Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pardew's Time Has Been Up and Down - Now He Needs It to Be Sustainable

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pardew's Time Has Been Up and Down - Now He Needs It to Be Sustainable

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK DOUGLAS

Newcastle United fans wearing Halloween masks display a banner backing previously under-fire manager Alan Pardew during the Liverpool game Newcastle United fans wearing Halloween masks display a banner backing previously under-fire manager Alan Pardew during the Liverpool game THE costumes were so perfect and the cardboard sign so meticulously finished that if you blinked, you might have thought it was one of those PR stunts deployed by the infamous 'mischief department' of a certain internet bookmakers.

But the two Newcastle United fans with the skeleton masks and the 'Alan Pardew - Back from the Dead' sign were not claimed by Bet365 or some such. It was, it seems, an organic attempt at a bit of humour from a couple of supporters who knew they'd catch the eye of BT's cameras. Predictably, it worked.

And so it passed that they became the motif of a day when the Magpies chiselled out an impressively resilient third win in the space of six days to apparently confirm Pardew's revival.

So the United manager is back from the dead, right? It made for a nice Halloween-themed narrative but in truth, recovering from a bruising set of results is not exactly a novel phenomenon for Pardew at Newcastle. This is not the first time that the manager has emerged from a storm in his time on Tyneside. To be precise, this is his sixth 'afterlife' now. By my calculations, United have just emerged from the fifth winless month of Pardew's nearly four years in charge. Discounting the summer months when the team are inactive, that's roughly five out of 40 months - or 12% of his time as manager.

Winless months are bruising and extraordinary, but most managers survive their first one. Quite a few will get a second winless month as well but bleed into a third or fourth and the pressure starts to get cranked up a notch. Patience erodes. The number of Premier League managers who have survived three or more winless months? The current running total is none.

It has been done. A neat comparison is David Moyes - at a club of equivalent stature in Everton with roughly similar resources but a more successful recent history - who spent 6 of his 110 active months at Goodison Park winless.

That's 5%, less than half the time that Pardew has in a longer period (two were in the same season - his first full campaign that was spent battling against the drop).

For completion's sake, it's worth looking at the number of unbeaten months as well. Moyes had 13 in 110 active months at Everton - some 12%. Pardew has had three unbeaten months during his St James' Park tenure (although if he avoids defeat on Sunday it jumps up to four). So far that's 8% of his Newcastle time, which is okay.

Pardon the pun but there is rarely a grey area with Pardew at St James' Park - it really is black and white. The stats here suggest that 20% of the time they are either in crisis or an uplift - and that colours judgements of what foundations he has actually managed to put together in four years at Newcastle. The truth is that United are not as bad, listless and shambolic as they seemed after Southampton back in September.

They probably were in April when they suffered a similar walloping at St Mary's, but better players had been signed over the summer and the squad had been injected with more quality and class. They were shooting way below par.

Not that it should have been taken for granted - it has required character, determination and skill for Pardew to formulate a riposte - there was always likely to be a recovery. …

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