The final person to give evidence last week at the Jonas Gutierrez disability discrimination tribunal, was Alan Pardew.
The tribunal action was suspended for the Easter break and resumes today (Tuesday) with John Carver set to have his say.
I assume most of you know the details of the case but basically Jonas Gutierrez claims that because of his testicular cancer, Mike Ashley and his minions ensured he then didn’t play enough games in the remainder of his contract which would have triggered a one year extension to his contract.
The club’s case, with the likes of Lee Charnley, Alan Pardew and now John Carver giving their evidence, is that there was no club ‘plan’ to prevent Jonas Gutierrez reaching the required number of games to reach the trigger total.
Jonas Gutierrez arrived at Newcastle in 2007.
Alan Pardew arrived midway through the 2010/11 season and played Jonas Gutierrez in every single Premier League game, 20 starts and one appearance from the bench.
At the end of that season, Alan Pardew offered Jonas Gutierrez a new four year contract taking him up to summer 2015, with that one year extension if he featured in a certain number of matches over the four seasons.
After agreeing the new contract, Alan Pardew selected Jonas Gutierrez to start every single Premier League match when he was fit over the course of the next two seasons, 37 starts in 2011/12 and 34 in 2012/13.
No other Newcastle player came close to starting so many Premier League matches in those first two full seasons under Alan Pardew.
The following season (2013/14) though, saw Jonas Gutierrez start only one Premier League match against Manchester City (19 August 2013) and one sub appearance against Cardiff (5 October 2013). He was even almost totally ignored for a place on the bench, only one other time was Jonas an (unused) sub and that was against Manchester United (7 December 2013).
So a player who had started (71) every match (apart from one as a sub) in the previous two seasons, was now pretty much totally ignored.
Giving evidence last Thursday however, Alan Pardew claims that even when he offered Jonas Gutierrez that new four year contract in 2011, he alleges that he told the winger he wasn’t likely to be a regular starter…only to then start him every match for the next two years.
Alan Pardew claims that his big problem was the lack of goals scored by Jonas but that was hardly news, as Gutierrez had never had a big reputation as a goalscorer. So which begs the question of why you would then offer the player this new lucrative four (potentially five) year contract if you had such concerns…?
Alan Pardew when deciding to offer the new four year contract in 2011:
“My particular concerns with Jonas Gutierrez related to the low number of goals he scored, he had scored only three goals in the 2010/11 season which, for an attacking midfielder, was well below what I would have expected.”
Alan Pardew and what he says he told Jonas in summer 2013, despite picking him every match in previous two seasons:
‘I felt the fairest approach was to be honest. I was honest with him and explained he would not be a regular in my first team for the upcoming (2013/14) season
“Jonas appeared to accept my decision and continued to train well, however, as expected after a difficult conversation like this, I felt our previous good relationship deteriorated from this point onwards.”
“I respected Jonas as a professional and I felt the fairest approach was to be honest with him.
“This was purely a footballing decision and it is personally upsetting to me that Jonas appears to think otherwise – we welcomed him back with open arms.”
The case looks set to be decided on whether Jonas Gutierrez or Pardew, Ashley, Charnley and Carver are more believable.
No guesses what the outcome would be if it was a jury of Newcastle fans deciding the case but we await with interest to see what the tribunal decides.