Pardew’s first 50 Premiership games – What have we learned?

Posted on March 18th, 2012 | 24 Comments |

Alan Pardew.
Alan Pardew - Silver supremo? Or Grey gob*****?
As we look towards our game against Norwich City, Alan Pardew’s 51st Premiership game as Newcastle United’s manager, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to look back on his time so far and see what we have learned since he arrived at St James’ Park.

The Silver Supremo’s first game, a 3-1 victory against Liverpool, was certainly a good start, as was his eleven game unbeaten run at the beginning of this season. Despite this, he still has his detractors, as well as those on the opposite side. Let’s take a look at the long term picture of what he has achieved in terms of results, and also touch on some of what we have learned about his style of play.


I suppose that the best place to start would be to take a look at the statistics of those first 50 games to give us some kind of reference, so here goes!

Pardew’s first 50 Premiership games.
P W D L Points PPG PPS Win %
50 18 17 15 71(150) 1.42 53.96 36.00%

“PPG” = Average points per game, “PPS” = Average points per season (Average points per game multiplied by 38). Finally, the figure in brackets of is maximum point achievable.

Altogether, this has been ok for a team of Newcastle United’s calbre, though not spectacular. In terms of monetary value, Newcastle United’s squad is the eighth moost valuable in the Premiership according to Transfermarkt, with a first team squad valued at around £120 million, and with an average player value of around £4.3 million. This puts us roughly on a par with teams such as Everton and Aston Villa, but still way below the huge chasm which exists between that group and the top six giants beginning with Liverpool. Now I wouldn’t set too much store by such figures, but they do tend to correlate roughly with Pardew’s overall performance on the pitch. 53/54 points is the kind of total which should give us a finishing position of somewhere around 7th or 8th last season, and 9th the season before that. So, we have neither overachieved or underachived using that metric.

Pardew’s win percentage is possibly slightly low, though he has drawn slightly more than the norm too. Perhaps this is somewhat indictative of his “defence first” style, though more on that in the next section.

Pardew’s direct style of play

It has been noticable that more than few Magpies fans, usually those who aren’t really au fait with the technical and strategic aspects of the game, and also unfamiliar with his previous teams in any depth, have been deluding themselves somewhat over what the Pardew’s style of play actually is, often writing on ‘blogs and forums that he is bringing more of an “entertaining,” short passing style to the Toon than his predecessor, Chris Hughton, or even that he will, but that he doesn’t have the players with the skillset yet to implement these kind of tactics. If anything though, the opposite has been the case in reality, with Newcastle relying on more long, hopeful passing than they did before. Also, on the other point, he now has a better squad of players than he has had at any stage in his career so far, with the two exceptions of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano in their brief spells at Pardew’s West Ham before he was sacked.

For better or worse, Pardew is a child of the English game of the ‘eighties. Where Pep Guardiola had Johan Cruyff to learn his trade from, Alan Pardew had Barnet and Reading’s Terry Bullivant. He feel uncomfortable straying from a 4-4-2 formation with a big emphasis on defence and a high workrate from all of his players.

Devensively, everyone is expected to muck in, including forwards, who are often used to try and nip oppsition attacks in the bud, wingers are expected to track back and help out the full backs, overlapping fairly often, so wingers are expected to have a defensive, tackling side to their game as well as baniging in crosses for the forwards. This is something which has caused problems for wingers such as Hatem Ben Arfa, who Pardew once said he didn’t see as a winger at all.

In terms of attack, his emphasis is on getting the ball to the forwards as quickly as possible using long passes / crosses, with the midfield bombing on in their wake to provide support. However, he does have some very good technical players at his disposal at NUFC, so if the strategy works, they can indeed show another side to their game when they have possession in their opponent’s half, sometimes more sophisticated and entertaining passing play. On the other hand though, when the opposition is succesful in choking service to the forwards, there seldom seems to be much in terms of a “Plan B.” Adaptability is not one of Pardew’s strongest suits.

In conclusion

Well, according to Mike Ashley, Pardew was brought in for his “experience.” Experience can, of course, be a very good thing. However it can also be a more negative thing too in some circumstances. Sometimes people can become “hidebound” and resitant, or even unable to change and develop.

On the positive side, Pardew certainly hasn’t done a bad job at all bearing in mind the club’s position in terms of development when he took over, which was only half a season after it was promoted from the Championship. On the other hand, bearing in mind the resources at his disposal, he hasn’t done an amazing one either, and the truth probably lies somewhere inbetween. Of course some, even many, will disagree with my brief assessment, but although the club is currently in a decent enough position under Pardew’s stewardship, the potential for development into a sophisticated side which can seriously challenge for the highest honours under the Silver Supremo seems to be fairly limited in my view. What you see is what you get. It can be hard to teach an old dog new tricks when it’s set in it’s ways and I feel that whilst we will be a solid side who will have our moments, win a few, lose a few, and be comfortable in mid / upper mid table with constant aspirations of reaching the Europa League, we will never quite scale the highest heights once we get there, nor reach the higher European competiton, the Champion’s League. Time will tell though and I hope I’m wrong.


NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1092 articles on this blog.

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24 Responses

  1. Sorry but your sentence ” usually those who aren’t really au fait with the technical and strategic aspects of the game” really shows you as a first class knob. Do you really know better than the rest of us. Where do you think keegan or robson learnt their trade?

  2. With the tools at his disposal and the amount of time he’s been at the club, he is doing a sterling job. Opinions are one thing but to say you don’t think he could get us to the CL in the future is utter rubbish who knows what he is capable of given a long enough time and the resources. Let’s not forget S B Robson took 2 seasons to start assembling a top 4 side and on the way buying a few donkeys.

    Separate note I got a feeling that the smb are going to nab that euro spot from under our noses through the FA Cup.

  3. “…average player value of around £4.3 million. This puts us roughly on a par with teams such as Everton and Aston Villa”, but still way below the huge chasm which exists between that group and the top six giants beginning with Liverpool.”

    So why are we currently above Everton, Villa and Liverpool? Perhaps it has something to do with our manager…?

    I agree with Mars – Pardew is doing an excellent job with what he has available.

    After years of instability – constantly changing managers and never giving anyone the necessary time to properly build a team – the last thing we need is to start talking about another manager.

    Give the bloke a few years, then judge.

    Here’s to three points this afternoon against Norwich.

  4. achtoon asks “Where do you think keegan or robson learnt their trade?”
    For a start Keegan never did learn his trade – he was a one off and made up his own rules.
    And SBR learned his prior to the Hepple-Wimbledon hoof it days, unlike his successor Turnip head Taylor in whose steps Pardew has followed.

    Essentialy Pardew’s style is one of organising limited resources and ability to their best effect, which is probably the best way to run most British teams.
    It will deliver success in the bottom 3 English divisions and the bottom half of the PL – but reaches its limit in the top half of the PL where the quality of players tears it appart.

    Putting better players into Pardew’s 4-4-2 will help, and we can certainly do with about 3 quality replacements – but after that what?
    His style & formation will simply either restrict players or they will tend to ignore it and play their own way (ie not as an effective team unit).

    So to move on, we need a few better players, a better system to get the best out of those players and a manager with the skill & vision to do it.

    And those kind of managers are few and far between and cost you a pretty penny!

  5. Pardew is doing a sound job, the word stability is starting to be uttered around newcasstle, stop knocking and get behind the man he needs another 2-3 years then pen your stats.

  6. Supermac says:
    March 18, 2012 at 11:02 am

    And those kind of managers are few and far between and cost you a pretty penny!

    and most certainly wont be willing to work with the financial constraints and undermining and over ruling attitudes of lamearse and co.

  7. mark s

    no offence but a lot of us think he rode on the back of houghton and now he is struggling to implement his own brand of football with success.

    dont get me wrong he is doing a good job but houghton is doing a fantastic job where he is. maybe im a houghtonight i cant say ive ever had faith in pardews long term ability, yes he can do a job for a season or two(history shows this) and i dont think this pattern will change here at the toon.

    but what i do think is, the owner and lamearse will probably keep hold of him because he gives them the right answers, when any other owner might have let their managers go.

    dont get me wrong he is punching above his weight, and trying to compete but he doesnt seem good at getting the best out of players and finding himself at fault.

    i know i might be over critical but i never heard houghton, kinear, keagan, robson or any other manager other than gullit blame players for mistakes that werent their fault.

    publicly criticizing your staff is, IMO one of the worst degrading abuses of human rights you can get outside of torture. it humiliates, degrades and mentally tortures all people on the wrong end.

    if pardew wants to succeed he needs to be a mans mans, a teams man. not his own man. after all there is no I in team.

    and im a strong believer, if a guy isnt there to defend himself or isnt allowed to then opinions arent valid.

  8. Ok, this negativity is unbelievable. 3 years ago we were freaking relegated.. now we find ourselves 6th above Liverpool and people are talking about a new manager. People have such short term memory, we had a fabulous start to the season and that was thanks to Pardews style of play.. that proves how capable it is.

    3 points tonight will shut up all these critics. HWTL!!

  9. i’m not a fan of pardew, but you can give him some credit.
    he did come into the club under difficult circumstances, and he has fought “tooth and nail”, to be accepted.
    i would say he has tried too hard in that respect, and comes across as an a**e crawler, at times.

    granted there have been some good results, but there have been some absolute stinkers also.
    so some fans appraisal of him, is way over the top.
    people will say he is doing his best, with what he has to work with.
    i dont accept this, and i think we have got better players now, than we had had in a long while.
    i just dont think pardew’s style of hoof it football, will transcend beyond where it is now.
    he is starting to plateau in ability as a manager, and it is becoming more and more evident, as the weeks pass.

    if alan does get us into europe, it would be something of a pinnicle for him.
    but in all honesty it will be a double edged sword, as i think he will struggle, with the rigours of fighting on too many fronts, a la the “von schleiffen plan”.
    i dont think he has it about him, to repeat what he has done this season.
    he has lucked out on numerous ocassions, in games where we should have been taking to the cleaners.
    he has one way of doing things, and if it doesn’t work, he struggles to come up with a plan b.

    some of the comments are suggesting he should be given a few years, it smacks of a bit of “russian roulette”, imo.
    in the long term i cannot see alan pardew being sucessful at newcastle, he just isn’t good enough.
    alan pardew is an average manager, who you could give 300 million to build a squad, and he still couldn’t get a team.
    you can have as many figo’s, zidane’s, messi’s etc, but if you have a manager, who’s first thought is to hoof it, what’s the point of having them?.

    he could always prove me wrong, but he is getting to the point now, where he is outliving his usefullness.
    i dont think this team can make the jump up to the next level, with pardew at the helm.

    i can see a headache coming in the near future, for mr ashley.

  10. by all means, give the guy a chance.

    but like glen roeder and allardice the fans need to like it or lump it and not be too quick to jump until the last breath of success has been exhaled.

    i think glen roeder was doing a great job and sometimes the harmony in the changing room is disrupted by us fans.

    but….and i say but… on paper and on form things dont look good for pardew. he hasnt been a long servant at any club, he has trouble getting the best out of his players and/or leaving his best players on the bench.

    we have a lot stronger team that pardew does not want to play.

    with vuckic on the bench why play Obertan? he seems like he is stuborn and wont change key players or key factors.

    i think having a player like Vuckic upfront with Ba or Cisse will do wanders for our attacking strength. it will give a new channel to wingers and give breathing space for the midfield.

    but yet he decides to play shola or obertan.
    it seems like we are missing best more than any other player.

    his rushing of defenders, closing down the ball, chasing goal keepers is a big missing link. IMO only vuckic could offer this.

    im not going to say pardew needs to go or he should be sacked. im saying in two years time it will be a different story. but who would take the job under the conditions he has? who would take the job and do a good job with the conditions and financial restraints he has?

    sometimes its better the devil you know.

  11. Let’s compile a list of better managers who would take this job and give us success ….


    sorry, someone else will have to start it, I can’t think of any!

  12. Quit frankly by talking about 5 more wins he has put his head on the chopping block !

    If he gets them and we get into the euros then he can have his couple more years to develop –

    If he doesn’t then he’s peaked, but he might hang around for a while until everyone get’s fed up with the lack of success and entertainment.

  13. By 6 o’clock tonight we will have a better idea of out fate.

    wunder if Lee Clarke will be watching ?

  14. Next season will be even harder now because of expectations being raised, and with the players at our disposal, it shouldn’t be a surprise at our league position this season. What does surprise is how some of our performances have actually resulted in gaining points, as in my opinion there hasn’t been an abundance of games where I’ve sat back and thought how brilliantly we have played, or how we have looked like a team that knows what it’s doing going forward. There have been matches when we have looked good, but Pardew does love the tactic of getting the ball to Krul and smash it as far as you can.

    I can’t honestly believe that the players we have are incapable of being patient and passing it around, I’ve seen us do it, but more often than not we just hoof it, and that is Pardew’s way.

    What if we don’t start next season well? If we get into Europe can we honestly believe that Ashley will invest into a squad which at present is too small? And how will Pardew handle it? The extra midweek games, plying his tactics against some of Europe’s best managers…

    All in all Pardew’s done a good job, but I harbour doubts he can go any further than what he has already done, and I simply don’t enjoy his style of play. He is coming into two years of his contract and I expect him to be here for the five years he has signed for.

  15. i dont think there will be a list of english managers, who will be willing to work in ashley’s quasi continental set up.
    when alan’s tenure comes to an end, i think they may have to look to a foreign coach, who will be used to working within that framework.
    otherwise we’ll just end up with another journeyman, trying to get back into the game.

  16. From readng some of the pro Pardew posts, i’m afraid i have to agree with Worky;s assesment.
    And agree with the claim there are those (Pro Pardew) who according to their arguments, lack both a technical and tactical understanding of the game, in general.
    Dont forgt this is the same guy who sat Mascherano and Tevez @ West Ham while the side was struggling to avoid relegation and continued that practice here by sitting HBA and Santon.
    Apparently innovation is not in the guys vocabulary, a one style fits all 4-4-2, with wingers defending and two strikers hanging about up forward awaiting the service that only comes when a defender hoofs a hail mary pass up to them.
    We tend to be outplayed by many sides in the second half, because any astute manager or coach can figure we play the same game for the full ninety minutes, because there’s no “plan B” in which case a tactical adjustment is all thats needed and by this stage of the season it’s become common knowledge.
    The argument concerning give him time is nonsense, the man has some good technical players who with positive direction and a tactical game to suit their technical abilities, could be a much more effective side.
    Unfortunately, the man is tactically challenged and unless we can hire a manager who understands the modern game and can get the best out of the horses at his disposal, this club will be without silverware for a while yet.
    Course there’s the problem of attracting a decent manager, seems Ashley (a micro-manager)only hires “yes men” and in Pardew he has one of the best.

  17. I think some people on here think we have this big squad, brimming with high quality players. Take Steve Taylor out for most of the season, Tiote on ANC, Ba at ANC for a shorter period, suspensions to other first team players HBA out of form. We have an excellent spine but we are short on real quality on either side of the pitch. To get us to sixth with ten games to go is a real achievement. Look at the teams around us and the squads they have.

  18. “yes men” and in Pardew he has one of the best – in fact the real successor to Kinnear – similar right down to the long ball 4-4-2
    (Joe Kinnear that is, although I would have preferred Roy who would have been more fun)!

  19. Supermac says:
    March 18, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    “yes men” and in Pardew he has one of the best – in fact the real successor to Kinnear – similar right down to the long ball 4-4-2″

    I’ve never really saw Kinnear as a “long ball” manager, Supermac. People assumed that he was because of his Wimbledon associations. However, it was Bobby Gould who was the real percentage man. When Kinnear was introduced, he brought much more of a passing style to the Dons, and I remember watching Kinnear’s Dons passing a good ‘Spurs team off the pitch back in the ‘nineties.

  20. Mars
    You are right, our squad is limited in both size and quality, espescially across the back four.
    Where if we lose Simpson for contractual reasons, we will need at least two quality FB’s and a quality CD at the minimum.
    Going to risk annoying many on the blog by again touting Jr. Hoilett as the winger, come second striker, plus a young CF prospect we can develope.
    Moses at Wigan is another we could probably attract if Wigan were to make the drop, similar in style to Hoilett and can also play either on the wing or as a second striker.
    Would like to see Pieters sign for us,(as it appears Vortenghen is touting himself to the Arse) a versatile player, who can fill either the LB spot or as a CD., plus the fact Santon can fill both FB roles.
    Better to have a smaller squad made up of versatile quality and get rid of some of the deadwood.
    Nowt wrong with competition for starting roles.
    And at this stage (five years into the five year plan)we should be looking at either quality established players or young prospects.
    And a manager who is capeable of using their talents in a (modern footballing)positive and productive way.

  21. Hmm the way I see it is Ashley knows what he is doing, I doubt pardew will ever sign a contract extension, its all in the plan, for the next 5 years we will watch us play rugby unless pardew hires a tactical assistant whilst the club improves financially and on the pitch in terms of depth. Ashley won’t have pardew asking for money for players because he’s a ars lick. 5 years later we will be making money as a club whilst being a good Prem team, we then hire a good manager who can make the step up to being a top Prem side

  22. worky says: March 18, 2012 at 3:11 pm
    “I’ve never really saw Kinnear as a “long ball” manager, Supermac. People assumed that he was because of his Wimbledon associations”.
    Good point, thanks for that – I can’t realy remember his style, I guess I assumed too much.
    Who knows what he would have done at NUFC had he kept his health – shame realy, looking back.