Stand by your man: Newcastle United players plump for Alan Pardew
Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew has, arguably, been a victim of his own success. After guiding the Magpies (7/2 to end the season in the top 10) to a fantastic fifth place Premier League finish back in 2012, the bar at St James’ Park had once again been raised.
Pardew was the toast of the Toon back then and club owner Mike Ashley rewarded him with a rather reactionary eight-year contract.
Predictably, Pardew’s results, league finishes and relationship with the fans dropped off dramatically over subsequent seasons, with the view that the former Southampton and West Ham United boss was only kept in place due to his lucrative deal.
The Newcastle coach’s precarious position had never looked bleaker than the beginning of this campaign, when his Tyneside team recorded no wins in their first seven Premier League outings this season.
With pressure mounting, and discontent from the Toon Army ringing in Pardew’s ears, the Magpies finally tuned up in time to save their boss from further blushes. Two back-to-back wins against Leicester City and Tottenham have seen Newcastle climb to 14th in the league and give themselves much-needed breathing space.
Speaking recently, Dutch defender Daryl Janmaat spoke out in support of his under-the-cosh coach. Janmaat stated: “The pressure has eased. We want him as the manager.
“The manager was under a lot of pressure so it’s nice that we have given him some points… We do not want another manager.”
Even out-of-favour attacker Remy Cabella, a supersub against Spurs after setting up striker Ayoze Perez’s winner, has been supportive of Pardew’s team picks.
“It’s logical. The coach had been starting me in the first two months, but I had not scored or had an assist.”
“I have not eased up, I have worked more…My first assist is good for the confidence. Alan Pardew wants me to be more decisive.”
Pardew will be hoping this sentiment and spirit finds its way to the Newcastle support. All too often, under-fire tacticians are left floating in the wind, with fans and players seemingly deserting their managers at the first sign of trouble.
Perhaps it is this seemingly positive dressing room atmosphere that has seen him cling on to the reins despite poor results, although owner Ashley appears preoccupied with his involvement in Rangers. If the passionate Toon faithful remain unconvinced about the merits of sticking with their manager, however, they should look no further than Sam Allardyce’s stint at West Ham.
The Hammers boss shares a similarly fractious relationship with his club’s fanbase, but few can now argue with his results. Team and owners stood by Big Sam in a difficult last term, despite calls for his dismissal, and are now enjoying the fruits of persistence with his philosophy.
Pardew is not absolved of responsibility, however, and must keep momentum going as the buck does ultimately stop with him. He may never be beloved himself, but in a revived Papiss Cisse and Perez he does have the potential to collect points, especially with players like Janmaat willing to fight his corner.
The northeast giants (outsiders at 33/1 to win the Capital One Cup) will need to keep providing their support with more than just words, however, and a surprise scalp against Manchester City would go some way to easing the palpable tension at St James’ Park.