By Andrew Kennedy
After much turmoil and upset during Mike Ashley’s spell on Tyneside, the Newcastle owner gave a staggering display of his commitment to the club on Thursday – by handing new eight-year contracts to Alan Pardew and his backroom staff.
Pardew has by far exceeded expectation since he replaced Chris Hughton in December 2010, first guiding the Magpies to Premier League safety before achieving Europa League qualification in the following season.
However, despite these successes, some may look at the new deal – which will see the 51-year-old remain at Sports Direct Arena until 2020 – as deserved, but unnecessarily long. And with three years remaining on Pardew’s current contract at the club, Ashley may have waited for a further display of Newcastle’s progress before rewarding his man.
Yet this is exactly what Ashley has found – his man. Not only has the former Southampton boss shown his managerial credentials, but he has done so within the tight budget constraints set out by the owner.
Results on the pitch have duly been followed up by results in the boardroom.
There is still work to be done on Pardew’s part. His side need to show stability in a season that will stretch their squad to its very limits, but he must also put into place the vision into which Ashley has bought.
But most crucially, Ashley himself has pledged his own desire to continue to build Newcastle into a profitable, stable, and successful club.
After an initial honeymoon period with the club’s fans that proved regrettable and unprofessional in hindsight, relations quickly soured between the two.
A successive number of unpopular managerial appointments and sackings followed, and the Sports Direct magnate soon looked for the exit door himself – reportedly attempting to secure a quick-fire sale of the club.
Yet now Ashley, along with the club’s fans, appears to have overcome the turmoil and found stability, and fundamental to this has been Pardew.
And after years of uncertainty, both owner and manager have bought into a long-term vision that can see Newcastle prosper on and off the field.Follow Andrew Kennedy on