Crystal Palace manager, Alan Pardew will return to Newcastle tomorrow for the first time since leaving the north east giants at the end of 2014. Since Pardew switched to the capital, Newcastle have headed on a downward spiral towards the second tier.
Let's think back to December 2010, Alan Pardew replaces Chris Hughton as manager. It's fair to say Pardew's appointment didn't call for a party on Tyneside, but Newcastle fans came to the conclusion that perhaps Pardew wasn't the worst man for the job, with the likes of Joe Kinnear & Dave Bassett being mentioned as potential candidates.
The rest of the 2010/11 campaign wasn't magnificent for the Magpies, the highlight being a 4-4 draw with Arsenal and a 5-0 victory over West Ham. Pardew did keep Newcastle in the Premier League quite comfortably, nevertheless, nobody would have envisaged what happened the following season.
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Summer 2011, Newcastle spent just over £12 million on seven new additions, five of whom had no Premier League experience. Was another mid-table finish on the cards for Alan Pardew's side?
Step forward Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse. Between the pair, they scored 29 goals - more than the entire Aston Villa squad have scored this season. Ba and Cisse fired United into a Europa League spot for the first time since Sir Bobby Robson was in charge. Alan Pardew was, at this point, regarded as one of the best English managers and had even been touted as a potential boss of the national team in the future
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After this, it all turned sour, for the following season the club failed to re-invest, were knocked out of the FA Cup by Brighton, lost 3-0 to Sunderland and narrowly avoided relegation. You would think Pardew would be sacked after going from fifth to 16th in under a year, however this first mistake was just one of many errors which has put Newcastle in the position they are in today.
The following season saw a minor improvement. The first half of the term was magnificent as they sat sixth on Christmas day but it just went downhill from there. A headbutt on David Meyler did Pardew no favours and any fans previously on the fence were now firmly against him, but yet again, the board stuck by him.
Before he waved goodbye to Mike Ashley the ex-Charlton boss had the club sitting comfortably in mid-table and barring a few protests from fans and an argument with his own player, it looked like Pardew's time had turned a corner. But ultimately the damage had already been done and he eventually moved to Palace.
The first two years of Alan Pardew's was promising, but after that, his side looked like a Sunday league team.
His substitutions didn't make sense, he lost the fans, he lost the players but most importantly he lost the matches, and ultimately that was his downfall.
If the club were braver and sacked him three years ago there's good chance Newcastle wouldn't be in the current situation they are in now.