Stability or Sensibility? The Magpies’ lacklustre start sees them bottom of the table after picking up a mere three points from their opening five games. Perhaps it’s now time to be sensible – terminate Alan Pardew’s long-term contract and close the Pardew rollercoaster for good.
Pardew’s Newcastle United arrival was instantly met with controversy when he took the reins from a well-thought-of Chris Hughton. The majority of fans believed that he lacked credibility and questioned owner Mike Ashley’s judgement on the appointment. He couldn’t have asked for a trickier start with Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur as his opening Premier League matches, however he began to silence critics on his debut when the then Premiership new boys beat Liverpool 3-1 at St James’ Park. His Newcastle side went on to thrash West Ham 5-0 and then staged arguably the greatest ever comeback, when they battled back from 4-0 down to earn a point against title contenders Arsenal. Pardew’s first season ended with Newcastle securing Premiership football and finishing a respectable 12th. But the season was somewhat overshadowed by the sale of local hero Andy Carroll for a staggering £35million to Liverpool.
His managerial career peaked in his first full season as Newcastle boss as his side managed a 5th place finish – above Chelsea, Everton and Liverpool. The signings of Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye were imperative, giving Newcastle a fresh look – one that was entertaining and terrified opposition. A derby day win, thrashing Manchester United and the prospect of playing in Europe ensured that Pardew’s name was sang from the terraces as he began to prove why he was awarded an eight-year contract.
Back in Europe but clawing for Premiership survival. Off field problems began to filter onto the pitch as Pardew’s third season was not fondly remembered by the Toon Army supporters. Newcastle reached the quarter finals of the Europa League, but this came at a cost. Top goal scorer, Demba Ba was sold for a derisory £7 million to Chelsea as a small squad shrank further. The unwillingness to spend and strengthen saw Newcastle thrown into a relegation scrap and they finished an abysmal 16th. Times were once again dreary in the North East.
Without the strains of the Europa League, Pardew promised improvements and a successful Premiership campaign. Contrary to this, January saw Newcastle out of the FA Cup and playmaker Yohan Cabaye sold to Paris Saint-Germain. Pardew stated he was sold because Newcastle were unable to contend for a Champions League spot. This shown a lack of ambition from the club and sparked uproar from supporters. Failure to replace Cabaye saw Newcastle’s loss rate increase from 33% to 63%. Things deteriorated and in February 2014 Paulo Di Canio’s Sunderland beat Newcastle 3-0; this led to riots in the city. The effect of the mounting pressure was demonstrated when Pardew head-butted Hull’s David Meyler. His career reached an all-time low. Banned for seven matches and the club becoming a laughing stock Newcastle fans called for Pardew to be axed.
The summer saw a flock of new faces introduced, including Remy Cabella, Siem De Jong and former Sunderland player Jack Colback. Momentarily this seemed to deflect the pressure from Pardew, however, after falling out with fan favourite Hatem Ben Arfa, failing to capture a promised prolific goal scorer and a disastrous beginning to the league, it would appear that the scrutiny is well and truly back on the Magpies’ boss, but the question is how much longer will the Pardew rollercoaster continue?