It seems that the dust has settled somewhat after the news broke that Alan Pardew was to stay on as our manager.
Many faint hopes and dreams of a new top draw manager have been quickly dispelled and the reality of another season under Pardews’ stewardship looms large.
So I thought I would look at his history as a manager to see if there are any signs of life for our forthcoming season. Detailed below (click image to enlarge) is a table containing his managerial history, and as you can see, since late 1999 Pardew has been in charge of five clubs with Reading taking the honours for the longest tenure with him as manager.
It is hard to say if five clubs in thirteen years is a lot or very little. The way clubs hire and fire managers now days, you could almost say he is quite a settled manager. For example, Rafa Benitez has been in charge of six clubs over roughly the same period.
What I really want to look at are the common traits and factors in Pardews’ career to see if there is a pattern that will give an idea as to how we will do going into next season.
While at Reading Pardew had quite a good run, which led him to catch the attention of the West Ham United. Resigning from Reading to force the move to West Ham, it would be the last time Pardew really had a say in when his time at a club was over. Pardew started slowly at West ham and they failed to get promoted due to a play-off final defeat to Crystal Palace.
After struggling early the following season, Pardew finally managed to guide West Ham back to the top flight. Then he took them to a respectable 9th place and a FA cup final which they lost. It was his third season in charge where all the problems began and Pardew was dismissed after the worst run of results in 70 years.
After two solid stints at Reading and West Ham, Pardew struggled to hold down the top jobs at Southampton and Charlton Athletic for any real length of time. At Charlton, Pardew had very little success and it ended with the crowd turning against him after a terrible run of form on the park. Apparently Pardew and the club parted company by mutual consent?
Although he did well at Southampton on the park, it appears that his relationships off the park with the clubs staff and owners were not so good. Pardew was dismissed by the club due to these issues.
Pardew was not out of work for very long and only a few months later he landed the top job at Newcastle United. After taking over from Chris Hughton mid-season he has guided Newcastle to an impressive 5th place finish in his first full year and a disappointing 16th place finish the next.
So where does that leave us for this season?
One thing that stands out to me is that Pardew is susceptible to runs of really poor form from his teams. Reading aside, his teams have really run hot and cold. Until now, the owners of his past clubs have pulled the trigger and removed Pardew when this has happened. So Pardew is sailing into uncharted waters this coming season. At Southampton, he had the team up and about but due to his short tenure, it is really hard to say if he could have maintained that run of form.
The other trend is that he starts strongly at a new club and eventually falls away. For example, Pardew had 16 wins – 7 draws and 15 losses for 55 points in the 05/06 season. Then West Ham only managed 41 points the following season in which he was sacked in December. Apart from the sacking it really does sound kind of familiar doesn’t it!
So really for the first time in his career, Pardew has a chance to turn his team’s fortunes around after a poor run of results. This is not the same as taking over a new team and giving them a fresh shot of enthusiasm, this is about trying to right a bad situation that he has had a hand in creating. However, nowhere in his managerial history does it suggest that given time, he will come good and turn the clubs fortunes around.
To his credit, Pardew has stated that he has learnt a lot from this season and he is looking for extra coaching staff! I think some fresh coaching ideas are critical going forward. Pardew needs another voice to help guide him; his current coaches have served him well but will offer nothing new tactically.
The other issue is the balance of our team. For too long we have simply gotten by with a thread bare squad and we have not strengthened the areas that needed strengthening. If we can sort out our positional weaknesses and add some player quality to our ranks, there is a chance that Pardew may get things right.
To me this is a hard one to get my head around. History shows that over time Pardew has failed to sustain a level of success on the park that fans can accept. But it is all history as we enter a new season and given the right support from Mike Ashley and Derek Lambias, who knows what will happen.
So what do you think, can Pardew turn things around and make next season a successful one?
Aussie Magpie Fan