Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pardew Prospects Far from Black and White; the Voice of North East Sport

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pardew Prospects Far from Black and White; the Voice of North East Sport

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK DOUGLAS Mark Douglas Chief sportswriter

HAVE you heard the one about the manager whose job might be getting less secure with every victory? Sounds odd, right? Perverse even. But this is Newcastle United we're talking about, and Alan Pardew's relationship with Mike Ashley is a curious but very important sub-plot to what is actually going on with the team this season.

Way back in May, Pardew preceded a crucial game against QPR with comments that suggested Ashley had made his fair share of mistakes over the course of a troubling campaign. The United owner has the hide of a rhinoceros and it is notoriously diffi-cult to get the inside track on his thinking but my understanding is that it didn't go down particularly well. Joe Kinnear's sudden appearance as the club's Director of Football a few weeks later was probably not unrelated.

Fast forward to this weekend and Pardew's easy and engaging appearance on Goals on Sunday. Managers with uncertainty swirling around them don't usually go and spend an hour and a half being interviewed on national television during the international week when there is little else going At the centre of this is messy internal on but Pardew did. Again, there was discussion of Ashley that was positive but not unqualified in its praise. politics Either Pardew has received some assurances recently or he's playing a risky game with an owner who is notoriously difficult to predict. Given the fixture list that confronts Pardew's United between now and Christmas (four of the top six and a local derby), my take is that he is going 'all in' during a crucial period of his era.

Just as he did with Hatem Ben Arfa, Pardew senses that caution will be no insurance if results don't go his way.

The irony is that with every game Newcastle win, Ashley is likely to become more and more convinced that the squad is good enough to achieve United's minimum aim of simply staying in the top flight. …

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