Alan Pardew is currently staring down the barrel of a gun at West Brom, eight points adrift of safety and clinging to his job with the most tenuous of grasps. When inevitably sacked, he will be thrown back into the managerial wilderness and such are his flaccid attempts to galvanise the Baggies, he’s unlikely to be given another shot at a top-flight club.
For Newcastle fans, the four years Pardew spent on Tyneside still draw a mixed reaction. An unpopular choice from the outset, the former West Ham coach was inexplicably fast-tracked from a League One P45 to become Chris Hughton’s replacement.
Towards the end of his reign, ‘Pardew Out’ was a catchphrase that had become synonymous with every Newcastle defeat – as he was effectively hounded back to London via Crystal Palace.
Pardew’s four years at the club weren’t perfect but the man deserves credit.
Operating on a typically shoestring budget, and having his best players flogged to the highest bidder every transfer window, the man delivered European football via a fifth-placed finish – the highest the club has placed since 2004.
He also guided the Magpies to a mid-table finish of 10th during the 13/14 season, despite having to deal with the loss of the talismanic Yohan Cabaye midway through the campaign. When Pardew departed the club, in December 2014, they were ninth in the league – five months and John Carver later, they were relying on last-day drama to ensure their survival. The following season they were relegated.
Yes, much of the criticism levelled at the former Southampton man was deserved – his seeming failure to coach set-pieces, his woeful cup record, or even his failure to grasp the basics of touchline conduct, as linesmen, Hull City midfielders and Manuel Pellegrini might testify.
Yes he may not be the most tactically astute manager in the world, and sacking Chris Hughton was undoubtedly a mistake, but considering the club basically unravelled within five minutes of the silver-haired boss leaving, perhaps Newcastle fans should reconsider just how poor a job he actually did.