Pardew relishing Ashley talks
Published 14/05/2014 | 12:27
Alan Pardew is confident he will get a sympathetic ear from Newcastle owner Mike Ashley as the pair attempt to find a way forward.
The two men are meeting this week to carry out a debrief after a difficult season and decide on a summer transfer strategy, although their discussions are far from showdown talks.
Both men have come under fire from disgruntled fans in recent weeks, but in the short term at least, there appears to be no prospect of either going anywhere.
Pardew knows he has challenging questions to answer after a campaign of two halves, but insists the annual get-together is far from confrontational.
He said: "I think it's important he understands some of the problems I have had. We can talk through some things I think need to improve.
"Although he has a reputation of being aggressive, he's a better listener. That's why he has had such great success.
"He doesn't really say much. He listens and comes back to me, sometimes 48 hours after, and draws some conclusions from what I have said.
"It's not like there's too much hollering and shouting, it's more a case for Mike to listen to the problems I have had.
"Then he reflects on the budget and everything else to see how he can help me."
Pardew needs significant help this summer with a replacement for midfielder Yohan Cabaye and a complete rebuild of the striking department the priorities.
Cabaye's departure for Paris St Germain in January and the failure to replace him were the central factors in a second-half collapse, and plugging that gap will be key.
However, it is up front where Pardew, chief scout Graham Carr and newly-appointed managing director Lee Charnley face their biggest challenge.
Loic Remy spent last season on loan at St James' Park from QPR and the prospect of securing a permanent deal has receded in recent months.
Luuk de Jong joined him from Borussia Monchengladbach in January on a similar basis and failed to make a significant impression, while long-serving Nigeria international Shola Ameobi is out of contract and unlikely to be handed an extension.
There will be other vacancies too with Dan Gosling approaching the end of his current deal and the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan and Sammy Ameobi having become peripheral figures as the season drew to a close.
The success or otherwise of the mission to plug those gaps could go a long way towards determining whether or not the Magpies can win over supporters, whose patience has worn critically thin after two transfer windows during which not a single permanent signing was made.