There has been some speculation that Alan Pardew might walk after being let down by Ashley and Llambias in the transfer window, although Assistant Manager John Carver dismissed that idea yesterday.
Carver said: “Why is his position in doubt? This has been a good start for us. We have picked up seven points from three matches and we are into the third round of the Carling Cup. We are going in the right direction.
“If you had told people we would have what we have now, they would have snapped your hands off. How can people question the position of the manager? It’s absurd.“
It sounds a bit like Carver has got the wrong end of the stick actually. I think any speculation was about whether Pardew might decide to leave rather than being sacked. I don’t think many people thought his position was in ‘danger’ as such.
Personally, I’m still fairly ‘neutral’ on Pardew in a lot of respects. He does tend to spout an awful lot of tosh, which irritates me, but I think it’s difficult to judge him on last season as he only took over halfway through. I don’t think it’s fair to judge a manager until they’ve had a full season – including the pre-season, which I think is important – in charge of a team, although in today’s world of hiring and firing managers in the blink of an eye I’m probably an exception in that respect.
Then of course there’s always the question of how much we hold him responsible for the actions of the dipsticks in the board room. Do we blame him for not being more assertive with them or do we accept that no manager would have had done any better against Mike Ashley in that respect? Personally, I don’t think they would. I can’t see Mike Ashley relinquishing any control even if Pep Guardiola strolled up and said “gis’ a job fat boy”.
I have a nagging doubt about Pardew though and I can’t explain it. I keep feeling things are going to collapse in a heap around him. Maybe that’s due to habit more than anything else – there seems to have been some sort of turmoil at NUFC for so many years now that I half expect to wake up in the morning and find St James’ Park has been sold to the National Kerplunk Society or something equally daft.
It can’t be easy to be a manager at Newcastle United these days and I respect Pardew for coping with that if nothing else. When it comes to judging him, we can only do so on a like-for-like basis. He has to work on a threadbare budget, so we can’t judge him against Roberto Mancini or André Villas-Boas. Maybe we can judge him against the likes of David Moyes, who seems to be the only manager in the Premier League working on an even tighter budget than Pardew.
It’s still early days yet but if Pardew had any significant input into the selection of Cabaye, Obertan and Santon as transfer targets then they seem to be decent enough so far (albeit only on paper in the case of Santon). Personally, I think Pardew has very little say in the whole transfer process and I think it may just be a matter of him telling Ashley and the scouts the sort of player he’s after, although I don’t know that’s the way it works of course. I could be doing him an injustice.
My mind will probably change many times about Pardew over the coming season. I tend not to hold rigid views and can change them in an instant as new information comes to light, which is a blessing in that I’m open-minded but a curse in that I can often appear to be self-contradictory and unable to make my mind up. It’s just the way I am and it’s equally probable that I’d write an article tomorrow proclaiming I want Pardew’s babies as it is that I’d write something entitled “Slow Death To Alan Pardew”.
Well, maybe not quite that extreme.