The 1-0 defeat to Stoke was the final straw. The writing was on the wall, Mike Ashley had ‘joked’ that if Newcastle lost on Monday night, Alan Pardew would be gone – “dead” is what he told The Independent – and even the manager himself knew following the loss at the Britannia Stadium that a “serious chat” would take place this week. We know what this means – Pardew was getting the boot.
Or so we thought. Less than 24 hours after Pardew expressed his own concern for his job, news broke that not only would he be in charge of the Newcastle side that travels to Swansea on Saturday, he won’t even face this “serious chat” that he mentioned would take place.
Pardew has overseen a dismal run for Newcastle that stretches back to the beginning of the year. They sit joint-bottom of the Premier League table with a miserable three points from six matches, relegation from to say the least. But when you look beyond the current season it gets a whole lot worse for Pardew and any hopes he has of seeing out the eight-year contract he signed just two years ago.
Since 1 January, the Magpies have won just five of their 26 Premier League matches, drawing five and losing a worrying 17 games that has seen them plummet down the league table. This season has seen one victory come in the Capital One Cup against Gillingham, while they needed extra-time to overcome Crystal Palace in the third round last week.
Who could replace Alan Pardew as Newcastle manager?
Who could replace Alan Pardew as Newcastle manager?
1/7 Steve Bruce
Having got Hull City promoted back to the Premier League and then taking them to the FA Cup final last May, Bruce is steadily adding to his reputation as a manager. His previous role at Sunderland was always fraught due to his Geordie roots - but that certainly wouldn't be a problem at St James' Park. The former Manchester United defender didn't disgrace himself during spells in charge of Wigan and Birmingham either.
2/7 Neil Lennon
The former Leicester player was highly successful during his time at Celtic - his only managerial position to date. He won three league titles and caused a few upsets in the Champions League. Has been linked with Premier League roles for some time and is currently a free agent having stepped down at the end of the last season after four years in charge.
3/7 Steve McClaren
McClaren's career is difficult to judge. Performed a few miracles at Middlebrough then came the England job. Won the Eredivisie title with FC Twente, then had strange spells with Wolfsburg and Nottingham Forest. It seems the 53-year-old could be back on the way up judging by Derby's solid start to the season and owing to his North East roots, could be a good option for Newcastle.
4/7 Michael Laudrup
A more glamorous appointment that could appease the fans would be that of Laudrup. During his time at Swansea he did brilliantly, bringing in rough gems that he polished into a League Cup winning side. The style of play he instilled was impossible not to admire. The former Barcelona midfielder is currently in charge of Qatari side Lekhwiya.
5/7 Joe Kinnear
Surely Mike Ashley wouldn't - would he? Kinnear was unpopular during his previous spell in charge of Newcastle before it came to an end due to health issues. He was then made Director of Football but a few embarrassing episodes, from getting players' names wrong to failing to visibly do anything soured his standing amongst the fans further.
6/7 Paolo Di Canio
The controversial Italian is just the type of character that would ensure a continuation of the Newcastle United soap opera. And that's why he shouldn't be discounted. Actually did quite well in charge of Swindon and managed to keep Sunderland afloat after being parachuted in. His controversial knee-sliding celebrations when the Black Cats won at St James' Park won't have done him any favours though, and neither will the reports of complete discontent by the end of his reign at the Stadium of Light.
7/7 Roberto Di Matteo
Seemingly linked with every job going, remarkably Di Matteo is still yet to dip his toe back into the choppy management waters since taking Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2012. His feat with the Blues whilst caretaker manager has ensured he is a popular choice whenever vacancies come up, whilst his spells at MK Dons and West Brom weren't too shabby either.
Yet even more surprisingly is that reports claim Pardew’s job will still be save even if the Magpies lose at the Liberty Stadium this weekend, even though they could be a concerning four points adrift of survival should results go against them.
While Pardew’s stay of execution is somewhat surprising, there may be other motives behind Ashley’s reluctance to make-do with the 53-year-old and seek a new man to install at the helm in a bid to improve performances on the pitch.
No fewer than nine new faces arrived at St James’ Park this summer as the Newcastle squad went through a major reconstruction. The likes of Daryl Janmaat, Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere have struggled to settle in on Tyneside, while new midfielder Siem De Jong has been ruled out with a long-term injury, hampering Pardew’s options in terms of pure goalscoring ability.
There is also the consideration that Pardew has very little say in transfer proceedings, and his want for new players with Premier League experience fell on deaf ears as Jack Colback was the only addition who had featured in the English top flight before. Pardew accepted that buying home-grown players cost more money, and the mantra that has been developed at the north-east club in recent years is one of buying cheap, foreign-based players whose potential sees them move on for a significant profit – the likes of Matieu Debuchy and Yohan Cabaye are prime examples.
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