Under-fire Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has insisted he is not staying in his position through arrogance or a desire to gain a compensation package by forcing the club’s owner Mike Ashley to sack him.
Pardew has six years left on his contract at St James’ Park and that is seen as a potential stumbling block for Ashley, who has paid out almost £7m in firing previous managers Sam Allardyce, Kevin Keegan and Chris Hughton.
Newcastle’s current run has seen them win one of their last 14 Premier League games and none this season. They are currently second bottom of the table, just above Burnley.
Pardew has admitted he has faced criticism from fans in Newcastle this week and that he is becoming concerned about the mounting pressure on his family. He thanked Ashley and the club’s managing director Lee Charnley for their show of support but, curiously, suggested they may be feeling different in private.
The 53-year-old, who has been in charge at Newcastle for nearly four years, again vowed to fight through a position that has at times looked untenable.
“It’s getting lost in the wash a little bit that I’m here out of arrogance or Mike’s being stubborn about it to annoy people,” he said. “We’re not. We’re just trying to get what is right for the team and it’s obvious that the team isn’t functioning very well at the moment.
“I spoke to Mike and the chief executive and the message is very much ‘how can we support you?’ I would not expect any different, even if they were thinking different privately. They have been very solid and I appreciate that.
“I love this football club. The players are feeling a little bit of the stress and the heat that is upon them. They are a young group and I need to help them. I will do that until such point where it comes that I can’t help them any more.
“But there is no lack of fight and that is something which is important. We need more.
“I’ve had one or two interactions where fans have made their point and I’ve got no problem with that. I’ve also had two or three fans wishing me to come through it and I appreciate that.
“My family and friends worry me a little bit, because it’s started going past football media a little bit at times. That’s not nice.”
The Sunderland manager, Gus Poyet, spoke of the unique pressure he has found working in the North-east. He said it was essential to understand the desire of supporters in order to do well in the region.
“If you don’t understand what it means to them, you have got no chance, because then you are looking at something that is not real,” the Uruguayan said. “I like that pressure. I think the passion of the fans is totally different up here, I have got no doubt. They live football 24-7.
“When they are on your side, everything is fantastic and on the other side it is an absolute nightmare. I’m trying to keep them on my side as long as I can.”
Ashley goes shopping: Rangers stake raised
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has increased his stake in Rangers to almost nine per cent. Ashley’s Mash Holdings Ltd has bought four million shares, which were sold by Hargreave Hale this week.
Ashley now has a total stake of 8.92 per cent, having signed an agreement with the Scottish authorities that would prevent him owning more than 10 per cent while he retains control of Newcastle.