man less suited to the requirement of diplomacy and gentle persuasion since Alan Partridge was selected as the chief hostage negotiator in that fine cinematic adventure Alpha Papa.

Yet if Ashley had wanted to sack Pardew, without the compensation due on an eight-year contract, then Saturday was his chance, and he chose not to take it. The owner has a plan, we are told, and the fact that the last accounts showed a profit would suggest that he believes it is working.

It told you all you needed to know about the Newcastle statement announcing Pardew’s £100,000 fine that there was no name to it, no words from Ashley nor anyone else in a position of authority. Since Derek Llambias’s departure there has been no managing director appointed and Kinnear has not been replaced as director of football. The most senior administrators appear to be the club secretary Lee Charnley and finance director John Irving. But who knows?

As comparisons go, the former West Germany international Norbert Meier was dismissed as manager by his club Duisburg nine years ago for head-butting Albert Streit of Cologne, and banned for three months by the DFB. Jose Mourinho’s eye-poke on Tito Vilanova was even worse, but he kept his job with Real Madrid. Football clubs tend to do what is expedient. It is up to the FA to show some leadership.

If there is mitigation in the pressure Pardew is under, it should be pointed out that many managers live with worse and do not behave so deplorably. While we are on the subject of blame, the shove on Pardew by Meyler was needless and unedifying. Unfortunately, Pardew also has to acknowledge that he has previous with, among others, Manuel Pellegrini, Arsène Wenger, Martin O’Neill and the linesman Peter Kirkup.

How did he get to this point? The general view of Pardew is that after the 2006 FA Cup final he lost the plot at West Ham. What followed was a plummet down the divisions that has been typical of bright young British managers, who become damaged goods far too quickly. Charlton Athletic, a club in freefall when he joined, eventually sacked him. He got Southampton close to the League One play-offs in 2010 despite a 10-point deduction and was sacked again.

Out of work for more than a year, at Newcastle he has been forced to accept the indignities that came with being a manager in need of a job. It by no means excuses his behaviour, but the careers of the men on the touchlines of Premier League football have become ever more volatile and the fight for survival increasingly brutal. Pardew knows better than most how quickly a promising career can go up in smoke.

Nevertheless, this was a bad moment for Pardew and with Newcastle hoping to bury the episode with a fine – this being English football, it is always about money – it behoves the FA to make clear to Pardew what the standards are.

Players backed Campbell ahead of Beckham

When Sol Campbell says he should have been made England captain he is surely talking about the day David Beckham was appointed after Euro 2000. A few years ago I interviewed a prominent England footballer who said the same – off the record of course – that Campbell, not Beckham, should have been Alan Shearer’s successor.

In the extracts from his authorised biography, Campbell seems more aggrieved about Michael Owen being given the job on the odd occasion. But there was a feeling among many players in the squad that Campbell should have taken precedence over Beckham when the latter was given the job, first by caretaker manager Peter Taylor and then by  Sven Goran Eriksson. At the time, Beckham and Campbell both had 36 caps, and Campbell had twice captained the team already. 

Campbell may well be derided as a crank or bitter in the weeks to come. But he was by no means alone in believing he should have been England captain.

Suggested Topics
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Sport
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities