Alan Pardew and feeling…Glad all over!
So there we have it, Alan Pardew has gone.
There will be dancing in the streets of Newcastle – for now. Until we find out who Ashley is going to replace him with, we can celebrate. Pardew is heading home. We are glad all over.
For the third time in his career, Pardew has got a new job in December. He returns to the scenes of his greatest successes as a player. His semi-final goal against Liverpool took Palace to an FA Cup final.
Of that team, he was later to prove fortunate in getting media support through football pundits, Ian Wright, Mark Bright and Chris Kamara, no doubt maintaining a more positive profile than his record merits. Also there was his future goalkeeping coach, Andy Woodman.
His arrival in the North East was underwhelming. Even the club Chairman failed to announce the appointment. Instead, Pardew faced the press conference on his own. If Alan Brazil is to be believed, the decision might have already been made days before Chris Hughton, the only manager to get Newcastle promoted at the first attempt, was unceremoniously dumped.
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Despite having scraped 2 promotions via play offs, the first of those with Reading, once into the Premier League he managed to finish 9th with West Ham. The next season he had been sacked, struggling with the Hammers before moving to Charlton who he took down. He was once again sacked when in the bottom 3 of the 2nd tier.
As it turns out, his Newcastle career stats also proved to be underwhelming but with a little success on the way. He leaves in the week before what would have been his 5th FA Cup campaign, the first losing to Stevenage, being knocked out twice by Brighton, and Cardiff at home, the only win (v Blackburn) coming with great goals by players he refused at some stage to play, Ben Arfa and Jonas.
His overall league record reads:
P 155 W58 D34 L63 F198 A238
Within those stats was a season where, somehow, 5th place was achieved. The very next campaign, he managed to scrape away from the relegation zone, via a January cash injection, finishing 5th bottom. Hidden in the statistics is that he failed to win even half of his home games (37 out of 77) with a home goal difference of a mere +8, his away record being a nice round -50.
Looking back at the highlights, some of the most exciting football came with Hughton’s squad; the inaugural win against Liverpool, the famous 4-4 comeback against Arsenal and the Leon Best hat-trick against the Hammers.
Some notable victories also followed; Chelsea twice, away at Manchester United, but entertaining performances were harder to come by as time progressed, at least without Cabaye, even though striking flair was apparent from Ba, Cisse and Remy. The dull, defensive funnel formation was more characteristic.
He will be remembered most, perhaps, for his transfer record. Having told us on his appointment that was known for “banging on the owner’s door” to get funding, that he had assurances Andy Carroll was not going to be sold, not at any price, not in this transfer window, then was sold in his first window.
Having lost his best player, later replaced by Demba Ba, the latter was also sold on for a profit, the same with Cabaye and to a lesser extent, several others. Experienced players were moved on, youngsters given little chance until recently. He was indeed fortunate in some ways to have the experienced Graham Carr identify cheap talent, not having to go banging on the owner’s door.
Despite Carr’s input, Pardew was unable to assimilate some of the flair players successfully. Among those were notably Ben Arfa, but also Sylvain Marveaux, even defender Mbiwa. Loanee Luuk de Jong struggled, whilst there were times that Cisse and Ba looked unhappy playing on the wings. Players became ‘Pardewed’.
Until this season, when injuries forced his hand, youngsters had little opportunity. All of a sudden Sammy Ameobi, Aarons, Ayoze, Abeid have broken through, where others like Bigiramana have had to wait for him to learn the rest of the alphabet, Vuckic due a very long wait.
Controversy also followed. Having accused Wenger earlier in his career of playing too many foreign players, the last home match against Arsenal contained Mike Williamson as the only English born player in the home team. The Meyler incident requires no reminders to go with his linesman shove against Spurs, neither does the uncomplimentary language used towards the title winning Pellegrini.
Arguably, the highlight of Pardew’s term was his run in Europe. As a player, his sole win in 4 Intertoto attempts with Spurs, including their record defeat, 8-0 against FC Koln. As a manager, with West Ham he managed 2 defeats out of 2, home and away with West Ham against Palermo. Here, he managed to reach the Europa League QFs.
Just for the record, the last time he took over a team that was in the bottom 3 of the Premier League, they were relegated. He was dismissed a couple of seasons later on the way to Charlton’s next relegation to the third tier. Good luck Palace.
Here, he leaves the legacy of 23 defeats by 3 or more goals, the only manager in Newcastle history to lose to Sunderland 4 times in a row, the biggest defeat for a century, joint biggest defeat against Sunderland for over a century and many more worsts.
See you in February, Alan, even if not next season. For those who might miss him, you can sing along to the clip below.
He will always be remembered for excelling – in mediocrity.
Rex also runs his own website (toontoon.co.uk) which you can visit HERE
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