A statue honouring Alan Pardew? … at St James’s Park!
Why, you might ask, would Newcastle United put up a statue honouring a manager who was roundly criticised by fans, never won a trophy for the Toon, and whose only on-pitch success at the club was a brief flirtation with European football before he was kicked out the door?
Well, because they have already. That’s Sir Bobby Robson we’re talking about. So why not Pardew?
Newcastle fans in 1980s pilloried then-England manager Bobby Robson after he dropped new Magpies signing Kevin Keegan from the national team. They quickly forgave and forgot, however, when he became manager, leading the team into the Champions League, before being sacked in 2004.
Will Newcastle fans in years to come be able to don the rose-tinted spectacles and look fondly upon Mr Pardew United tenure?
If they did, there may well be a case for Pardew getting a statue built outside St James’s Park.
Sometimes you want Obertan to open his legs and do something a bit excitingAlan Pardew
Here’s 13 reasons why history may be kind to Alan Pardew:
1. Success: Alan Pardew is the club’s most successful manager in more than a decade. The most successful, in fact, since Sir Bobby Robson was sacked in 2004 … and Sir Bobby got a statue.
2. Europe: Pardew was the last Newcastle manager to take the team into Europe.
3. Silverware: Few Newcastle managers in the modern era have silverware to show off, but Alan Pardew does. He is the only Newcastle manager in the history of the club to win the League Managers Association’s Manager of the Year award. It means his name is up there with Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.
4. More awards: Pardew also won the Premier League Manager of the Year award in 2012. As voted for by his peers.
5. Passion: The football world is forever crying out for colourful characters. They love players who bleed for the team, but what about managers who fight for the cause? Cloughie famously slapped a fan, Fergie kicked a shoe in Beckham’s face … Pardew trumped them all by headbutting an opponent, Hull City’s David Meyler. Legend!
6. Record win: Beating the auld enemy on their doorstep. Forget Sunderland, Newcastle have bigger fish to fry. Pardew was the first manager to successfully orchestrate an away victory against Manchester United for more than 40 years. Not since 1972 had United beaten the Red Devils on their home soil, until Pardew came along. United winning 1-0 in 2013 thanks to a Yohan Cabaye goal.
7. Moneyspinning: Money makes the Premier League go round and Alan Pardew was at the helm for Newcastle’s biggest-ever transfer deal. Andy Carroll to Liverpool netted a whopping £35million for the club. Good business in the end (even though Pardew didn’t want him to leave - surely his desire to hold onto a local lad is a plus point in the fans’ eyes).
8. Reflected glory: Pardew is performing miracles at Crystal Palace and whenever there’s talk of the next England manager, his name is always in the frame. Should he ever get the national job, and do well (England for the World Cup in 2022, anyone?), fans may once again don the rose-tinted glasses and claim he learned his trade at St James’s Park.
9. Greatest game: There’s a few contenders in the history of Newcastle United, but United’s amazing comeback from 4-0 down to snatch an incredible 4-4 draw against Arsenal must be up there. No other team in Premier League history had ever pulled back four goals … and Alan Pardew pulled the strings that day.
10. Longest deals: In the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ world of modern football, wor Alan earned himself a massive eight-year deal at Newcastle. He was also English football’s second longest serving manager before he left Newcastle. And Pardew wasn’t sacked … he left to join the club closest to his heart, Crystal Palace. Who says romance is dead in the game?
11. Defying the odds: Fans organised marches, poster campaigns and even a Sack Pardew website to try and oust Pardew after a string of poor results. Alan Pardew shut them up with a run of six straight victories that hauled his team from relegation fodder and into the Premier League’s top five. What would Newcastle fans give for that sort of form now?
12. Humour: Every top manager in the game has said things which have made fans smile, and Alan Pardew is no stranger to the quirky quote. When asked about his headbutt he said: “I don’t think it was a headbutt… I tried to push him away with my head!” Or what about this little gem: “Sometimes you want Obertan to open his legs and do something a bit exciting.” You’ve got to laugh.
13. Derby success: Okay, let’s mention Sunderland. United have had a wretched run of derby results in recent seasons and the fans would give anything for a win. Guess who was manager when Newcastle last won a derby? Yep, Alan Pardew … Start chiseling that statue.