Just over a month ago, Newcastle United were sitting in 18th place in the Premier League with just four points from their first seven games. Since then Alan Pardew’s side have picked up 12 points from a possible 12 and have leapt to 8th in the table.
Alan Pardew was a dead man walking with a large number of Newcastle supporters crying out for the axe. The abuse hurled at him was extreme to say the least, but his dismissal from the club would have been entirely justifiable after picking up just one win in 15 league games. A number of the 10 defeats that came within this period included a few hammerings, with two coming at the hands of Southampton who beat them 4-0 on two occasions.
What may have ultimately saved Pardew’s job is the fact that Newcastle chairman Mike Ashley was not willing to sack the former West Ham United manager as it would have cost the club a fortune to terminate his contract. In September 2012, Pardew was rewarded with an eight year contract extension, tying him down to the club until 2020. This decision from Ashley came as a major surprise at the time and had greatly frustrated Newcastle fans over the last two years as they realised that it would take an awful lot for Pardew to lose his job.
Newcastle’s winning streak however has significantly lifted the pressure from the manager’s shoulders but throughout his tenure at the club, there have been a number of periods where it has looked like things were going to get better for his side. Hopefully for Pardew the recent run of results will be the beginning of a successful campaign for the ‘toon army’, but there is the feeling that somewhere down the line that Pardew will find himself under pressure once again.
Newcastle’s fans are renowned for being a very demanding group, some may say unrealistic which is true in a way, but as has been said millions of times, considering the size of the club, Newcastle should always be fighting for trophies. The Premier League has never been so competitive though, and Pardew for a number of years has been weighed down by the club and the fans expectations. Pardew would clearly need significant backing to get the club challenging for trophies once again.
There have been a number of occasions when Pardew has been the catalyst behind his own downfall, with the most recognised incident being the head-butt on Hull City midfield David Meyler last season that landed Pardew a three game stadium ban along with a four game touchline ban. This was the last straw for many of the supporters, but Pardew remained in the manager’s hot seat.
From performance reasons alone, Pardew has given fans reasons to be hopeful as he has picked up wins against Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in recent weeks, showing that his Newcastle side can compete against the big guns. The run of wins began last month when Gabriel Obertan’s strike was enough to gift Newcastle their first win of the season. As we have all seen countless times throughout a season, it only takes one positive result to turn things around and this has certainly been the case for Alan Pardew.
Pardew has to be credited with his fearless approach to team selection and over the past weeks he has handed more opportunities to fringe players such as Sammy Ameobi, Paul Dummett, Mehdi Abeid and Ayoze Perez who has scored three goals in last three league games. Many of the Newcastle side were left deflated from the string of terrible results and Pardew saw it fit to freshen up his side, and the introduction of young legs has given the side greater energy in all areas. All the players are looking to take their chance and so far, they are performing above the expectations set before them and have rejuvenated a Newcastle side that were heading towards relegation from England’s top division.
Pardew will be hoping that the side can continue to perform as a busy Christmas period approaches, and three points against QPR after the international break will allow them to keep the momentum going. They are 4/5 with Sky Bet to do so. Newcastle are also 25/1 with the bookmaker to finish in the top six this season.