These days you would struggle to find someone that genuinely knew what was going on at Newcastle. The Premier League club have become been something of a long running farce under Mike Ashley, and to try to second guess the retail tycoon has become a bit of a fruitless task in recent months.
This last month has brought even more instability to the club with the departure of Director of Football Joe Kinnear, and the sale of star man Yohan Cabaye to PSG. Whilst Kinnear’s departure is hardly something that Alan Pardew would lose sleep over, the loss of his talismanic French midfielder would have caused the manager a few headaches.
Most of the problems at the club are self inflicted, something that makes the whole saga a lot worse in my opinion. Mike Ashley isn’t quite the idiot many would have you believe, and his regime at Newcastle is therefore a little more vindictive and calculated that it might appear. A man that has always sought total control over the club whatever the costs, his recent behaviour points towards a change in management in the not too distant future.
Some may argue that I’m putting two and two together here and making five, but the reality is that Mike Ashley is doing everything in his power to make Alan Pardew’s position totally unworkable. The sale of star players is a necessity for most teams outside of the top four; the real aberration was the inability to bring in a replacement before the window slammed shut. Clement Grenier was the name being touted, but when it came down to it Ashley failed to back his manager when he needed him most.
Pardew is having to hold together a side that on the face of it just doesn’t look fit for purpose, thanks in part to the lack of transfer support from Ashley’s partner in crime Joe Kinnear. Derby day heartache may be painful for those that love Newcastle, but their current league standing is nothing short of miraculous given the problems the club has had.
Joe Kinnear’s departure marks the end of two failed transfer windows, and a period of bizarre media gaffes and amateurish boardroom behaviour. Call me a conspiracy theorist but Kinnear has done exactly what he was meant to do, and that was to unsettle Pardew and make his footballing life a living hell.
Some may wonder why Ashley doesn’t just sack Pardew, why go to all these lengths to force him out? The best part of the comedy at Newcastle is that Alan Pardew is perhaps the most secure man in the Premier League, at least contractually. As reward for a successful 2011-12 campaign the Englishman put pen to paper on an astonishing 8-year deal that tied him to the club for the long term.
To sack Pardew would cost Ashley and absolute fortune, something that the owner just isn’t willing or able to do. The only way to change manager from his point of view is to force the last one to fall on his sword, and so far he has done everything in his power to make that happen.
Even if Ashley gets his was and Pardew leaves, would anyone really want to work under this man? Mike Ashley may be a successful retail tycoon, but his handling of footballing business is borderline hilarious. Whether you love him or hate him, I cannot see anyone better or even mentally fit becoming part of Ashley’s team at Newcastle United.
Whether you think Ashley is this manipulative totalitarian or simply a footballing lunatic, it is fast becoming clear that Pardew’s time on Tyneside is numbered. A job that is becoming untenable for even the most resilient of managers, it is clear that the passage is being cleared for Pardew’s departure.