As Mike Ashley relaxed at his holiday getaway in Barbados supping gallons of lager top, still with the sound of the Christmas tills ringing sweetly in his ears, how he must be laughing as pretty much all of the press and most of the Newcastle fans completely miss the point.
The accepted narrative appears to be that Alan Pardew very belatedly discovered a backbone and demanded a move out of Newcastle United, with Mike Ashley supposedly caught on the hop and powerless to stop him leaving.
So let’s get this right, Pardew has been humiliated at every step by Ashley in his four years at Newcastle United, forced to make grovelling comments about his boss at press conferences, talked confidently of buying players that the owner then put the block on, players sold from under him – yet has put up with it all.
Even when he led United to a fifth place finish in the Premier League and Ashley refused to back him with players to build on that breakthrough season, Alan Pardew just had to grin and bear it.
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That was surely the time when the then Newcastle manager had to walk, he could have had his pick of a number of Premier League clubs and a much bigger salary, as he’s getting now at Palace. Yet he stayed.
The only conclusion you can possibly draw is that he couldn’t leave, for whatever reason.
However, Pardew has now left the building and people want to suddenly think that he could act of his own free will? To me, the only possible reason for Alan Pardew’s departure is that it suited Mike Ashley – to think anything else would mean ignoring everything the last four years have told us.
Like everybody else, I don’t have the facts, I do though see what makes sense.
My belief is that when Crystal Palace announced Neil Warnock had been sacked on December 27, they already knew that Alan Pardew would be their next manager.
The time had come for Mike Ashley to dispose of Pardew, he’d served his purpose and now it was time to release him from his serfdom, set him free.
I don’t think Mike Ashley looks too far ahead where Newcastle United are concerned and with 26 points at the halfway point following the Everton match (27 points now after Burnley), the NUFC owner no doubt just thinks success (Premier League safety) is already assured again and he is probably right.
As to whether this might indicate he’s thinking of selling up soon – maybe yes maybe no, either way I think sacrificing his Alan Pardew card at this point worked for Ashley.
Even if he intends keeping the club, he’ll see it as nothing urgent needs to be done until the summer anyway – whether it is buying a few players or even the remote possibility of getting a decent manager/head coach. What’s the point of making any effort now? Nothing to play for and as a bonus now safely out of the FA Cup as well, St. James’ Park pretty much sold out due to the rush on half season tickets when Pardew accidentally hit on that October/November winning run.
West Brom and Crystal Palace have new managers already in place yes Newcastle don’t, coincidence? Laughably the press, Chronicle in particular, are trying to tell us that the delay is down to careful deliberations, making sure get the right man, compiling a six man/eight man/twenty man dossier of potential candidates, scouring Europe, and so on.
Give it a rest, all of this nonsense that is circulating now is ideal for Mike Ashley, far better that journalists are writing, and fans endlessly reading, about who is or isn’t going to be the next manager/head coach, than asking where are the new signings that are desperately needed.
John Carver talks about Europe still being a possibility and ironically it is, but not with this current shambolic state of affairs. However, a quick appointment of a talented manager or head coach and back him with a few signings that were needed back in the summer (and beyond) and who knows…? Currently, United are only six points off Arsenal in sixth place and actually only nine points away from Southampton in fourth.
Mike Ashley/Newcastle United have known at least since December 28th (when Pardew skipped his Everton post-match press duties), though I would guess quite a bit before then, that Alan Pardew was leaving, yet absolutely nothing appears to have been done.
It all sound a bit like the hollow words put out by the club’s pet press in transfer windows, much talk of high powered meetings between people at NUFC and compiling lists of targets and so on, but then nothing actually happening.
It is now eight days since December 28 and two Premier League points have been sacrificed against Burnley and the predictable pathetic FA Cup exit thanks to leaving out all the decent players.
You only have to look at the ridiculous statement Newcastle United released confirming Alan Pardew’s departure, to see what kind of disgraceful club we all support.
Instead of doing what normal (well run) clubs do, instead Mike Ashley included an embarrassing denial that he’d ever ever met Alan Pardew before he came to Newcastle, this a reaction to the casino type rumours that have circulated for all of the four years Pardew was at Newcastle. If the casino stuff is just groundless gossip, why is a club of Newcastle United’s might getting involved with bar room rumours?
Little doubt that much of what is happening is being carefully choreographed by his PR sidekick Keith Bishop.
Stories planted here and there in the press, quotes given here and there, with no doubt Alan Pardew also still expected to play his part. Especially when as the team falls apart this season and potentially players such as Sissoko and others leave, it will all be about how those deluded Newcastle fans drove out a respected and talented manager like Alan Pardew, leading to players leaving etc etc.
Mike Ashley has not accidentally lost his manager, disposing of Alan Pardew is just part of this season’s shenanigans at St. James’ Park.
It might end with Mike Ashley at last leaving Newcastle United but I have a feeling that this is the only possible positive we have to look forward to in the coming months.