Hughton v Pardew: managerial death-match

Posted on May 11th, 2011 | 22 Comments |

Chris Hughton and Alan Pardew
Is the jury still out?
A comparison between Chris Hughton and Alan Pardew, the two Newcastle United managers in the 2010/2011 season.

It is said that you can’t compare apples with oranges, although I think that’s bunk. I compared apples with oranges the other day and oranges are clearly better.

The point, though, is that if you’re going to make any sort of comparison between things, the circumstances of the comparison should be fairly similar or you’re not really going to be able to make any sort of valid comparison at all. It would be like comparing a bulldozer to an Amazonian tree frog: they’re such vastly different things that comparisons are pointless.

If, for example, we wanted to try and judge Alan Shearer’s ability as a manager we’d be hard pushed to do so. Forget for one moment his lack of experience and the fact that he spent most of the time since retiring from football sat on a sofa, we can’t compare him to another manager unless that manager took over the same team in the same circumstances. Which of course is impossible, so it would render any attempted comparisons subjective.

So please bear that in mind as I make an attempt to compare Alan Pardew with Chris Hughton. There is a lot of subjectivity and opinion in it.

The Circumstances

On 6th December 2010, Chris Hughton was sacked as Newcastle manager and on 9th December 2010 Alan Pardew was appointed to the job. The reason Mike Ashley gave for the change of manager was that he wanted someone with ‘more experienced’ to take the team forward, which is of course a load of cobblers. Looking at Alan Pardew’s experience from some angles, you might just be able to justify his ‘more experienced’ tag but it’s marginal at best and I simply don’t believe that’s the reason he replaced Hughton. Had Ashley appointed Jol or Redknapp or Moyes or O’Neill then the ‘more experience’ would be clear, but Pardew? I’m not so sure.

It’s a bit like me saying I’m more experienced at making pastry than my cat. It’s true but only on account of me having opposable thumbs – if you really want someone experienced at making pastry you’re better off with Gordon Ramsey.

Something else prompted Hughton’s sacking in my opinion, although we may never find out what.

Not that there’s much point fretting about it I suppose; Hughton was sacked and Pardew was appointed and we may as well get on with things because that isn’t going to change.

The Stats

If I was to include Hughton’s Championship season stats in the figures he’d knock Alan Pardew into oblivion, but then I’d leave myself open to criticism about the Premier League being a much tougher prospect than the Championship and we’re back to that apples and oranges thing again.

So, just using this season’s Premier League, the stats are as follows (as of the day of posting this article):

  Chris Hughton Alan Pardew
Played 17 20
Won 6 6
Drew 4 7
Lost 7 7
Win % 35.29 30.00
Non-Loss % 58.82 65.00
Loss % 41.18 35.00

Looking at the pure stats, there isn’t much in it. Hughton has the better rate of wins but Pardew has the better rate of avoiding losing. It really would be quite churlish to try and separate them on the 2010/2011 Premier League stats.

The People

Pardew and Hughton are two very different people. Hughton was quiet, unassuming and modest whereas Pardew is talkative, arrogant and much more ‘in your face’.

Hughton’s aim seemed to be to keep as much out of the press as possible, preferring to handle matters of team discipline behind closed doors. Pardew on the other hand is not afraid to come out and openly bollock a player in public.

You can take your pick as to which one of those approaches you prefer. Some may feel that a public bollocking has a better affect on players and others may feel that such things are best done in private.


This is the bit where we really struggle to make any valid comparisons. Hughton has already proved himself in the transfer market: under his tenure we saw the acquisition of Tiote, Ben Arfa, Williamson etc. and we saw the maturing of the likes of Colo, Enrique, Carroll and Jonas as players.

Pardew has yet to be tested in that area and this summer may prove crucial for those who are yet to make their mind up about the man. I don’t think he did himself any favours by saying he’d absolutely, no way, ever sell Andy Carroll and they he was sold anyway. That does little in terms of trust between fans and managers (and that’s valid even if you thought we should have sold him for £35m).


I will make no attempt to hide that I preferred Chris Hughton’s unassuming attitude and the way he dealt with controversial issues behind closed doors. Yet I also have to concede that in terms of what happens on the pitch there is little to choose between both managers.

Thus, Your Honours, I record an open verdict until we see how the summer transfer negotiations go. Although to a certain extent it doesn’t matter and this is rendered to little more than a point of discussion. Pardew is the current manager of Newcastle United and we’d better hope he does a good job because we’re powerless to change things.

What do you think?

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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22 Responses

  1. In the tranfers section you seemed to forget to mention the couple of questionable signings Hughton made…
    Routledge, Perch, Campbell etc..

    I think you are right though there is not much to choose between them at present, I myself still prefer Hughton due to him having the full support of the squad and fans. He brought us straight back up and that give him a bit of a special relationship with the club. Altough I was never convinced of his tactics (although were improving) and he seemed to leave it too late to make subs to change a game.

    As you have stated we have Pardew now so lets give some support and hope he does a good job!

  2. key word out off all it is ‘relationship’ which hughton had with the players you could feel it come over to the fans with hughton gone that sense of feeling did die a bit. Pardew has had half a season with the lads and can only build on what he has achieved this season through the pre season and the next coming season which can only be of benefit.

  3. ‘If I was to include Hughton’s Championship season stats in the figures he’d knock Alan Pardew into oblivion’

    Aye, and that would be totally rediculous.

    Pardew has a similar record without a main striker as Hughton does when we had Carroll, ‘nough said.

  4. I just hope Chris Hughton gets the chance at another club to make a name for himself.
    Proper good bloke, done his best for us and didn’t deserve the ashley treatment in the slightest.
    Good luck to him.

  5. Maybe you could add CH’s prem stats from the season we went down, where he was in charge of proceedings also?


    AP came into a team with more pressure to get it right from the get go. CH was already settled in before this prem season started.
    But also, the team was already in place, but, potentially put off their stroke by a change in boss?

    a few mitigating circumstances.

  6. Quite frankly i couldn’t give a toss about their stats being compared . They are 2 totally different managers one did a brilliant job then got sacked the other took us over the safety line but has not been here long enough to be judged yet . Once we see what happens in the transfer window and how his team start the new season can we judge pardew properly and after 17 games of the new season could you maybe compare their stats . Its all a bit irrelevant to be honest , lets all just look forward instead of backwards to a sacked manager .

  7. One wonders about why Ashley fired a perfectly good manager, who having not only re organised a side coming of a terrible season, a season in chaos and freefall into a tightly knit side who aced the division and went unbeaten as a home side.
    To fire him for a Morinho or a Gus Hiddink even a Steve Clarke, would be understandable, but a Pardew for gods sake, sorry i just cant get my head around it !
    One wonders what they are thinking about ?

  8. chuck,
    he fired/let him go as he wasn’t ‘his man’, & probably, more especially, was kk’s man, as he brought him to NUFC.

  9. chuck says:
    May 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    “To fire him for a Morinho or a Gus Hiddink even a Steve Clarke would be understandable,”


    Steve Clarke? Surely that would have been like going back a step to the time when they gave Hughton the job, ie giving it to someone a hell of alot of experience in assistant and coaching roles, but little or no experience as a full manager?

  10. Comparable records, Pardew without Carroll. Hughton had some very poor signings such as Perch, Campbell-routledge did us a service in the Championship so i’ll exclude him.

    Best has turned out well, so credit is due there-but with conflicting opinions over who actually saw/signed Tiote and ben arfa its tough to give him full credit.

    I still think Hughton was a more likeable character and I probably preferred his approach but then Pardew’s criticism may yet yield results. Think Pards has done well whether you like him or not.

  11. I think we obviuosly forgot who put the team together and got us through the coca cola , as championeys , and then in the Premier he was still a young manager , but gave his all for the cause. he got sacked for fech all , and now we have a manager who has little or no charisma , sorry i have hammers mates who says pardoo was terrible motivator for their club, and next season , i doubt if international players are going to FLOCK to toon because he is oor manager , sorry CH for me !!!

  12. I like Hughton, but I think Pardew has also done well to steady the ship.

    Having said that, I am still to be convinced by MA’s reasoning of sacking Hughton and replce him by Pardew. The transfer record of Hughton’s is quite decent, and Pardew will need to do very well in the summer to surpass him.

  13. NewkieBrown says:
    May 12, 2011 at 12:15 am

    “Best has turned out well, so credit is due there-but with conflicting opinions over who actually saw/signed Tiote and ben arfa its tough to give him full credit.”

    There’s no dispute, Newkie Brown. Hughton signed them just as he signed chief scout, Graham Carr.

  14. Actually the story is not whether Pardhwo has better stats than Hoots its about replacing what was considered to be an unsuccessful and inexperienced manager with an equally unsuccessful tosspot who doesnt deserve to be in charge of the Academy let alone the First team.

    If Hoots wasnt good enough, Pardwho has done nothing to suggest he’s any better at anything other than arse licking.

  15. AndyMac says:
    May 12, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    “Actually the story is not whether Pardhwo has better stats than Hoots its about replacing what was considered to be an unsuccessful and inexperienced manager”

    That’s a bit of an oxymoron, Andy. How can someone be considered to be unsuccessful at something they’ve had little or no experience doing? If someone had experience at doing something, but ultimately failed, then they could be described as “unsucessful”.

    Who considers Hughton to be “unsucessful” in winning the Championship with 102 points and leaving Newcastle at twelfth in the Premiership only half a season after promotion anyway?

  16. AndyMac says:
    May 12, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    “Best has turned out well”

    You kidding ? That is a piss take right ?”

    6 goals in ten appearences with one as sub this season, which is about the same goalscoring ratio as Alan Shearer’s all time scoring record at Newcastle. That either isn’t bad for someone who isn’t supposed to be a prolific goalscorer anyway, or the amount of appearences is far too little to judge. When he has played though, he has done rather well.

  17. Aye, Best has turned out well…I’ll stand by that. People wrote him off for many obvious reasons in the Championship, but as worky says 6 goals in 10, albeit through a hatrick was still good going.

    “There’s no dispute, Newkie Brown. Hughton signed them just as he signed chief scout, Graham Carr.”

    Worky-Didn’t Carr come out not too long ago and claim sole success?…

  18. I have no doubt that if Hughton had completed the season as manager we would have been relegated

    As much as I admired the job he did and Pardrew was no where near my 1st choice and still isn’t the game at Liverpool summed it up for me.

    There is no way that Hughton would have brought on Ranger in the 60th minute at 1-1 pardrew did and it won us the game. Had Carroll been in the side against Blackpool we would have won also the same against 5under1and

    But Pardrew never had the luxury of Carrol in the team and firing consistently. Also Pardrew has had to contend with an injury list longer than his arm.

    I would still swap Pardrew for a top manager in a heartbeat but I believe credit where its due. If he shut up a bit he would seem a better manager but talk doesnt affect results

  19. “6 goals in ten appearences with one as sub this season, which is about the same goalscoring ratio as Alan Shearer’s all time scoring record at Newcastle”

    Let’s not even go there WT.

    The reason you can mention that stat is because Best turned up one cold wintry night in January and got a game (because everyone else was injured) against the worst team that I’ve ever seen at SJP in 20 years. OK so he scored 3 but he wasnt Messi or Ronaldo or anyone that looked vaguely talented. I was at the game and I’m pretty sure that a monkey in a black and white shirt would have got a hat trick that night. So 3 in ten isnt quite AS standard is it ?

    PS Can you or anyone else seriously believe that Best is the answer to our scoring problem in the BPL ? If so I’ll give you the address to the local psychiatric unit in your area as you need help.

    PPS I’ll give you 100/1 odds for the next season that he’s nowhere near the top scorer list at this club unless the Fatman decides he wants to take us down again, just for a laugh, and fails to reinforce the squad :(

  20. Separate issue with Howay James.

    Good luck with your wishful thinking ! Pardwho is no better than Hoots but then an awful lot of you seem to think that an extra 3 points is what’s kept us up.

    (goes away to bang head against hard surface)

  21. Andy, I don’t think anyone is saying Best will be the new Messi. All I was saying was he’s put in a shift, fair enough he got a hatrick against a woeful defensive team, but he also scored twice against arsenal-even though a perfectly good goal was ruled out, and he also earned us one of the penalties that managed to get us 4-4. Considering he’d been out of the team for ages and allowing for time to adjust to both the premier league and a team he had hardly featured in, his goal record was decent, especially compared with the minutes of our other strikers-namely lovenkrands.

    I certainly hope he isn’t near the top of our goalscoring list as I hope we have better, but I think Best has earned the chance to be backup/early cup player.