ALAN Pardew admits he still has to earn the respect of Newcastle United’s fans.
But Newcastle United’s manager is hopeful he can build bridges with the club’s supporters between now and the end of the season.
Pardew was appointed in December amid protests from fans unhappy with Chris Hughton’s dismissal.
And the club’s decision to sell leading scorer Andy Carroll – who Pardew had insisted wouldn’t be leaving St James’s Park – on transfer deadline day last month also saw Pardew draw criticism.
However, Pardew’s team, the Stevenage FA Cup defeat aside, has performed well on the field, and ninth-placed Newcastle went into this afternoon’s home game against Bolton Wanderers looking to break into the Premier League’s top eight.
While the foundations for this success were undoubtedly laid by Hughton, Pardew quickly got the players behind him, an achievement in itself given their loyalty to his predecessor.
And the 49-year-old is now looking to “gain some respect” from supporters.
“The only thing I want from this season is to gain some respect from the Newcastle fans,” Pardew saidd. “I don’t expect them to love me, or think that I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread.
“I think I have got something a little bit different as a manager, and I can make the team a success with the brief that I have.”
Pardew – who handed new deals to midfielder Cheik Tiote and No2 John Carver yesterday – is already plotting United’s summer transfer business, which will be funded by the £35m Liverpool spent on Carroll.
However, there’s still work to be done on the pitch, with his side close to clinching their Premier League status for another season.
If that can be done over the next few games, Newcastle could even make a challenge for seventh place, and a return to European football.
Pardew went on: “I think the summer’s very important for us, but we’ve got to get there first. Let’s walk before we can run.”