Manager options limited for Newcastle should Pardew get sacked

Unfortunately for Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew it appears he is a ‘dead man walking’. The 53-year-old is only a few seasons removed from winning both the Premier League Manager of the Season and LMA Manager of the Year awards after guiding the Magpies to a surprise fifth-place finish in the English top flight.

But Pardew failed to build on the momentum from that campaign and nearly saw his side relegated from the Premier League the very next season.

Although Pardew plays a significant role in the club’s declining fortunes, a large part of the blame falls on club owner Mike Ashley. The English billionaire has sold off a number of Newcastle United’s most prized players over the past few seasons, most notably Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye.

Last season, the loss of Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain hit the team hard. The influential midfielder was sold to the French side during the January transfer window.

To that point in the season, Newcastle had been performing well enough and the France international was the key component in Alan Pardew’s side, scoring timely goals and pulling the strings for his teammates from the center of the pitch. His departure ripped the heart out of Newcastle United and doomed the club to a bottom half finish.

Cabaye wanted to leave the club to join PSG. But the same deal that was made in January for the midfielder, could have been made at the end of the season. By selling Cabaye when he did, Ashley damaged the already tenuous standing the team had.

Newcastle failed to adequately replace Cabaye and Pardew appeared to lose the respect (or control) of the remaining members of the team. The Magpies began turning in dismal performance after dismal performance to close out the 2013-14 season.

That trend has carried over to the 2014-15 BPL campaign.

After starting the year with a respectable effort against defending Premier League champions Manchester City, Pardew’s men drew their next two league fixtures (Aston Villa and Crystal Palace) before putting in a lifeless effort this past weekend at Southampton; a match which saw the club get smashed, 4-0.

Newcastle players were despondent – or completely disinterested in competing – from the opening kick-off. Their performance and Pardew’s lack of man-management lead to the traveling supporters chanting for the manager’s removal from the Tyneside club.

The former West Ham United manager was the target of repeated taunts from Newcastle supporters who had traveled to St Mary’s Stadium. Banners displaying the words, ‘Pardew Out’ and ‘Pardew is a muppet’ were held up throughout the match.

The movement to have Pardew sacked has been building in recent months. But the reports have really picked up steam since the start of the 2014-15 campaign.

British tabloids have already lined up a number of names as possible replacements for the 53-year-old manager: Hull City’s Steve Bruce, former Manchester United manager David Moyes, ex-Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis and former West Brom manager Steve Clarke – to name a few – have all been linked with the job in recent days.

Some reports have even speculated that Newcastle’s owner would consider hiring team captain Fabricio Coloccini as Pardew’s replacement.

But which one of those potential candidates would be able to reverse the fortune of a squad of players who appear to be so far gone? And which one of those managers would tolerate working alongside an owner who doesn’t hesitate to sell the club’s most-prized assets?

Should Pardew get the sack (which seems inevitable), there is no doubt that the club will find a replacement. But the quality of that new hire should come into question. Because any manager with aspirations of building a competitive side would not want to work for an owner such as Mike Ashley.

Ashley has shown who calls the shots at the club. Whether it be player transfers or managerial hirings and firings. The Newcastle owner has stated that he alone will decide Pardew’s future.

Ashley himself has been the target of club supporters since the day he arrived in the North East of England. At first it appeared that the billionaire was trying to win over fan support. But the owner has since distanced himself from the public, while making limited appearances on match day.

If Ashley decides to sack Alan Pardew, he may win some favor with club supporters for a short period of time. But in the long run, fans will see that managerial options are limited for Newcastle United with Mike Ashley in charge.

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