As winds of change whip up another storm, where will they blow Newcastle next?

 

A breathless celebration had barely abated when Alan Pardew stood in front of the television cameras – hair sorted, shirt back in his trousers – and commended his players. “I asked them to find a way before kick-off,” he said. “They found a way.”

Pardew had jumped into the crowd at St James' Park following Papiss Cisse's dramatic 93rd minute winning goal against Fulham. At that point it felt like a significant victory. Newcastle could prepare for a Europa League quarter-final second leg with Benfica and a derby with Sunderland. "It will be a massive week," he said. 

The Fulham celebration is significant now more for how much has changed in the course of the 20 days that have followed. Twenty days later and the ever fluctuating winds that swirl around Tyneside's only football club have whipped up another storm. 

Now it is Pardew himself who must find a way.

It is 11 months since a text arrived as Pardew sat at a table in the chairman's suite at St James' Park to confirm he was the LMA manager of the year. It followed the Premier League Manager of the season award. There were congratulations, a new bottle of wine was opened. A toast followed.

Pardew was the special guest on Radio Newcastle later that evening. At the time, the Northern League side Dunston UTS were preparing to appear in the final of the FA Vase. The Newcastle manager was asked to wish them luck. 'Come on Dunston!' he roared on radio. The show of emotion went down well. Dunston won. Pardew was winning. Newcastle finished fifth.

At times it feels like nothing has gone right since.

Newcastle's move for Cisse in January of that season for £9million was bold, too bold for some in the club. He scored 13 goals from 13 starts. A feeling existed that the team had overperformed. Cisse was bought on the recommendation of chief scout Graham Carr, as all Newcastle players now are. (Pardew advocated the signings of David Santone, Gabriel Obertan and Rob Elliot). Carr was eager for the club to sign Vurnon Anita in the summer for £6.7 million. Anita has hardly played. He was their only notable signing.

By the end of November they had won just three Premier League games but Pardew, after Carr, had signed an eight year contract. By then all momentum from last season had gone. In February, managing director Derek Llambias admitted to the error. "Did we make a mistake in the summer? I think we did," he said. "We did not give ourselves enough slack.”

By that point, Newcastle were 15th, which has been their place in the Premier League for most of the campaign. Newcastle have suffered more than 70 injuries to their players this season. There will be an assessment as to why this summer. There was an inability to adapt to the Thursday-Sunday football the Europa League brought.

There have been off-field controversies. On October 9, Newcastle announced a shirt sponsorship deal with Wonga, the payday loan company. It sparked outrage. There was a call for the club's Muslim players not to wear branded shirts for the 2013-2014 season on account of Sharia Law. St James' Park was renamed St James' Park (after a spell as the Sports Direct Arena) to a huge fanfare.

There have been on-field controversies. On January 10, Fabricio Coloccini met officials from Newcastle and told them he wanted to return to Argentina for personal reasons. He threatened to walk out later that month until he was threatened with a lawsuit. Coloccini has barely played since because of a back injury. Hatem Ben Arfa has been peripheral because of a hamstring injury. His recuperation took place in Clairefontaine and the club has not been happy with his fitness since he returned. The clause in Demba Ba's contract allowing him to leave for £7 million was activated in January, when he moved to Chelsea. Ba is still Newcastle's top scorer in the Premier League.

On January 19, the club owner Mike Ashley watched Newcastle lose at home to Reading and sanctioned a spending spree that, according to those inside the club, cost £31 million.

They were Carr's signings; Mathieu Debuchy had arrived and he was followed by Yoan Gouffran, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Moussa Sissoko and Massadio Haidara. Gouffran revealed at his unveiling that he had just met the manager at his medical. Haidara was carried off at the DW Stadium following another moment of controversy when his foul by Callum McManaman was missed by referee Mark Halsey. 

Breathless. And so Newcastle stumbled into the biggest week of their season after that win against Fulham. Pardew considered resting Cisse and Yohan Cabaye for the second leg against Benfica (Newcastle trailed three-one) but did not. They drew and exited Europe. Three days later, they were swatted aside by Sunderland, at home. No game had been given priority. Europe, a bugbear in the boardroom, offered protection from mounting unrest. Without it, Pardew has become Hadrian minus the wall.

There are now concerns within the club that Newcastle have become too direct in their style of play (there has been tactical complacency throughout the campaign) and yet there remains an interest in bringing Andy Carroll back in the summer (despite his prohibitive salary).

The futures of Ben Arfa, Coloccini, Tim Krul and Cabaye are uncertain.

Today they face Liverpool, still unsure what division they will play in next season.  This time last year Newcastle were fourth. Pardew must stem a decline that has so far been beyond him. The parameters for the Newcastle manager are not easy, but he was aware of that before he joined.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
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

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star