PM: NUFC release this statement:
United Football Club have today parted company with manager Chris Hughton.
Goalkeeping coach Paul Barron also leaves the club today.
The board would like to place on record their thanks to Chris for his
considerable efforts during the club's transition from Championship to
Premier League football.
Chris has shown exceptional character and commitment since being appointed
manager in October 2009. The club wishes him well for the future.
Regrettably the board now feels that an individual with more managerial
experience is needed to take the club forward.
The task of appointing a new manager now begins. An announcement will be
made shortly regarding transitional arrangements pending the appointment
of a successor.
NUFC.com response to the dismissal of
Hughton as manager:
there is a plan?
Three and a half years after taking control of the club, Mike Ashley has
jettisoned a fourth manager - Chris Hughton following Sam Allardyce, Kevin
Keegan and Alan Shearer in making a one way trip up Barrack Road.
Our own take on Hughton never really changed much - a seemingly decent and
honourable bloke whose public statements were routinely bland. That in
as something of a relief though, following the bare-faced lies of
slack-jawed, FA charge-incurring predecessor, JFK.
His own conduct and manner differed markedly from other managers and there
was satisfaction to be had from the fact that someone who wasn't a) a
former player b) local and c) white, became a popular figure amongst many
supporters who were initially ambivalent and/or sceptical.
That's one in the eye for messrs Souness/Allardyce and their
self-justifying accusations of small-minded regional insularity and our
alleged "Messiah" complex.
As a manager, he deserves praise for gaining promotion at the first
attempt and in some style. From then on though, he and Colin Calderwood
came into the unproven category and we'd be lying if we said we were
particularly bothered about his exiting now - it's the identity of his
successor that has long been of more over-riding concern to us.
Hughton's apparent popularity among the squad led to question marks over
the level of discipline, while the matter of player signings also opened
up a debate over what role he played in the club's transfer dealings.
It's yet to be established whether the likes of Leon Best were Hughton
signings, or further examples of the deals that brought Xisco and Gonzalez
to Tyneside. But even if Hughton did enjoy full authority on acquisitions,
then his hand was certainly forced by the financial stringencies he was
made to work under - and influenced by a desire to try and retain players
he deemed as pivotal.
And now, for reasons that may or may not ever be explained, the time has
come to do what always looked inevitable. In reality, Chris was
undemanding, restrained and as a consequence easy to get rid of - the safe
pair of hands to a club with a long history of loose cannons. For that
reason alone, swapping "interim" for "permanent" on
his job title always looked like a cosmetic exercise.
However, his removal surely cannot be based only on the events at The
Hawthorns on Sunday - we've been in far worse plights (and league
positions) than that, plus the mood of the away crowd could in no way be
interpreted as agitating for the manager's head.
The opening of the transfer window in just over three weeks time (and the
opportunity for ourselves and other clubs to alter their UEFA squad lists)
seems to be a more telling stat than that defeat - not to mention behind
the scenes negotiations coming to fruition, were United's target to be
still in post elsewhere.
Those at Goodison Park will doubtless be guffawing more about the
situation Dan Gosling now finds himself in, while the future of Hatem Ben
Arfa remains open to question, despite his recent "I love the Toon"
public comments. And for the rest of our squad, it's all up for grabs
Rumours and betting whispers built to a crescendo when Hughton returned to
his native East London to face former club West Ham - with the out-of-work
Alan Pardew strongly linked (and heavily backed) at that point.
However victory at Upton Park and the wins over the mackems and Arsenal
that then followed saw pundits demanding a new deal for Hughton, having
proclaimed him to be on borrowed time just days previously.
After failing to win any of their last five games though, maybe now the
club are convinced that Hughton has peaked and feel that the increasingly
downbeat mood is more opportune to wheel out their new man. It's not like
them to give a toss about what others think though...
Our opinion remains that Hughton over-achieved, given the financial
constraints placed on him and the dressing room issues he inherited. While
it's hard to make a case for more high profile bosses to done better
though, that has to be balanced against that lingering feeling that the
mood of the players was ultimately the decisive factor.
We harboured long-term reservations in much the same way as the Glenn
Roeder appointment: a ready-made fall guy/patsy/sacrifice for when fans
"No risk Chris" was our assessment at the time, but we didn't
envisaged he'd remain in post for so long. There again, neither did he, if
you go back to his soundbites before the start of the 2009/10 season.
For United to now decide that what Hughton gave them no longer sufficed
would logically mean that finance will now be forthcoming for the new
appointee to enjoy a larger salary, longer contract, more control over
staffing and significant squad investment.
If that proves not to be the case and the replacement looks no different
to the average punter than Hughton, then real anger would surely be felt -
for all the sympathy that's rightly evident now for the jilted Hughton.
For those who subscribe to the theory that Ashley thrives on conflict this
seems to be yet another instance of him inverting the Geordie snowshaker -
just when the "FCB" and "he don't care about
me" chants had subsided.
While seeing the SJP exit door swinging open again will inevitably lead to
contemplation of previous exits, our initial reaction was to think of what
happened with the smoggies, who disposed of that nice Gareth Southgate -
and have been stuck firmly in reverse ever since.
So, 900+ words to basically say, "f*ck knows".
Monday PM: NUFC
announced that first team affairs would be handled on a temporary basis by
reserve coaches Peter Beardsley and Steve Stone.
Monday PM: Ajax reported on their official
website that they had parted company with their manager, Martin Jol. That
led to much speculation that he had been lined up to take over at SJP.
Tuesday: Jol departure claimed to be
a coincidence, betting remains centred on Alan Pardew, although there's a
viable claim made for Alan Curbishley. One wild card candidate speculated
upon online proves to be Jurgen Klinsmann - a story soon discredited.
Wednesday: Pardew widely accepted to have accepted post, spotted at
Thursday AM: statement confirming Pardew as new manager is released
- and is read out on Sky Sports News before it's appeared on the club's
official website. The headline news is that he's signed an unprecedented
five and a half year deal.
NUFC also released this statement, credited
to Pardew, on Thursday morning:
"I am honoured and privileged to have been given
this opportunity at Newcastle United, one of the truly great clubs in
English football. I understand
what this club means to its supporters. Throughout the football world
people recognise that this is a unique club in many ways, with supporters
who are second to none in their loyalty, passion and devotion for the
team. Iím not a Geordie, of course, but Iím a football person with a
love of the game and I can assure you I bring great drive, desire and
commitment to the job.
"Chris Hughton did a great job
last season, guiding the club back to the Premier League, and he continued
that good work this season. It is my aim to build on that now and
take this club forward. I have always managed teams that have played
attacking positive football, something I know the supporters here
"At the same time, I intend to
focus on developing exciting young players through the clubís excellent
Academy and development squad, and I know the board here at St Jamesí
Park are very committed to that too. I
canít wait to get started, and what better way to kick-off than
welcoming Liverpool to St Jamesí Park on Saturday?"
PM: Pardew appears on stage alone at SJP press call.
Friday: Pardew takes his first NUFC training session, at Darsley
coverage of the press conference
Sports coverage of the press conference
As expected, lines about "massive club" and "challenge too
good to turn down" were aired, while he claimed that his first
contact with NUFC was via his agent on Monday - which begs the question
why he was such a short price favourite to take the job with bookies on
Paying tribute to Chris Hughton's work (while managing to mispronounce his
name), Pardew also commenting that he'd received a number of texts from
fellow managers querying his decision to take the job. Predictable sound
bites regarding getting players on board, assessing at the first team
squad and youngsters at the club and not being afraid to ask for funds
Attempting to play down claims of any prior relationship with the NUFC
board, Pardew confirmed that
he'd take charge of Saturday's game alongside Peter Beardsley and Steve
Stone, before taking steps to bring in his own "team" the
Pardew concluded by saying that: "I hope the fans channel their
frustration into supporting the team."
Sky Sports News then conducted their own one-to-one interview with Pardew
which echoed much of what had been said during the press conference. One
significant comment from that came when the manager was asked about
rumours of January player sales, replying that: "Andy Carroll is a
key part.....he stays."
Pardew stated that retaining top flight status this season and then
mounting a challenge for a top ten finish in the next campaign were his
aims - surely that should now see him sacked, given that they echo
NUFC.com response to the confirmation of Pardew as manager:
of Hate re-opens:
We don't know Alan Pardew personally and we can't pretend ever to have
taken a great interest in his managerial career to date - mediocre in the
extreme though it looks, and punctuated by rumour and gossip.
By agreeing to become the new Manager of Newcastle United though, he's now
tainted and viewed with the utmost suspicion by tens of thousands of
On the face of things that's a fairly shoddy state of affairs, giving
further fuel to those who accuse fans of this club as being insular,
misguided, in-bred idiots.
Pardew though has willingly allied himself to the most inept, improper set
of clowns ever to mismanage a football club, arriving amid accusations of
Cockney casino cronyism and desperate cries of "not Joe Kinnear"
from media pals - slightly less than a ringing endorsement.
Were he to be a proven manager with an illustrious history, the
bewilderment and annoyance of Hughton's departure would at least be
replaced by a sliver of optimism - a 0.1% chance that something positive
might come out of another self-created farce.
Instead though, Pardew now arrives here with nothing but a long contract.
No benefit of the doubt, no honeymoon period, no support in the dressing
room and not even any Geordie/adopted Geordie "remember me"
If Chris Hughton
was rendered as dead man walking by the lack of support from his
employers, then quite what shelf life Pardew will enjoy is open to
question. That he doesn't appear to have much credibility to start with
doesn't help: a chancer appointed by chancers.
And in making the change, Mike Ashley has once again demonstrated the
utter contempt that he now holds for the fans that he once sought to buddy
up with. At a stroke he's managed to successfully re-ignite the bad
feeling on and off the field that resulted in our fall from grace two
seasons ago. Is he trying to take us down?
The springboard effect that a new manager tends to bring to a club didn't
happen here under Shearer and there seems to be even less chance of Pardew
and his feel-bad factor pulling it off. If anything, his position seems
like a watered-down version of Brian Clough's infamous move to Leeds
(watered-down in that he doesn't have any medals to show his new charges).
Looking back at our history, there's a sense that Pardew arrives with a
brief to impose dressing room order in the same way that messrs McGarry
and Smith did, following the inclusive stewardship of Dickie Dinnis and
Willie McFaul. This time however, the outward appearance is more of an
iron fist in a glove puppet.
In the absence of information, the void is once again filled by a welter
of opinions and theories. Rather than briefing pliant pressmen though, why
doesn't Ashley have the balls to come out just once and explain himself;
giving just a veneer of accountability to the emotional hostages that
compose his public?
But please, don't send Del boy out to embarrass himself further with his
half-baked nonsense. You'd have more credibility if you appointed Gazza as
Start off by outlining exactly what "experience" Alan Pardew has
that Hughton lacked: winning tin pot trophies, being sacked by clubs in
each of the top three divisions, or appearing in the High Court? Or
perhaps it was more the "experience" of moving in similar social
And once you've tried to justify the appointment you've just made, move on
to explain why his predecessor was jettisoned, after having somehow
managed to create an air of respectability around a club that had none.
Hughton got Manager of the Month a few times here - the Nobel Peace Prize
might have been a more fitting reward.
If senior players were allowed to do as they pleased at the club and
Hughton couldn't control them, tell us. If Hughton refused to
sanction the sale of players or differed with the contract, tell us. If
the downturn in attendances and corporate business is being laid at
Hughton's door, tell us.
Of course none of this will happen, despite whatever level of protests
follow over the coming days and weeks - which will inevitably overshadow
events on the field and supply a ready-made excuse for the dropping of
points and the submitting of transfer requests.
The emotions invoked by the loss of Kevin Keegan soon disappeared though,
along with noble intentions of boycotting pies, pints and pumps.
Meanwhile, the lack of information regarding Shearer's post-relegation
position manifested itself in a collective regional glumness rather than
Barrack Road bonfires and barricades. Storms were ridden out.
The real damage though is being done by stealth. Fans who don't daub on
bedsheets or voice their discontent on message boards or phone-ins, but
vote with their feet, stop buying tickets, shirts for their bairns etc. as
their own personal point of no return is reached.
And with next summer seeing the extended season ticket deals for a
significant number of fans expire, the decision to boycott SJP has just
been made easier.
The insular nature of the club and the way it runs its business was
already having that negative effect - but this latest self-induced farce
only hastens that process.
A new low - 40 days after the high of winning the derby. The suspicion is
that we'll be in the wilderness for a damn sight longer than that though.