On Saturday, Newcastle United’s reversal of fortunes continued apace with a 1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers at St James’ Park; marking their fifth successive win and planting them fifth in the Premier League table. The French midfielder and Newcastle captain, Moussa Sissoko, has arguably been one of Alan Pardew’s most significant players in their revival of form in recent weeks and was rewarded with another assiduous display. Sissoko exchanged passes with Ameobi before guiding an angled effort beyond the reach of the QPR keeper to make it 1-0 in the 78th minute, ultimately becoming the decisive goal and securing three points for the Maggies.
Pinpointing the precise ancestries of Newcastle’s renewed form this season may be placed on a myriad of factors, one of which rests on Alan Pardew. Pressure seemed to surface on the Maggies boss after his search for a Premier League victory had stretched to six games. However, in a recently invigorating period of seven weeks Pardew spearheaded Newcastle into a triumphant run of seven games since their 2-2 draw with Swansea in October; while also leading them into the quarter finals of the Capital One Cup and within challenging distance of a Champions League spot.
Alan Pardew, 53, elucidated the reasons behind Newcastle’s success by drawing similarities to Bundesliga table-toppers Bayern Munich. While Bayern are undoubtedly an intrinsically superior club than Newcastle, Pardew has focused on replicating the work-rate of the three-pronged forward figures of Robert Lewandowski, Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben. During United’s recent run of form, the work-rate of players Ayoze Perez, Sammy Ameobi and Remy Cabella has often epitomised their performances. From a statistical standpoint, the Magpies appear to be running and working harder than previous Newcastle teams.
Alan Pardew said: “we are pushing as a team to physical levels that have never been used in the past, which was shown in the QPR game, where we ran 10km more than them”. Throughout the opening fixtures of the season, the protesting fans certainly made things more challenging for Pardew and his players; but they may have helped them in the long run with improved motivation and confidence, appearing as by-products of their enhanced form. Pardew said: “you can imagine everyone was pulling at him (Mike Ashley), and he stuck with me and was very supportive.”
Club chairman, Mike Ashley, has certainly contributed to the reversal of Newcastle’s form of late, which has seen him endure the turbulence of feedback from quizzical fans over the billionaire’s decision to uphold faith in Alan Pardew. QPR manager Harry Redknapp recently remarked that “the chairman has been fantastic,” prior to his teams fixture against Newcastle on the weekend. He continued to explain: “Ashley has struck by him (Alan Pardew) and no matter what comments were made he was unfazed”. When asked about the motives behind Mike Ashley’s faith in managers, Redknapp eluded to his cultural background: “The difference is probably because he is a British owner.” In many European leagues, particularly in Spain, it is far from unusual for a manager to be replaced, often prematurely. Whereas, historically at least, England has operated within a different footballing culture, in which a managerial change was questionably scarcer in occurrence.
The English leagues appear to value both foreign ownership and management to the extent where there appears to be a cultural shift, particularly in recent history. Mike Ashley’s traditional ownership style may attract the attention of foreign owners by perhaps enticing them into extending the tenure of their club managers.
How else may football club owners further support their respective managers in the future?