Newcastle have fallen way short in their bid to repeat last season’s odds-defying exploits. Now, it’s very possible that head honchos at St James’ Park are starting to regret their rash move of tying Alan Pardew down to a contract that even Sir Alex Ferguson would have trouble getting his hands on.
The deal in question – which still has a mammoth seven-and-a-half years left to run – is probably what is keeping the Magpies boss off the sack race pace. He currently stands as a 20/1 shot to be the next Premier League manager relieved of his duties after three league defeats on the spin have left them loitering just four points outside the drop-zone.
The eternally unpopular hierarchy at Newcastle and their cavalier approach to running a football club has left them in a position where, if they were to axe Pardew, they would have to stop by his house with a few lorries of compensation cash first and this is something they would obviously be loath to do.
Such is the unpredictability of what goes on behind the scenes at the Toon it’s impossible to rule out a sacking tomorrow but, based on his phenomenal top-flight achievement last term, he deserves the time to turn things around in the least; something even Mike Ashley is certain of.
However, should the situation fail to improve and pressure from the terraces grow, he may be left with little choice but to pay Pardew the king’s ransom he’s contractually entitled to and show him the exit door.
A failure to make any significant investment in the squad over the summer is a key reason behind their shortcomings this time around.
This is another fault of the Newcastle board, with the club failing in bids to acquire numerous targets, namely current Borussia Monchengladbach striker Luuk de Jong, due to their refusal to stump up the cash for transfer fees.
Another big reason behind their unflattering campaign to date is the lack of goals in the squad. Papiss Cisse surprised everyone with how well he adapted to life in England following his January switch to Tyneside but, with just the solitary Premier League strike to his name this time around, it appears he’s fallen foul of second season syndrome and the team are suffering for it.
Pardew needs him to find his shooting boots quickly if he is to steer the Toon clear of the mire they’re slipping towards, lest he find himself sampling the silver lining of a bumper severance pay package.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date