Alan Pardew’s future as manager of Newcastle United was under scrutiny the moment last season finished.
The club had posted their second-lowest points tally in 19 top-flight seasons, and relegation was avoided with just one game to spare. The axe, according to some, was being sharpened.
All summer long, the media honed in on the 52-year-old’s so-called precarious position at St. James’ Park, with Matt Law of the Mirror one of many questioning Pardew’s job security.
Four games in to the new campaign, the backdrop has changed. The Magpies now sit comfortably in the top half of the Premier League table.
With the mood on Tyneside improving over the last few weeks, we look at five factors that could keep Pardew in the United hot seat for the rest of this year and beyond.