Newcastle fans dismayed by Alan Pardew appointment

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The Independent Football

New manager Alan Pardew faces a battle to win over the Newcastle supporters after the departure of Chris Hughton.

Fans are still reeling from the events of this week following the dismissal of Hughton, who led them to promotion, and the fact that the former Southampton boss has been handed a five-and-a-half-year contract.

Mark Jensen, editor of the Mag Fanzine, said: "Getting rid of the manager during the season is not the best way forward.

"If they really did not think Chris Hughton was the man for the long term, whether it was Alan Pardew or whoever, I would rather they had waited until the end of the season.

"It is quite an extraordinary contract in this day and age but it probably means they are going to stick by him no matter what. To get rid of him they would have to lay out x amount of cash.

"Fans are very angry and disappointed at what has happened because Chris Hughton was doing a very decent job.

"We've had it all before. We've had a list of managers you did not have any great faith in. You hope for the best but fear the worst. This is the acid test as the team is the most important part of the club.

"When Chris Hughton was dispensed with we were 11th. If Alan Pardew takes us as high as that at the end of the season then we have to say it has been the right decision. If we go the other way we have every right to say it was wrong thing to do at the wrong time."

There is talk some fans are planning a peaceful protest before the home match with Liverpool on Saturday and Jensen added: "What I know for sure is the Newcastle people are the last people in the world who like to be told what to do.

"You cannot control the crowd and you should not patronise the fans. They will do what they do."

Steve Wraith, editor of the Toon Talk fanzine, has a degree of sympathy for Pardew after admitting the club's new boss faces the prospect of a hostile welcome at the weekend.

He told Sky Sports News: "When you look at his CV, it doesn't make pleasant reading.

"It's not his fault he has been put in this position, anyone who gets the chance to manage a club with this fan base would snap their hand off if the deal is right. It's his chance to get back into football.

"I feel sorry for the guy as the atmosphere which will greet him on Saturday is not going to be a welcome one. He could be the first manager who steps on to the pitch at St James' Park prior to a game and not get a welcome.

"It's not his fault but he has accepted the job and if he lasts five and a half years I will eat my hat."

There has been talk of a boycott of Saturday's game but Wraith feels that wold be unfair on the players.

He added: "The team aren't to blame.

"There is a good captain in Kevin Nolan and guys who have been there for years like Steve Harper, a consummate professional, and those guys have a job to do.

"Our job I suppose is to go and support the team.

"My biggest worry is next season. I am on a three-year season ticket which runs out at the end of this season and there are 9,000 fans in a similar situation.

"My worry is that next season those 9,000 say enough is enough and we are playing in a stadium which is 10,000-12,000 down on this year and that would be a crying shame."