Will Tidey - Alan Pardew rolls up at the Newcastle United circus
Published: 09 Dec 2010 - 07:06:27
Newcastle United, and that man Mike Ashley, are at it again. Despite a promotion in his first season and a creditable start to this Premier League campaign Chris Hughton has been put out with the Tyneside bins.
That's five managers fired in less than three years at St James' Park. Newcastle are flicking through their black book like a promiscuous millionaire in the midst of a midlife crisis.
Ashley's club. Ashley's money. And when you're this bad at making decisions it's probably hard to decide you're a rubbish football club owner.
Sam Allardyce's dour tactics always looked a bad fit for Newcastle. Kevin Keegan was ridiculously out of touch. Joe Kinnear was a personality mismatch. And Alan Shearer...Alan Shearer is a pretty average TV pundit.
And then came Hughton, not by design - but by default. And finally Newcastle found solid ground. Hughton guided them to the Championship title, and treated the Toon Army to an unbeaten season at home.
The Premier League beckoned, but Newcastle's weak squad led many of us - myself included - to predict a miserable season regardless of their manager. On paper they should be in the relegation zone by now, but they're in mid-table and still unbeaten at home.
A 5-1 win against Sunderland is about as good as it gets at Newcastle, and 1-0 away wins at Everton and Arsenal are not bad returns either.
But Hughton was clearly on borrowed time. Newcastle said they wanted someone with "more experience" and the revolving doors swung into motion once more.
Time for some Ashley logic. In his place will likely come Alan Pardew, a coach with a decent reputation inside the game, but no experience at a really big club (sorry Hammers fans) and a reputation for upsetting people. His appointment is unlikely to set pulses races at St James' Park.
Add to that Pardew's much-publicised problems with the press and Ashley might consider asking Hughton to hold the door on his way out.
Newcastle are not an easy club to manage, this we know. Their fans expect a team competing for honours, but they also expect a team playing with rampant attacking abandon in the mould of that delivered by Keegan in his initial stint at the club.
The job calls for an individual with a very big personality, and very thick skin. And I'm not convinced Pardew is that man.
His CV reads Reading, where he did a superb job, then West Ham, Charlton and Southampton - where he didn't. Hardly the proven Premier League warhorse Ashley was looking for.
So have Newcastle settled? Or do they really believe Pardew is a bold new appointment for a bold new era?
Only time will tell, but - regardless of what he achieves - nobody in the game would be that surprised if he's gone by the start of next season.
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Will Tidey
- Will Tidey writes on sport for CNN, Eurosport-Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, amongst others. His first book, 'Life with Sir Alex', an account of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25-year reign at Manchester United, is set for release in October this year. Pre-order it now at http://tinyurl.com/6xzl62b. And follow Will on Twitter here - www.twitter.com/willtidey
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