One manager undoubtedly already under pressure is Alan Pardew of Newcastle.
After the club’s poor finish in the 2012/13 season, in which they narrowly avoided relegation, Pardew knows that he is on his last life.
However, with the farcical appointment of Joe Kinnear as director of football, Pardew’s job security is even more in doubt.
Alan Pardew’s appointment in 2010 was greeted with mass uproar from Newcastle fans. Despite the hostility shown, Pardew managed to develop a young and talented squad at St. James’ Park.
In the 2011/12 season, Newcastle managed a fifth placed finish, beating the likes of Chelsea, Everton and Liverpool. By all accounts, this was an incredible feat. Newcastle fans were won over by Pardew’s clear passion on the touchline, as was seen in the incredible turnaround from 4-0 down against Arsenal to end the match at 4-4 in 2011.
However, Newcastle failed to repeat their fifth placed finish; they narrowly avoided relegation in the season just passed and eventually finished 16th.
Pardew readily acknowledged that the club had failed to build on the developing young squad after their promising league finish in the season before.
Most probably, the club’s numerous January 2013 signings are what kept them alive. It provided them with the depth necessary to cope with the rigours of both the Premier League and rare Europa League involvement. Luckily for Pardew and Newcastle fans, they just scraped through.
Before Kinnear’s appointment, there had been cautious optimism for the coming season. Many felt that Pardew and the club had learnt their lesson, reinforcements had been made and there were more to come. However, the eccentric Mike Ashley decided that it would be a good idea to appoint Joe Kinnear as director of football.
A man who is so sure of his own brilliance that he has the audacity to claim that he has Wenger and Ferguson on the end of the phone and that he is the best director of football in the Premier League.
He is the perfect example of a public relations nightmare. In his first week as director of football, he managed to mispronounce the names of several Newcastle players. He also erroneously claimed that he had been responsible for the signings of James Perch and Tim Krul. Perhaps most shocking was his public spat with Newcastle legend Alan Shearer.
Pardew now has a lot to contend with. Pardew and chief scout Graham Carr now answer to Kinnear. As many commentators put it, Pardew has been effectively reduced to first team coach.
Pardew now has to work with what Kinnear gets him in terms of player transfers. Undoubtedly, if things go wrong on the pitch, Pardew will be the first to be blamed.
Most likely, he will not see the season out; he will either walk out the door himself, or he will be pushed. All the more frightening is that there is a good chance that Kinnear could end up back in the hot-seat at Newcastle.
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