Newcastle make impressive show of faith
Published: 08.10.12 / Written by: David Gold
The news that Alan Pardew and three members of his backroom staff were being given eight year extensions to their contracts will have had journalists across the country scrambling the internet, in search of the last manager given such a long contract.
As it is, it is certainly the longest contract handed out to any existing Premier League manager. Having won both the Premier League and League Managers Association manager of the year awards for his exploits last year, Pardew is one of the managers whose stock is highest in English football at present.
After the sacking of Harry Redknapp last year at Tottenham, Pardew is probably the most impressive English manager around at present. He has achieved wonders, having been appointed to near universal derision two years ago at St. James Park. Mike Ashley was proven right and the fans at Newcastle soon won over, with Pardew taking the team into Europe as they finished fifth in the league last season, above European champions Chelsea.
Quite an achievement. If Pardew is still there in 2020, then he will have served 10 years at the club. It is clear that Newcastle want to replicate the kind of stability that Manchester United and Arsenal have enjoyed with Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, not to mention Everton with David Moyes. Casting a glance over at Everton right now will be the perfect illustration of what Newcastle will be hoping to achieve.
Newcastle have achieved what they have with excellent realism. They know they cannot keep their best players, and it is possible Pardew could be prised from them in the future, but if anyone wants him, he will come at high cost. It may well be quite difficult for Newcastle to keep him that long in this age of short termism, but it is more of a statement than anything else. The intent is summed up by Derek Llambias, the managing director at Newcastle.
"You look at the last 25 years at Newcastle and it has only known drama, from the highs to the lows," he said. "They worked on those glory transfers and all the dramas behind them - glory and bust, with no success. What was the success? It was basically. 'I've signed a player! That has to end. It has."
It most certainly has. A serene optimism and calm pervades Newcastle after years of the roller coasters that have seen them through the world record signing of Alan Shearer, two flings with Kevin Keegan and a season in the Championship.
There is a sensible realism, an acknowledgement that maybe Newcastle are not in the top tier of English clubs anymore, but that they can compete well near the top if they are shrewd and frugal. They even have a good defence, something they spent years longing for with little success.
Ambition, realism and sensible business keeping. The new Newcastle may well, if they continue in this vain, get close to breaking their long standing wait for a trophy. And you never know, maybe Pardew will still be there in 2020.