Alan Pardew has insisted his future as Newcastle manager was more than a joke, after Mike Ashley said he would be axed if the club fail to win on Monday night.
Ashley, speaking to a national newspaper for the first time in six years, said his manager had one more game to save his job.
The Newcastle owner, whose representatives insisted the comments outside a London pub had been tongue in cheek, said: “If we lose against Stoke on Monday night he’s gone. I’ve had enough. What would you do? I’ve spent a lot of money on that club, it’s cost me a lot. I won’t put up with it anymore. One more loss and he’s gone, he’s over, finished.” Pardew has been under intense pressure as Newcastle have slumped to the bottom of the Premier League and have yet to win a League game. Angry fans have started a campaign to get him sacked, while leaflets backing the sackpardew.com website were confiscated by stewards before last week’s draw with Hull.
Ashley’s comments, even if intended as a joke, do little to help 53-year-old Pardew’s cause. Pardew said: “Unfortunately we have had those sort of headlines for two or three weeks.
“I’ve been under pressure at this club for a number of weeks now. All I can focus on now is the team and that’s what I’ll do.
“I’ve spoken to him [Ashley] this week - he’s obviously very keen for us to get victories. That’s what we’re about, winning. I think he was trying to be supportive in his own kind of way.”