One of the toughest managerial jobs in Europe; in my opinion; has got to be at Newcastle United, with the fans extremely hard to please and an owner that seems solely worried about his wallet, anyone who goes there has got a lot to think about before accepting the job.
After popular manager Chris Hughton was sacked in December last year, Alan Pardew was controversially appointed as his replacement on a five-and-a-half-year deal to the bemusement of the Geordie faithful. After a successful year in charge of Southampton, where he won an impressive 53% of his games at a side starting bottom of the league due to administration, Mike Ashley felt he was the man to lead Newcastle United to the next level.
Main striker Andy Carroll was sold to Liverpool and not replaced in January, but this did not prevent the Magpies from scoring goals and winning games with a strong team spirit and work rate appearing throughout their game. A summer of ins and outs caused even more turmoil at St James Park (The Sports Direct Arena) than usual and for once they have come out of it positively. The overachievers of the Premier League so far with 25 points from 11 games, they sit third in the league going into the international break and are already 16 points clear of the relegation zone and we are not even in December.
A lot of people have suggested that their form will not last and they will fall down the league, but whether that happens or not, surely Pardew must be praised for the work he has done so far to win over the Toon army and the board in equal measure.
Newcastle are considered one of the biggest clubs in the country that have constantly underachieved, a similar tag that was put on Pardew’s previous success, West Ham. After breaking into management at Reading, he became West Ham’s number one target as manager after they were relegated from the Premier League. After a rough departure from The Royals, Pardew spent just over three years in charge at Upton Park, becoming a local legend getting the side promoted back to the top flight, finishing in the top half in their first season back in the Premier League, reaching the FA Cup final and booking their place in Europe for the following season.
A similar trend has occurred between both clubs under Alan Pardew, with hard working, talented teams that rely on shrewd transfer deals and unbeatable support from the fans. While at West Ham Pardew signed Nigel Reo-Coker for £500,000 from Wimbledon, who went on to captain the side to success and then when his form dipped, was sold to Aston Villa for £8.5million. A huge profit that was mirrored in similar dealings including Bobby Zamora, Mathew Etherington, Marlon Harewood and James Collins.
Similarly at Newcastle, in his short time there, Pardew has shown his ability in the transfer market, selling Andy Carroll to Liverpool for £35million and bringing in Demba Ba on a free transfer. Carroll has scored four goals in 10 months at Anfield and Ba has scored 8 goals in 11 games for Newcastle, fantastic business for the North East club. Other summer arrivals such as Gabriel Obertan and Yohan Cabaye have been a success and a crucial reason as to why the club are flying in the Champions League places.
Yes there are some tough games ahead for Newcastle in the next month, but with Pardew now settled at the Magpies and the fans and board in unison with the fantastic job he is doing, it appears Pardew has now found another club that appreciates what he does and how he does it. Don’t get carried away Geordies but I feel you are in very safe hands.