Monday 24 July 2017

Pardew to take over Toon reins

Rob Stewart

NEWCASTLE UNITED owner Mike Ashley will insist that the manager who succeeds the sacked Chris Hughton must accept a highly incentivised contract based on results.

Former West Ham manager Alan Pardew looks likely to take the reins at St James' Park ahead of Saturday's visit of Liverpool as the likelihood of Martin Jol heading to Tyneside faded.

Jol's sudden departure from Ajax came with the news that the Dutchman is ready to take a break from football.

Pardew, though, is "strongly interested" in returning to work at Newcastle following his dismissal as Southampton manager earlier this season, but he will have to agree a deal that will be heavily linked to success in the North East.

It is understood that former Newcastle, Liverpool and England player Peter Beardsley, who is running first-team affairs on a temporary basis, is being lined up to be Pardew's right-hand man should a deal be struck.

Newcastle are believed to have spoken to Jol and another former West Ham manager, Alan Curbishley, but Pardew seems certain to be given the challenge of preserving the promoted club's top-flight status.

"The rules are going to be the same for any manager who comes in to replace Hughton," a reliable Newcastle source said. "Mike Ashley has sounded out two or three potential candidates and all have been told the same thing: they will be rewarded for results and results only.

"There will be no £1.5m signing-on fee and no compensation clauses in their contract. The bottom line is Mike wants value for money and, just as in his businesses, he expects to get it.

"The new manager will not be handed a treasure trove of cash to spend and nor will he be handed a contract which means he can be rewarded for failure. He will be handsomely rewarded if he brings success to Newcastle United and will not be rewarded if he fails.

Simple

"Mike wants an experienced manager at one of the biggest clubs in England. But he wants a manager on his terms and those terms are simple.

"Every penny has to be spent wisely and the club must continue to head in the right direction towards the top end of the Premier League."

Ashley's stance reflects his determination to stop the club haemorrhaging money, with centre-half Fabricio Coloccini's £85,000-per-week salary a constant reminder of the need to bring spending under control.

The Newcastle hierarchy have no intention of throwing money around to attract a managerial big-hitter, reflecting the frugal nature of Ashley's regime, which has been involved in a prolonged and unresolved dispute with his players over bonuses.

The source added:"It will be run along the same lines as how Mike pays top executives at Sports Direct -- a very good basic wage and big bonuses for results. It might be a lengthy contract; it could be a three or four-year deal buying into the vision."

Former Newcastle captain and interim manager Alan Shearer, has ruled himself out of replacing Hughton. "I won't be the next Newcastle manager," Shearer said. "I can guarantee you that.

"I wonder to myself where Newcastle think Newcastle they should be, if they think they should be higher than mid-table. I'm not being disrespectful to the squad, but they're not going to be in the top six or seven.

"That isn't Newcastle's season. Newcastle's season this year should be all about staying in the Premier League.

"For me, Chris was doing a very, very fine job."

Martin O'Neill has been the name on the lips of many supporters since Hughton lost his job. But, with Ashley determined to run the club as a financially sound business, any new manager would have to work within stringent guidelines, and O'Neill's dissatisfaction with the backing he received during the latter days of his reign at Aston Villa suggests the job on Tyneside may not be for him. There is also the matter of the pay -- after Blackpool's Ian Holloway Hughton was the lowest-paid manager in the Premier L:eague.

Pardew, in contrast, is itching for the chance to take charge of the Magpies.

After a playing career boasting more than 350 games for Crystal Palace, where he was a beaten FA Cup finalist in 1990, Charlton, Barnet and Reading, Pardew moved into management with the Royals in 1999.

His CV includes leading West Ham to promotion to the Premier League in 2005 and the FA Cup final 12 months later, where they lost to Liverpool.

He was sacked by West Ham in December 2006 and also suffered relegation from the Premier League that season after almost immediately being installed at Charlton.

Newcastle are in a far less parlous state than the south London club were back then, but whereas Pardew was partially absolved of blame for Charlton going down, any significant downturn in fortunes this time will be of his own making.

There are plenty of people waiting to say "told you so" to Ashley if it does.

Although Ashley's decision to dismiss Hughton has caused consternation among players and supporters, it was not taken as a kneejerk response to a sequence of five matches without victory, which culminated in last Sunday's dispiriting 3-1 defeat away to West Bromwich Albion.

Ashley and managing director Llambias viewed home matches against Blackpool, Stoke City, Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers and Fulham, from which Newcastle emerged winless, as cause for concern.

They may be 12th in the table, but directors believe that statistic is skewed by not having yet faced Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester United on their own grounds.

Another episode that conspired against Hughton, according to the club, was the exit of the highly respected Colin Calderwood, his assistant, seven weeks ago, to take the managerial role at Hibernian. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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