Blog: Ashley hands Pardew 66 month Newcastle contract

Mike Ashley once again shocked the footballing world this week, replacing manager Chris Hughton with the comparatively unpopular Alan Pardew. Yet it is the length of the contract, a colossal five-and-a-half-year deal, more so than the choice of successor that shocks Greg Simkins.

Amidst the tumult on Tyneside, it is easy to forget that Pardew is a talented manager. Prior to sullying his name through his failure to prevent Charlton’s relegation, Pardew took newly-promoted West Ham to the FA Cup final; a trophy that they would have won, had it not been for a stoppage time thunderbolt from Steven Gerrard. Clearly, Pardew has pedigree. Nevertheless, Mike Ashley’s decision to hand him a 66 month deal is little short of incomprehensible – given the Newcastle owner’s reticence to offer the outgoing Hughton anything other than a rolling deal.

Just three other Premier League managers have been at their club for such a lengthy period: Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and David Moyes. For Ashley, the man who has overseen six managers in three years, to believe that Pardew’s sojourn at Newcastle will buck the Tyneside trend of interchangeable managers appears little more than wishful thinking. Messrs’ Ferguson, Wenger and Moyes have benefited from patient and understanding chairmen, two traits that Ashley has not previously shown to possess in abundance.

Pardew himself is more optimistic at the prospect of extended stay at the Newcastle helm: “I wanted to be tough on the length of contract and give myself as much stability at a club that hasn’t had much stability with managers.” Lengthy contract aside, Pardew will know that that the only way to ensure he lasts the full term is to deliver results on a regular basis. The 3-1 defeat of Liverpool will go some way to placating the Geordie faithful who rallied against his appointment, but Pardew must ensure that this calibre of result is more than a mere anomaly if he is to have any sort of job security. “Irrespective of the length of contract,” said recently dismissed Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce, “we’re employed to get results and that’s the first major thing to achieve.” With Ashley at the helm, five and a half years could be little more than a pipe dream if Pardew does not deliver success; it could even, as Hughton discovered just one week ago, be a pipe dream if he does.

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