Derek Llambias has announced that Alan Pardew and his backroom staff have all signed new contracts tying them into the club for 8 more years. That's right, eight years!
First off, congratulations Mr Pardew, Carver, Stone and Woodman for your news. Second, this is absolute madness! What in God's name has Ashley and Llambias done now?! 8 year contract for a manager? This is unheard of for someone so new to a football club with such reasonable success. Its not like Pardew has won a trophy in his first year or actually qualified for the Champions League, as close as we came, is it? Lets also be blunt about this. This season hasn't exactly started off like a house on fire has it? We are yet to play well for 90 mins once this season with our manager being largely responsible for this. We only just got dumped out the League Cup at the first hurdle last night with a bit of a whimper and questionable managerial decisions. So why now?
Mr Llambias claims that 'stability' is the reason why they have made the move with Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger as examples of this.
Llambias, "If you look at clubs like Manchester Utd and Arsenal, Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have showed that stability gives you the best platform to achieve success and that is what we want to emulate here."
Well I am not going to argue that. Stability is good for a club, especially with one like ours given our recent history. But what is plainly obvious is that the reason Ferguson and Wenger have been in a job for so long is because they brought huge success. It's simple. Success brings stability. Not some completely out of context contract.
What is baffling about this the most is that Pardew had nearly 4 years left on the deal he signed when he took over from Chris Hughton in December 2010. So what's the problem? Wasn't this enough? What's wrong with seeing how he get's on for the next 2 seasons and then take it from there? If he has been highly successful, then give him a long term contract. But to basically 'guess' that Pardew will continue this upward curve we are on since he arrived and then reward that 'guess' with an 8 year deal is ludicrous.
Alan Pardew signing this deal has basically become unsackable. How can he not be? Will the club, for whatever reason, come to the decision to terminate his contract anywhere within the next 5 years say? No chance. Not without a massive pay-off. Which we all know the current regime would never sanction. What if Pardew fails this season? What if we fail to qualify from the Europa League group, get knocked out the FA Cup in the third round and finish in midtable obsurity looking up at the teams that have passed us by? We're already out of the League Cup first time of asking. This is ultimately the point, What if?
The length of this deal makes no sense, as a year in football is a long time never mind 8 years. The timing of this deal makes no sense either as Pardew had almost 4 years left to run on his current, sorry old, deal. It's not as if Alan Pardew has been linked with a move away from NUFC and there is a danger he could be snapped up by a bigger club. Was he linked with Chelsea? No. The Liverpool job? Not that I heard. The England job? Not seriously. All this deal does is give Alan Pardew the unquestionable safety and rock solid knowledge that no matter what he does, good or bad, he will not be sacked any time soon. He hold's all the cards.
Now this may work. Having the breathing space of not having to worry about your job may inspire him. But in my opinion a manager having this type of mentality doesn't help the club. Derek Llambias mentioned Arsene Wenger. In my opinion, Wenger having the knowledge over the past several years that he was never going to be sacked made him soft and resulted in him making bad decisions. The kind of decisions he would never have made when he first arrived at Arsenal. You look at Arsenal up until the 2004 invincible team and since that season after. It's unrecognisable. It's trophy less.
Newcastle United Football Club has tied itself down into an untenable position should the manager's job ever become, for whatever reason, unworkable. Which is not just a massive risk, it's a totally unnecessary risk. What's the point?
The reasoning given is apparently stability. Well like I have said, success brings stability. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. It's not the length of a manager's contract. By this logic if Freddy Shephard had given Ruud Gullit a 10 year deal and he took us into Football League obscurity, refusing to leave his position of guaranteed employment, is that stability? If Kenny Dalglish had got his wish and continued to dismantle our top football club from top to bottom into a shadow of its former self for years and years, is that stability? If Graeme Souness had never have been relieved from his reign of terror of overspending, under-achievement and mediocrity for 5, 6, 7 years, is that stability? No it isn't. It's just continuous failure. Stability is based on having the 'right man' at the helm for years and years. Not just 'a man'. In my opinion, the jury is still out as to whether Alan Pardew is the cast iron, without a shadow of a doubt, best man for this job. He's certainly not 8 years worth of certainty. We will only really know after this season and possibly only after the next. By this time he will nicely be into his 8 year deal safe in the knowledge that even if he is failing, even if he is underachieving, he isn't going anywhere.
All we can do now as a football club is hope. Hope that Pardew is a resounding success. Hope that he doesn't mess up what he has started. Hope that he doesn't take this football club to new depths. Hope that he doesn't do anything outside of football that may bring our football club into disrepute or unwanted headlines. I remember 2 pieces of bad publicity he received after making 'that' comment on MOTD2, as well as his bad press over what he called West Ham fans when he managed there (even though he was joking apparently). Things like this can happen. Hopefully such an issue like this may be resolvable within the contract if it were to happen but again, we're just hoping. It's also not known what contingency plans are in place in case things don't go as planned or even if Mike Ashley were to sell up and leave the new owners with a dilemma to face as regards to the manager they inherit, again, all we can do is hope on this one.
Basically, we have to hope that everything Derek Llambias and Mike Ashley have signed us all up to and are hoping happens...happens. Otherwise, it seems that Alan Pardew, no matter what he does from now on, completely unnecessarily and from no real desire from himself has the football club in Check Mate.
(Comments welcome. Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano)