“It is my aim to build upon the work done by Hughton and take this club forward. I am not a Geordie, I’m a football person with a love of the game and I can assure you I bring great drive, desire and commitment to the job.” said Pardew in his first press conference as boss.” 15 months later after that appointment and it cannot be argued that Pardew has done exactly what he had promised on that day he was appointed. The Cockney manager started life at St James Park with a sublime 3-1 victory over Liverpool with the now Liverpool striker Andy Carroll scoring a fine strike to give Pardew the perfect start.
Pardew continued his fantastic start as boss with an impressive 5-0 win over his former club West Ham at St James Park leaving the Geordie faithful without remorse for the sacking of Chris Hughton. Fans at the club were outraged after the news of Hughtons sacking on the 6th December 2010, after he had masterminded the club back to the Premier League after their darkest close season after their relegation from the Premier League in 2009 which included an embarrassing 6-1 defeat to League One Leyton Orient.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for the 50 year old. Pardew did suffer one of the clubs most embarrassing results of its history as they lost 3-1 in the 3rd round of the FA Cup to League Two Stevenage. Pardew was adamant that star striker Andy Carroll wouldn’t be leaving the club, however, on the 31st January; Carroll was flown via Mike Ashley’s helicopter to Anfield as the club accepted a British transfer record bid of £35 Million pounds from Liverpool. It left Pardew no time to bring in a striker and although the club survived finishing in a respectable 12th place, Pardew was again adamant that the £35 Million pounds would be reinvested into the squad.
Pardew again had to deal with several questions from the media and fans as the club again delayed spending money in the summer before they snapped up West Ham striker Demba Ba on a free alongside Frenchman Yohan Cabaye and Sylvain Marveaux. This season has been one that Newcastle fans couldn’t have even dreamt of. Newcastle started the season eleven games unbeaten in all competitions. Many had expected Newcastle to drop away as the season went on however impressive victories over Manchester United, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Everton means the Toon are currently sitting sixth in the Premier League on level points with fifth placed Chelsea, while a massive 11 points clear of Liverpool in eighth with just seven games remaining this season
Although hopes of Champions League football next season at St James Park seems unlikely, a place in next season’s Europa League competition could be on the cards, something Pardew or them 40,000 Geordies taking part in the Sky Sports News vote on the 6th December 2010 could never have dreamt of. Pardew has been shrewd in the transfer market since taking charge and the signing of Cabaye, Ba and Pape Cisse have shown that Pardew is confident in his ability to find raw talent and nurture it into pure Premier League quality. One signing that has really started to impress in recent weeks is Hatem Ben Arfa who when given a free role in midfield by Pardew has impressed in terrorising the opposition.
This summer will be a test not just for Pardew but also the Toon board. Should Newcastle keep hold of the likes of Chiek Tiote, Demba Ba and Fabricio Coloccini and add some further quality then Newcastle can consolidate their top six finish this season and push on for Champions League football next season.