Alan Pardew Deserves Credit for Surviving at Newcastle, If Nothing Else

Nick MillerFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2013

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:   Manager of Newcastle United Alan Pardew looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St James' Park on December 14, 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The judgement of football managers is very often clouded by our opinions on their personality.

Many in the press seemed to take against Andre Villas-Boas fairly swiftly because of his reasonably cold public nature. Likewise, many underrate Harry Redknapp's managerial abilities because of his own particular persona.

Even the greatest of our generation, Sir Alex Ferguson, is frequently only given grudging respect by some because of his own rather brusque character traits. While it is rather jarring to segue from Ferguson to Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager fits into that category as well.

Pardew is regarded by many as something of a buffoon, a man rather too concerned with his own public image and a little too pleased with himself, despite only relatively modest achievements to back this up with.

Perhaps because of this, Pardew is not often praised extensively.

Perhaps it has something to do with his pally relationship with Mike Ashley without which he would never be in this job in the first place—or have the rather excessive contract he was given a couple of years ago.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: The Evening Chronicle front page to Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is handed out before the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Chelsea at St James' Park on November 02, 2013 in Newcas
Getty Images/Getty Images

However, Pardew celebrated three years in charge at Newcastle this month, making him the second-longest serving manager in the Premier League behind Arsene Wenger.

He is the longest-serving Newcastle manager since Sir Bobby Robson left nearly ten years ago, succeeding in keeping his job where Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder, Sam Allardyce, Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer, Joe Kinnear and Chris Hughton failed.

Sure, plenty of this might be because Ashley likes him, but that is not the only reason Pardew still enjoys employment. He finished fifth in his first full campaign in charge, and while he struggled last season, he is now in charge of one of the form teams in the Premier League.

Newcastle currently sit sixth, ahead of Tottenham and Manchester United in the league table, having lost just once in their last seven, and are only five points off the top four.

They have reached that position by beating Chelsea, Tottenham and United already this season, and all of this after a summer transfer window in which only one significant player was recruited.

Of course, it is more than likely that this won't last, and Newcastle will probably revert to the mean and finish somewhere around mid-table, but it is a significant achievement given what else Pardew has to cope with.

The reputation of Newcastle fans as a baying mob who demand success yesterday is overplayed, but they are certainly a crowd who expect things to be done in a certain way.

CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 05:  Newcastle owner Mike Ashley looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Newcastle United at Cardiff City Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

In addition, he has to publicly defend all the slightly 'unusual' things that Ashley does, not least appoint Kinnear as the club's director of football.

One doesn't imagine that Ashley and Kinnear are easy men to work with. Indeed, Pardew appears to have won over many of those skeptical fans who see him as an Ashley stooge.

After a reporter pointed out that Newcastle's fans were heard to sing 'Alan Pardew's black & white army' at their recent game against Southampton, Pardew said, as quoted by the Guardian:

"You might have heard that. But it's not about self-gratification for me, the team's been brilliant.

"We've proved our consistency, that we're a good side. Whether we can be a great side, we'll have to wait and see. We already have one more point than we did at this stage of the season two years ago when we ended up finishing fifth."

Most foretold doom and gloom for Newcastle this season, but Pardew has, thus far, managed to pull off the impressive juggling act of keeping the Newcastle fans and board relatively happy.

It might not last, but any man who stays both in a job and sane after three years at Newcastle United must be praised, whatever you think of his character.