The fall and rise of Alan Pardew
Like 99.9% of all Charlton fans I was as pleased as punch when the club announced late on Christmas Eve in 2006 that Alan Pardew was joining to become our new manager and thus putting us out of the Les Reed misery. Reed’s short spell in charge was a disaster and in my mind Pardew had done good things at Reading and was unfortunate to lose a political game at Upton Park a fortnight previous, and the Hammers loss was our gain.
Pardew was welcomed with open arms and he then proceeded to take us a rollercoaster of emotion. Who can forget the West Ham game or the comeback at Watford and of course the poignant final home game against Tottenham before we finally succumbed to relegation after losing just 7 of Pardew’s 19 games in charge.
We all blamed Dowie, and we proudly dusted ourselves down and looked forward to watching a Championship promotion party a year later. Pardew instilled belief and pride in those first six months and we all bought in to it.
But then it all went wrong and somehow he then proceeded to completely dismantle the club’s soul and helped by a weak board Pardew’s ego became out of control as were allegedly some of his off-field antics.
Despite being hero worshipped at The Valley in that first year, it became obvious he thought Charlton was below him, an interesting jactitation, as his man management skills started to resemble David Brent. Like a small scab, Pardew picked at it and picked at it trying to make it better but only making things a whole lot worse until fan power forced him out, his grubby little hands clasping a cheque made out for £1.5m as he drove his Bentley out of the Valley gates.
Southampton were next for Pardew, brought in by the late Markus Liebherr. After Liebherr died Pardew relationship with his new boss, the outspoken Nicola Cortese, was always on a crash course and sure enough within a few months he was gone but not after he had signed almost a new team. Pardew left St Mary’s with another big cheque in his hand.
In December last year, one of his mates and the head of the unofficial Cockney Mafia, Mike Ashley surprised and further dismayed Geordies by giving Pardew a five and half year contract, but not before he was castigated for some unwise words on BBC’s MOTD2.
Today West Ham, Charlton, Southampton and Newcastle all sit in the top three of their respective divisions with some media types talking about Pardew as a possible next England manager.
Pardew’s Newcastle are expected to lose their first game of the season tomorrow, but is Pardew any good? These are some questions I’ve been asking myself recently:
What would West Ham’s fans do for a Premier League club again? Would Pardew have got Charlton relegated like his replacement did winning just 2 of the 21 games after Pardew was sacked. How many Southampton players that were signed by Pardew are now showcasing their talents at the top of the Championship under Nigel Adkins and how the flying fcuk is that smug git now managing a Premier League team sat 3rd in the table and still unbeaten?
Pardew is an extremely self confident individual who came to the glamour of professional football late but to me represents everything that is wrong with English football’s new money. I often hear that because of his non-league background he brings old fashioned principles to clubs, well I’m not so sure Richard Murray would agree.
What Pardew does bring is a circus but there are few bigger and sillier circuses than at St James Park, sorry Sports Direct Arena. Maybe this has helped him up in the north-east and he was so unwanted when he first showed up that he had to show some humility, which I don’t think comes easy.
What has always come easy however is his ability to say the right things to get supporters on side. Dowie may have had his PowerPoint presentation but Pardew has a well honed collection of patter.
Pardew is talented as a coach no doubt and many people in the game hold him in high regard, Chris Powell is one but what is pretty apparent is that he needs to be ruled with an iron fist and his ego and access to the purse strings need to be kept well in check. I am not convinced that Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias are the men to do that but the Geordies lack of cash has at least halted Pardew’s mostly unnecessary raids into the transfer market.
Pardew at times reminded me of one of those determined shoppers barging into Harrods swing doors on New Year’s Day waving (someone else’s) cheque book! Pardew though wasn’t always shopping in Harrods, at least when he was with us!
Whether Pardew is obsequious enough to have learnt from his mistakes, we will have to wait and see but one thing is for certain though, trouble is never far away and he won’t help but fall over himself at some point and there will be plenty of obstacles in his way at Newcastle United.