Fans wanted Magpies’ manager, Alan Pardew, out and they now have their wish. Pardew is headed for Crystal Palace. Reasons are as yet unclear but a few things do stand out. The Alan Pardew is a Muppet campaign probably took more of a toll than he let on. It is very clear that a large section of fans simply did not want him at the club, regardless of the fact that results had improved drastically since October. Additionally he had little control over the transfer window and saw many of his best players leave for richer grounds. The sale of Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint Germain stands out, especially as an adequate replacement was not signed at the time.
At Palace, Pardew, is expected to have more control, although one must recall that Tony Pulis after winning the Manager of the Year award last season left Palace famously because he did not receive such control. Either the board of directors have learned their lesson or Pardew simply couldn’t take the lack of support from either the club or the fans any longer. Crystal Palace was a decent and obvious escape route for a man who had spent four years at St James’ Park.
The poor run has not been entirely Pardew’s fault. Owner, Mike Ashley, has stated over and again that he does not have the resources for a Champions League run which would require significant investment in players. He may have the resources for a Europa League attempt but he sees that as too expensive for the financial return. He’s a businessman. Europa League campaigns require a deep bench to compensate for injuries and fatigue due to Thursday evening games. The financial reward is a fraction of that of the Champions League which is close to £60 million. Therefore Ashley wants the club to avoid the Europa League. That means avoiding 5th place, a Capital One Cup win and/or a FA Cup win. That’s good business. That’s bad for fans however.
Ashley is operating a financial model whereby he keeps Newcastle in the Premier League without being overly ambitious (and over spending) and in the process makes the club more profitable. For example signing cheaper players from abroad and selling them on for significant profit (as he did with Cabaye). The sale of such a player did not result in a big money replacement No, it resulted in the signing of more cheaper players from abroad, to follow the model. Newcastle are a selling club under Ashley.
Pardew was in an awkward spot. Ashley has publicly backed him, however, and that’s because Pardew fulfilled his remit of avoiding relegation and keeping a run toward mid table. Fans keep coming back disgruntled though they may be. They wanted more and it wasn’t all Pardew’s fault.
That being said Pardew did rub people up the wrong way. He was abrasive and aggressive. His touchline antics such as crassly insulting Manuel Pellegrini or headbutting David Meyler could perhaps have got him sacked on it’s own. They did not.
What’s next then? Hull City manager, Steve Bruce’s name has been in the rumour mill as well as player Fabricio Coloccini although he has indicated he is not interested. Foreign coaches are being reviewed as well. The key to remember here is that Mike Ashley is only interested in mid table. Whoever succeeds Pardew will likely do no better although hopefully he won’t head butt a player during a game.