Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew saw his team win three points at the weekend in a game at Hull City, but he's not likely to have taken too much pleasure from the full-time whistle in the knowledge that the headlines would be instead dominated by his own actions.
Pardew saw fit to retaliate to a slight push by Hull's David Meyler by headbutting the midfielder, getting himself sent off in the process.
Soon after the match, Newcastle fined their manager £100,000 and gave him a formal warning about his conduct, but that is far from the end of the matter after the FA announced they had charged him with improper conduct, as per BBC Sport.
Quite simply, Pardew has to have the harshest possible punishments thrown at him by the game's governing body.
His actions were utterly inexcusable, well beyond the scope of any normal reaction to the most minor of provocations from Meyler. Given his position as a club figurehead and a ruler of a squad of players who would (in the usual course of events) take their lead from their manager's attitude and application, the punishment for Pardew must leave no doubts in the minds of anybody that such behaviour has no place in the Premier League.
Pardew was banned for two games for pushing a referee's assistant only last season, and it seems he has not yet learned his place, nor how to keep his over-excessive temper in check—despite his embarrassing attempts to pass off his actions after the game as having "tried to ease him away," as per The Independent.
A player doing the same might have expected rather more harsh punishment; one needs only remember the look Howard Webb gave Raheem Sterling a few short games ago when the winger touched the referee's arm to understand the levels of protection correctly given to officials from those involved in the game.
Ashley Barnes was sent off this season for tripping a referee. Paolo Di Canio, back in his playing days, got a whopping 11-match ban for pushing over referee Paul Alcock. A more fierce shove than the Newcastle boss dealt out, sure, but Pardew's two-game ban for a similar offence should have served as his only warning.
He did not heed it, and the latest bout of insubordination and lack of self control must see a zero-tolerance policy adopted by the FA.
Big win for Newcastle and surely a big touchline ban pending for Pardew. Shown contrition but inexcusable. 4+ games?— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) March 1, 2014
Mark Halsey reckons minimum 8 game ban for Pardew. Having seen it a few times - he's in trouble.— Feint Zebra (@feintzebra) March 1, 2014
Steve Bruce on Pardew headbutt on 5 Live: 'It's not like Alan' Steve, it is 'like Alan'— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceIndy) March 1, 2014
It wouldn't be without precedent, either. Lest we forget, former Fiorentina manager Delio Rossi was banned for three months by the Italian Football League—though Fiorentina also sacked him.
It could have been worse for Pardew, then, but his team is opting to stick by him.
His job is safe for now, but his appearances on the sidelines of matches should not be. Newcastle have 10 matches left this season, and Pardew should not be in place for any of them.