Is Pardew living on borrowed time at Newcastle?

Posted by Marc Duffy

Serena Taylor/Newcastle United/Getty ImagesAlan Pardew's Newcastle will get a week's worth of rest before their next fixture versus Aston Villa.

Times are tough for Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. His team's form is abysmal, again, and the more games that roll by, the more supporters he loses.

After their 4-0 thrashing at home to Tottenham on Wednesday night, Pardew has ten days to take stock of the situation and fix it -- a home defeat to Aston Villa in Newcastle's next fixture could prove to be the end of a reign in which the only consistency has been the inconsistency of his side.

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First, he should perhaps consider that his constant references to owner Mike Ashley are something that infuriates many of the club's loyal fans.

After Newcastle beat Chelsea at St James' Park back in November, Pardew proudly stated "This win is for Mike Ashley". He said that knowing full well what the supporters would make of it. Before the Tottenham game (his 150th in charge of NUFC) he said, "I've had days when the owner and fans could easily have made things even more difficult than they have" -- thanking the owner for his patience.

Pardew might believe that his relationship with Ashley is more vital than what the fans think of him, but he's wrong. If he loses all support (and he is in danger of doing so) then his position will be untenable.

He lost a lot of support on the back of his side's terrible 2012-13 season and the tiresome array of excuses he constantly trotted out. But still a large number of supporters sat on the proverbial fence, uncertain as to what they really thought of the man who was picking their team. After a solid start to this season, many fans were back onside. But another catastrophic run has made some less certain than ever. Some of Pardew's most ardent supporters are beginning to wonder. He has lost the support of thousands altogether.

It's not just the results though. If Pardew publicly reflected the fans' disappointment over the sale of Yohan Cabaye and a lack of incoming reinforcements, then he would have gained some credibility. Instead, Pardew is toeing the company line and to me this makes him entirely complicit rather than the "nice guy working in impossible circumstances" viewpoint of others.

It is not just Ashley who Pardew seems reluctant to stand up to, either. His failure to tackle his "regulars" is astonishing. The Newcastle Evening Chronicle reported that Pardew was furious after the Spurs game and that he saved much of it for Sylvain Marveaux and Hatem Ben Arfa -- both of whom are bit part players and who didn't take the field until the game was just about gone! Ludicrous.

Perhaps he is scared of alienating his regulars as he has so few players to pick from? Even that is unacceptable given the pathetic, heartless performances they've repaid his faith with. As for Moussa Sissoko walking off the field after the Spurs hammering with a big grin on his face.....

To many people outside of Newcastle, Pardew still has a solid reputation. National sports radio stalwarts Paul Hawksbee and Andy Jacobs discussed this with journalist Patrick Barclay on Thursday. The view from the outside. If Pardew wants to maintain and grow this reputation, he needs to get out of Tyneside before even they see through the cracks. Then again, he does have his ludicrously long contract to fall back on -- perhaps he doesn't give two jots about his reputation?

Is Alan Pardew a good manager? At times he has demonstrated some great tactical nous, but there are major motivational and tactical flaws that he cannot (or will not) address:

Newcastle haven't turned around a halftime deficit under his tenure. They have, however, lost from several winning positions.

Newcastle are usually terrible for the first 20-plus minutes of second halves.

Their corner taking has been absolutely abysmal for years.

Derby results also suggest Pardew has trouble getting his team and tactics right for such big games.

The oft tried and always failed "diagonal ball to [Mike] Williamson" set piece routine.

Tactics -- the long ball game vs immobile but aerially dominant centre-halves like Wes Brown and John O'Shea! Really?

And most worryingly of all is the regression of players under his "guidance". This is so bad that a term has grown for it. Some players have been "Pardewed" -- see Papiss Cisse, Ben Arfa, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Marveaux, Davide Santon, Sissoko and the club's youth players for reference.

"But ninth is not bad!" Cry some. It's not great either. Add the annual, pathetic cup displays to it and it is bad. The phrase "papering over the cracks" springs to mind.

"But who would want to manage Newcastle and work for Ashley?" They ask. While it is a valid point that Pardew is only one part of the problems at the club, the people asking these questions seem to share the belief of the owner that Newcastle are not a large club with a huge supporter base and incredible commercial earning potential. The same people who claimed that relegation was a "good thing" for the club. Amazing.

Besides, any manager who delivered silverware to Newcastle for the first time in half a century would be immortalized -- a hero forever.

Talk your club up, don't just do it down because your owner and manager tell you that "we can't compete with Southampton".

And always remember that you will still be there supporting the club long after Pardew and Ashley are gone.

Twitter: @MarcSDuffy

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