Was Alan Pardew Simply Shackled By Mike Ashley?

Alan Pardew’s record at Newcastle statistically was not very good, and he managed 185 games on Tyneside, won 71, drew 41 and lost 73, for a win percentage of 38.38 and a loss percentage of 39.5.

alan pardew somber

Alan Pardew – when Newcastle manager

Of the six clubs Alan Pardew has managed in his career since he started as the caretaker manager art Reading back in 1999, that’s the second worst win record, with the only worse one being a 31.1% win record at Charlton.

Alan lost more games than he won at Newcastle.

But Pardew  made an excellent start to his career on Tyneside,  and in the first 18 months he had Newcastle flying high in 5th place and back in Europe, after we  got 65 points in the league and finished above both Chelsea and Liverpool.

Alan won the Premier League Manager of the Season and the LMA Manager of the Season in May, 2012, and that’s the only time a Newcastle manager has won either award.

But that was the zenith for Alan at Newcastle, and most of it was downhill from there.

Mike Ashley didn’t bother increasing either the size of the squad or the quality of the squad in the summer of 2012, and we brought in only Vurnon Anita, since things were flying high and no need to spend money.

Something that Mike Ashley seems to do all the time – if there is no real need to strengthen the squad, why spend money?

The squad just wasn’t big enough the next season to handle European competition, and we suffered because of that – and we suffered big time.

And although we reached the quarter finals of the Europa League competition, until we went out to Benfica we struggled in the Premier League with relegation.

This was one of the few times in the last four years that Mike Ashley got involved personally in transfers, and we brought in five Frenchmen in the January, 2013 transfer window – and we managed to finish in 16th position and avoid relegation.

It’s a pity Mike Ashley didn’t have the foresight (ambition?) to bring those five players in during the previous summer. 🙁

We did a lot better at the start of the next season, which was last season –  and we were 6th top at Christmas and seemed to have a very good side.

But for the third time in four years Ashley sold our best player in the January transfer window just over a year ago, and Yohan Cabaye was sold to PSG for big money.

That impacted the side in two ways.

One was it took our best player away, and he wasn’t replaced.

Newcastle and Alan Pardew simply had to get by through the end of the season, after we had  33 points by Boxing Day (after 18 games) – so little chance of being relegated – which is the only thing that motivates the owner.

It also seemed to  have the effect of demoralizing the squad, and we went downhill fast and lost six of our last seven games, including six games in a row in the Premier League for the first time ever.

And we know what has happened this season after we had a terrible start, and then won six games in a row and ended Chelsea’s 23 match winning streak in a famous win at St. James’ Park.

Alan left the club after the win at home to Everton on December 28th, and he seemed to leave just as fast as he could to join Crystal Palace.

We have to believe he had been told no players would be coming in last month.

While Alan was not liked much by Newcastle fans, there’s little doubt his star rose while he was at Newcastle.

Most pundits outside Newcastle believe he did a decent job at the club, given the many constraints placed on him by the owner.

We think Alan is a better manager than most people believe, because otherwise we couldn’t have had so many great victories against clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham, and even Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season – with what was basically a weak side we fielded.

The thing that puzzled us – was why we had such terrible runs of results under Alan Pardew.

An example was the second half of the 2012-2013 season, and the second half of last season, when at one time we couldn’t buy a win.

So while we think he’s a competent manager whose better thought of now than when he joined Newcastle over four years ago, he’s obviously not near the top echelon.

However, what worries us now is that with most pundits thinking it was Ashley who had less ambition than Alan Pardew, and simply didn’t support him in the transfer window – what message does that send to top coaches who may want the Newcastle job?

We just cannot see a top coach wanting to join the club in the summer, because of the way Ashley handcuffs the coach and makes it so difficult to be successful.

Maybe our best bet is somebody like Steve McClaren or even John Carver, if he does well for the rest of the season.

How do you think Alan Pardew will be remembered at Newcastle in the years ahead?

And who do you think we can bring in over the summer as the new head coach?

Comments welcome.

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46 comments so far

  • Jeff from Benwell

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:26 PM

    Comment #1

    I think Alan Pardew’s shackling came from himself
    He was s..t scared of losing the best gig he was ever going to get (or so he thought)

  • Harley

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:30 PM

    Comment #2

    Great article Ed.

    I truly believe Pardew is a far better manager than most on here give him credit for. I know he has some horrible records but he was up against it at every turn at Newcastle.

    The board sold his best players and wouldn’t replace them and the fans crucified him.

    I’m of the belief that if Ashley had backed him the results woildve been better and the fans would’ve got behind him more.

    We’ll never know. Just my opinion.

  • stan anderson

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:33 PM

    Comment #3

    As along time fan i feel we are going nowhere with Ashley
    but Pardew was never the answer.He is not a winner.

  • HarriboNo9

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:36 PM

    Comment #4

    Amazing article and thanks for doing it for me Ed!
    Alan pardew wasn’t a BAD manager he did the best he could with the owners he had behind him. No one can say he didn’t try 100% at all times for us! No manager in the next 10 years will get us in the top 5 (nearly top 4) or will get is to the quarter finals of any cup tournament like he did for us in Europe, if Ashley stays as owner. Even although I liked Pardew I have always said that we should have a better manager at the club because we are Newcastle United and should have the best of the best but with Ashley it’s not that way and Pardew did the best he could.
    Most pundits say he did well, why would they all say that if he didn’t. I also remember a certain Jose mourning I saying he was an “amazing coach” and who can argue with that ?

  • Tsunki

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:38 PM

    Comment #5

    I think it’s probably best not to delve into mike and Alans private lives. Obviously they are no longer an item and the rented vinyl suit has had to go back to the shop. Let’s just leave it at that and talk about footy.

  • jayphoto

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:39 PM

    Comment #6

    Pardew is an above average british manager if he is allowed to pick his own players. Given the right players i think he could consistently have a team in the top 10. Id rate him as better than redknapp tbh.
    Think is his teams are dire to watch!
    Fully believe if you gave him a 6:5 striker, 2 defensive midfielders that cover 12 miles a game and too fast out and out wingers he’d be relatively successful.
    Well out of his depth with flair players tho

  • HarriboNo9

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:39 PM

    Comment #7

    HARLEY –
    As you can see from my post I agree with you and I loved your post

  • Blofal

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:42 PM

    Comment #8

    I agree that I think Pardew was too scared to lose. I think the pressure of the job and the restrictions placed on him by Ashley caused him to play defensively and not take risks.

    Too many times he fielded and set up teams not to lose. He stuck with older more trusted players that were out of form and even played them out of position rather than giving unknown players a decent go (or playing flair players that would take a risk and possibly lose the ball)… and it was all out of fear of losing. 50000 Geordies screaming hatred at you can do that.

    Maybe he could be a good manager if the shackles were off… but he was the wrong manager for a high pressure club like NUFC.

  • Jeff from Benwell

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:44 PM

    Comment #9

    Talk about falling in the Tyne and coming up with a salmon in yer gob.
    He must have thought all his birthdays had come together when the CP job offered itself.

  • Tsunki

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:45 PM

    Comment #10

    No. Alan Pardew was the assistant shackler at nufc. He came here with a Yes man remit and rode the games like a shop dummy tied to a sledge. He couldn’t take the pressure any more and then magically Prince Charming summoned him from the Palace for more money, in a typical stroke of pardewish jammyness. And so he left like a rat from a sinking ship. No. He was not good. At all.

  • toon22

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:47 PM

    Comment #11

    Record worst at almost anything while here tells its own tale.

    Cant blame anyone else on this one.

  • jayphoto

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:48 PM

    Comment #12

    Still believe the right manager could have us top 6-8!
    If you get our players playing to their top form we’ve got a strong starting 11 one centrehalf aside.
    Problem is we’ve not seen top form from colo, Tiote etc for a long time.
    In Janmaat, Cabella, Perez, Sissoko, dejong, haidara, Abeid and maybe Aarone weve got great ability to build a team around. add into the mix Colback and Anita who are very tidy and work tirelessly and Cisse who is a great instinct poacher and theres a lot for a good manager to work with. We also have unpredictable tiote, ameobi and obertan that can be awful but can also be excellent.
    We suit 4-3-3 and fast attacking football.
    2 centre halves with leadership skills and a dominant striker and we’re a top side

  • RonVanDam

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:49 PM

    Comment #13

    I would say, Pardue was a below average manager when he came in and by being in charge of the club in the last 4 years, he has become a better manager due to the fan pressure and limitations he had at NUFC. I dont think CP will get relegated as long as he is in charge

  • Tsunki

    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:59 PM

    Comment #14

    Toon 22 has the argument ender right there. His record. Even if he was not given his dream team, he could have dug in and made us hard to beat. But no, we’ve had some severe beatings and a derby record to be thoroughly ashamed of. Whatever you say about him now he’s gone. Try not wearing the jam jars of time and look at that win percentage. That’s the whole thing right there.

  • Tsunki

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:03 AM

    Comment #15

    Harley – but didn’t he start his sorry run against the mackems on the back of a decent run with us high in the table, with a pretty decent team, while they were rooted to the bottom with the poorest mob ever seen in this league and who couldn’t buy a win until they played us? I think Alans shackling was not of anyone else’s making there.

  • Tsunki

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:12 AM

    Comment #16

    So according to the shields gazette, carver reckons Santon was NOT forced out of nufc.

    He WAS Told he was behind Haidara, Dummett and Raylor.

    But he was not forced out just to be clear.

  • Tsunki

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:17 AM

    Comment #17

    And if jack colback really wants to retire at nufc, what’s stopping him? 🙂

  • remember69

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:19 AM

    Comment #18

    We’re kidding, right? You don’t get voted manager of the year by your peers (including Sir Alex) by being a bad manager. AP’s record at Palace is proving he is not a bad manager. It HAS to be a lot easier managing when you have unlimited funds.
    Will Frank De Boer do any better with such restrictions?

  • Lindisfarne

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:19 AM

    Comment #19

    Just as much as having success with players like Carroll, Ba and Cabaye, Pardew also had bad spells with the same players. So generally the performance of the team was down to injuries, training and tactics, all of which are related to the manager. If the recruitment is good and the wages are correct, then a target of tenth should be achievable and finishing higher or lower is down to the coach, due to the previous reasons. Limitations only exist where the subject percieves them to exist, otherwise the terms of the agreement where equally shared and understood.

    Pardew finished 5th and 10th and was rewarded. He also finished 16th under the same conditions and is equally judged as a failure.

  • jayphoto

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:22 AM

    Comment #20

    Dunno what to make of the santon transfer! Id take Haidara and Dummett ahead of him at left back! His defensive positioning was terrible! Thought he’d make a decent right midfielder! Good engine, good attitude etc but it makes no sense to keep him as left back is possibly the only position we have numbers in with dummett ( tho i think carver sees him as a CB) haidara snd both R taylor , guitierrez and anita for ajax have played there with reasonable success.
    Just a shame the club showed a lad who seemed passionate about the club and city such disrespect

  • Tsunki

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:28 AM

    Comment #21

    Remember69, no not kidding. Let’s look at that manage of the year thing. Did you know there isn’t a lousy manager of the year award? I think his peers would be justified in giving Alan that too if it existed, for his 30 -something percent win rate. And there have been some classic dings that have won manager of the month.

  • Markaccus

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:29 AM

    Comment #22

    Yes. He was shackled.
    He also did himself no favours. He was too negative and defensive with the available players. I agree that he isnt as useless as some say, and is not to blame for all the things that went wrong, but he WAS NOT the right man to take us anywhere. Unfortunately, while Mash is still here, we may never get the right man.

  • Markaccus

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:32 AM

    Comment #23

    Has welshie been on tonight? I just popped on to have a little gloat about England Rugby team slaying his dragons tonight 😀

  • rickyP

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:32 AM

    Comment #24

    One thing I say is fair… Ashley has got us in a sound position financially. Which I’d hope at some point it would be a great future purchase for a new owner.

    But, I’ve just had a worrying thought…. example is 2 clubs (same club but different financial standings) – same following, stadium, infustructure etc

    Club A
    £0 debt
    £70m income

    value £200 (arbitrary)

    Club B
    £100m debt
    £70m income
    Cost of debt £x ?

    Arguably, to a “billionaire” as there is little diffence in the club – only interest on debt (which would be cleared on purhase). The only difference is I think it option B opens it up to a consortium who would raise money (debt) against the club.

    Not sure whats best? – billionaire who appears to only want to survive, or a consortium with little financial clout.

    Apologies for long (drunk) 1st post.


  • Tsunki

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:33 AM

    Comment #25

    Oh and remember 69 – SAF Personally, personally mind you, recommended to his new fellow board members at Manure to hire Moyes. So I don’t take his vote on a lousy back slapping palaver as the zenith of his judgemental powers.

  • rickyP

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:35 AM

    Comment #26

    sorry I meant option A is open to a consortium takeover.

  • Harley

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:42 AM

    Comment #27


    Like I say I know he’s got some bad records and that’s a fact. The Sunderland results especially.
    But he also had some great results too.

    I’m not saying he was great, only a lot better than most give him credit for.


    We must have posted them at the same time. Great minds:))

  • lesh

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:45 AM

    Comment #28

    stan anderson

    You could have a manager from any, but any top team in the world and as long as Ashley wss undermining him, as he did Pardew, we’d still struggle.

    To be successful, a club’s got to have everybody pulling in the same direction, singing from the same song-sheet but with Ashley’s aim being to do nowt more than avoid relegation, we’ll always struggle.

    Pardew may not be the best in the world but Ashley certainly didn’t help in do his job.

    A man’s got a snapping point and with Pardew, I’m surprised he stuck around so long.

    Ashley’s the problem and Ed’s right, a good manager wouldn’t come anywhere near the Club. If he slung his hook and we got an owner who wanted to exploit all of the energy in and around Newcastle United, we’d really go places.

  • lesh

    Feb 7, 2015 at 12:51 AM

    Comment #29


    Since you’re questioning the Ashley-Pardew relationship, can we assume you’ve dumped your gimp mask too?


  • Sav

    Feb 7, 2015 at 1:37 AM

    Comment #30

    Re:Santon, what’s wrong with a bit of honesty. Coming back from injury he was behind Janmaat, Dummet and Haidara. Now he’s on loan at Inter to further his career.

    Re: Pards, Its not just Cabaye, but we lost Ba, Debuchy and Remy, too. All senior players moving on to better themselves. Always its one step forward and two back. This strategy by the club hierarchy communicates itself to the squad. Notwithstanding that Janmaat is proving an able replacement RB and Perez is an uncovered gem, It is a poisonous attitude which pervades any positivity the manager is able to bring to bear.
    Even now, there are stories that Tiote, Sissoko and Colo could all be waiting an opportunity to jump ship and win trophies if NUFC isn’t interested. No manager can conceal that from his own players. That is why the repeated losing streaks IMO.

  • Sav

    Feb 7, 2015 at 1:48 AM

    Comment #31

    A problem any manager/Coach has under Ashley is that he is seen to be guilty by association. One of the reasons I think some would like Frank de Boer is because he is perceived to be an arrogant little so-and-so and we wish he would maybe give Ashley and Charnley hell. No he wouldn’t and we know it. Candidates know what they are getting into at SJP and the likes of F de Boer won’t be applying. And unfortunately, anyone who does, like poor John Carver, immediately stands accused of being a ‘yes man’ and a lackey for a discredited regime. Its Catch 22.

  • Mag52

    Feb 7, 2015 at 3:43 AM

    Comment #32

    AP (IMO) will probably be regarded in years to come very much as he is regarded today.
    Some despise him (for their own reasons) and others (along with most of the media, pundits,ex players etc.) feel that in the circumstances under which he was operating, he did a reasonable job for the club.

  • toonicle

    Feb 7, 2015 at 4:16 AM

    Comment #33

    It’s certainly a good argument, he seems much more adventurous so far at Palace

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Feb 7, 2015 at 6:11 AM

    Comment #34

    You don’t get voted manager of the year if you are a bad manager?

    Kinnear, Frank Clark, Danny Wilson, Peter Reid, George Burley, Steve Coppell. None of those are good managers, all have won the annual award as voted for by their peers.

  • cyprus

    Feb 7, 2015 at 6:16 AM

    Comment #35

    I don’t despise AP. He was just way over his head. Poor poor management, no tactics, players out of position, no room for flair yet it’s what got him some results, fear of opposition, crap set plays, ‘educating the fans’ (and himself) to be mediocre… all with a team packed with internationals.

    Good luck at Palace though.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Feb 7, 2015 at 6:16 AM

    Comment #36

    It is like saying Michael Ricketts was a good goalscorer in the Prem 1 season, so he must be a good Prem centre forward, totally ignoring he only managed to pass double figures once fore in the remaining 9 years of his career (at league 1 Walsall).

    Who cares now anyway? He has gone, good riddance, we have picked up more points in Carver’s first 4 league matches then we did in Pardew’s last 4.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Feb 7, 2015 at 6:17 AM

    Comment #37

    Also scored more and conceded less in Carver’s first 4 compared with Pardew’s last 4.

  • sing in the corner

    Feb 7, 2015 at 6:28 AM

    Comment #38

    Just as the subject of Pardew was disappearing..well resurrected Ed!
    Pardew played the Ashley regime as well as anyone will in my opinion. I think he read the behind-the-scenes situation well over his tenure. Time will tell how things pan out for our next ‘head coach’ under Ashley’, and also for Pardew at Palace. He’s made a decent start there, that no one can deny. And he’s been allowed to buy a shed load of players he wanted already. I think theres absolutely no doubt he’ll keep them up. Now, he makes mistakes – show me a manager who doesn’t? Like signing Shola… He’s dropped one there.

  • cyprus

    Feb 7, 2015 at 6:50 AM

    Comment #39

    I won’t be surprised if at Palace he goes on one of his famous runs – losing runs. There’re only 6 points from the bottom team. He will be round about the bottom at the end.

    So could we, but there is too much of a gap to be concerned. I’m excited to see what a real coach can do with these talented players.

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Feb 7, 2015 at 7:49 AM

    Comment #40

    AP was below average at Newcastle, his record documents that! If that wad because his hands were forced and he didn’t have much of a say in the transfers, then look at his previous record!

    I is probably a above average Championship manager (and below average PL manager).

    If you take away the season he finished 5th at Newcastle (which I’d the season the sticks out) then his win percentage was 31%!


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