Following Chris Hughton’s sacking there were doubts early on when Alan Pardew was rolled out as his replacement. These mainly revolved around a perception that he could/would be a ‘yes’ man for Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias.
This season I don’t think I have heard anybody who doesn’t think Pardew is doing a good job in very difficult circumstances. Though since the final whistle at Carrow Road I have heard one or two supporters voicing concerns, which mostly concern what is (or isn’t) going to happen in the January transfer market.
What everybody sees clearly is that at Newcastle United the manager doesn’t have the final say on transfers in or out. This isn’t a unique situation as it also happens at many continental clubs plus some nearer home, such as Chelsea.
What this does mean though is that if a manager doesn’t have the final say, what happens if key players are sold against his will?
I can’t believe that in the summer Alan Pardew wouldn’t have wanted at least three more players; a striker, centre-back and either another full-back or winger. Still having to rely on people like Perch and Lovenkrands has clearly contributed to recent results, while Ryan Taylor playing well above himself has dug the team/squad out of that little hole in the short-term.
I don’t think Pardew could have got more out of this group of players this season, personally I wouldn’t have played Lovenkrands in any game whatever the circumstances but there again I wouldn’t have given Ryan Taylor house room and while he has struggled against decent players one on one, he has arguably won us maybe 4-6 points so far.
In January though things will really come to a head as we wait and see what moves Mike Ashley makes in terms of ‘backing’ the manager.
Ba and Tiote (whether fit or not) will be missing for up to half a dozen matches on international duty, which on top of the missing Steven Taylor makes things very tricky, never mind any other injuries.
Having to struggle through until the end of January with a depleted squad might not be fatal if players are brought in to enable the team to have a real go from February onwards. However, if Pardew is left with whoever is still standing then this season could have been totally thrown away.
We can’t ignore either the possibility (as it has happened several times – Given, Carroll, Milner) that a key player such as Krul, Tiote or Coloccini will be sold at the worst possible time, the question for many is what would Alan Pardew then do?
I didn’t blame Kevin Keegan for walking as he had clearly been undermined but the harsh reality for me is that if he had stayed I don’t think for one minute the team would have been relegated. Whether KK papering over the cracks for one more season would have been for the long-term health of Newcastle United is another matter.
Alan Pardew deserves the support of both the fans AND Mike Ashley for what he has achieved this season.
Whether he gets that backing from the owner remains to be see but if he is undermined he will definitely still have my support whatever he decides, I hope and trust he has yours too?