In what could go down as one of the worst possible ways to address the current rift between Newcastle United and the Magpies’ fans, Dennis Wise has accused the club’s supporters of showing prejudice towards manager Alan Pardew and owner Mike Ashley because they are from the south.
The former Wimbledon and Chelsea player is a similarly unpopular figure at the club, following a failed stint as executive director at St James’ Park.
Wise’s reign saw the Toon recruit several high-profile transfer flops including Xisco and Nacho Gonzalez – two signings that prompted then-manager Kevin Keegan to depart the club, which was duly relegated from the Premier League at the end of the season.
As such, he was never likely to be the best man to weigh in on the debate surrounding the club and the future of Pardew, who remains the favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post, despite assurances of support from Ashley.
But comment he did and, oh boy, it was a bad idea.
Speaking in an interview with beIN Sports, the 47-year-old said: “We were the Cockney Mafia. It was like ‘OK no problem’.
“Once you get past Watford Gap there’s a problem.”
He also hit out at the influence of local newspaper the Newcastle Chronicle in stirring up trouble and encouraging fans to call for the sacking of the Toon boss.
“The worst thing about it was that this Pardew thing started from the Newcastle Chronicle. There were 5,000 people and 85% of them want him sacked, so it all built up, then even more and more,” he said.
“There was this thing that looked like Sports Direct (signs) on Pardew. It’s only a group. That starts it all off.”
Pardew remains the favourite at 1/2 to be the next top-flight boss to go, with Harry Redknapp a distant second at 5/2, despite QPR being below the Magpies in the league table.
Newcastle United are next in action at St James’ Park against Leicester City.
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