Alan Pardew is fighting for his future as Newcastle United manager, just four games into the new season. The Independent understands there has been a change of mood within the club towards Pardew.
The Newcastle owner Mike Ashley stood by the 53-year-old last season when he head-butted the Hull midfielder David Meyler, although he was fined £100,000 and accepted a formal warning for his behaviour. However, the club spent nearly £40 million on nine new players in the transfer window and there has failed to be an upturn in results.
Pardew’s lack of popularity with the club’s support at the end of last season was such that he could not even stand in his technical area for the final home game at St James’ Park because of the abuse he faced. Yet there was a determination from within the club to stand by the second-longest serving manager in the Premier League and ride out the storm.
That attitude appears to have cooled in light of a winless start to the Premier League season and an inability to arrest a slump that goes back towards the beginning of the year. That run is beginning to cause concern with the Newcastle board and the reaction to the decision to omit Hatem Ben Arfa from first-team activities in the summer and then let him join Hull late on transfer deadline day has further cranked up hostility in the stands.
Newcastle face Southampton a week on Saturday and then entertain Hull at St James’ Park the following week. That has the possibility to be another afternoon of hostility for Pardew, who must also contend with the antagonistic element of Ben Arfa being in the visiting dugout (the French winger cannot play against his parent club as a loaned player).
Those two games are now believed to be crucial to the future of Pardew.
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