Stability counts for nothing if the person in charge isn't up to the job. Newcastle United are without an away win this year and find themselves on the brink of a relegation battle. A quick search on Twitter for “#PardewOut” reveals that many people are turning on the manger who brought European football to Tyneside and was named Manager of the Year.
The most important factor in this equation is Mike Ashley. Notoriously sure of himself, it will be a blow to his ego to admit that handing out an eight-year contract to Pardew was a mistake. Ashley himself must be ruing the failure to bring in more players over the summer, which has been exacerbated by a surfeit of injuries that exposed the fragility of the squad.
Nevertheless, the blame always comes back to the manager. Why are Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse playing together in a 4-4-2 that doesn't suit them? Why is Jonas Gutierrez starting every week when Sylvain Marveaux looks to offer more? Why have the tactics consisted of hammering the ball up the pitch in the vain hope that someone gets on the end of it?
All of these questions remain unanswered, and the fixture list for the Toon won't ease the pressure on the manager going into the New Year.
Following Saturday's home defeat to Manchester City, Newcastle are at home to QPR in their next fixture. Those three points are a must, as what follows are two away matches at Manchester United and Arsenal, followed by a home game against Everton.
The Everton game will be the 21st tilt of the year, and the team currently sits on 17 points. They will look for a minimum of five points from those upcoming fixtures in order to stay clear of the relegation scrap.
Any less than that and there will be serious pressure on an already burdened manager. However, even if Pardew was to be sacked, who would replace him? It's all very well wanting someone out, but without a plan to follow it up, it's meaningless.
The following five pages offer examples of managers who could succeed under these very difficult circumstances.