Hull 1 Newcastle 4: This time Alan Pardew must be hit with ban — from stadiums!
Firmest action needed if the FA’s Respect campaign is to mean anything
When the former Football Association chairman David Bernstein accused managers of setting a “terrible example” with some of their behaviour on the touchline a couple of months ago, he found himself attacked by the League Managers’ Association for “inflammatory” comments.
The LMA, and anybody else, will be hard pushed to mount any sort of defence for Alan Pardew’s moment of sheer madness at Hull yesterday.
Pardew may have come straight out and apologised, as he has done before when caught up in the heat of the moment, but he will be only too aware that he crossed a line, and – astonishingly – crossed it with his head.
A player doing the same thing, even after physical provocation from an opponent, would also receive a red card, and a three-match ban. Managers and coaches, who can hardly employ the same defence, are supposed, in any case, to be a long way above such indiscipline.
The FA’s “Respect” campaign may be long forgotten, but in handing out an inevitable charge, they will expect an independent tribunal to come down very heavily indeed on the Newcastle boss.
A long ban from the stadium and a large fine will be the minimum punishment. That may not even be the worst of it for Pardew, who until his team beat Aston Villa last weekend and Hull yesterday had already found his continuing tenure being brought into question.
One national newspaper journalist who wrote after the recent run of three successive defeats that he had two games to save his job, was immediately banned by the club.
But the Newcastle hierarchy move in mysterious ways. If they were in any way looking for a way out of the extraordinary eight-year contract granted to Pardew in September 2012, an act that no lawyer could reasonably deny was gross misconduct has just presented it to them.
Some leading bookmakers immediately counted that a serious enough possibility to suspend all betting on him being the next Premier League manager sacked in this season of employment carnage.
The irony of it all, adding to a sense of utter incomprehension, was that yesterday’s incident occurred with Newcastle well on the way to a second successive victory and consolidating their eighth place in the table; a position that given the club’s lack of support for Pardew in the last two transfer windows, has been not only a notable improvement on last season’s 16th, but is a commendable achievement in itself. Unfortunately, his anger management has been less successful than his football management.
Pardew has always been an ambitious man, as he showed in resigning from Reading when they refused West Ham permission to approach him 11 years ago. He went anyway, and has upset a good few people along the way to the north-east via Charlton and Southampton.
The feeling in some quarters was that he had got a little above himself and could do with being taken down a peg. There was therefore an element of schadenfreude in his dismissal by his last three clubs and widespread surprise at Newcastle’s choice of replacement for Chris Hughton in December 2010.
Staying in place there thus far has made him the second longest serving Premier League manager behind Arsène Wenger and had redeemed much of his reputation – until yesterday.
Wenger was one of several people to have fallen out with him on the touchline (when he felt Pardew overdid the celebration after West Ham’s winning goal against Arsenal at Upton Park in 2006). Manuel Pellegrini was another, the victim of crude and obscene abuse as recently as last month, and last season he was banned and fined for pushing a linesman.
At the time that seemed a new low in managerial behaviour. Yesterday struck further depths and will have to be punished accordingly.
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