Posted 10 May 2012 10:00PM
Roberto Mancini may have nine fingers on the Premier League trophy, - but with the blank chequeshe has at his disposal - so he should. Sir Alex Ferguson is without a doubt the best manager the Premier League - if not world football - has seen, but the way Manchester United ‘threw away’ the league by losing to Wigan and conceding four goals at Old Trafford to Everton in that epic draw, even Fergie himself cannot claim the title. So then surely,the title of ‘Manager of the Year’ must fall to a man whose team may not even make the top four?!
When Chris Hughton was sacked in controversial circumstances not long before Christmas in 2010, it was assumed that Newcastle’s owner, Mike Ashley, had a manager of great stature lined up to replace him.Hughton had led the Toon to promotion with his first attempt, winning the Championship by a massive 11-points, and his popularity among supporters increased further as the Geordie’s flirted with the mid-table positions on their return to the top-flight.
So when the announcement that AlanPardew, who had been sacked by League One Southampton hardly four months earlier, would succeed Hughton at St James' Park, fans were arguably right to once again voice their concerns at the capabilities of the club's hierarchy.Prior to joining Newcastle, Pardew's most prominent position had been as manager of West Ham, while the former Crystal Palace midfielder had not managed in the Premier League since being relegated with Charlton in 2008.
Yet, little over a year on from his appointment, Pardew was being heralded as the man to restore Newcastle's place among the Premier League's elite, with the Magpies losingjust once from August until mid-November, 2011.Only five wins in 14 games from then on threatened to derail hopes of Champions League qualification but, with one game of the season remaining, Newcastle still have an opportunity to finish in the top four, possibly even third.
Regardless of where Newcastle do finish come May 13, Pardew is, without question, the candidate most deserving of the top managerial honour.Such have the consistent highs been for Newcastle over the course of the campaign, it is often forgotten that they were gutted during the summer months, losing their captain Kevin Nolan and, arguably, their best player in Joey Barton.
Nolan was allowed to join West Ham, who offered him the security of a long-term deal, while the arrival of YohanCabaye at St James' Park led Barton to believe that his days too were numbered.Barton turned out to be correct, joining Queens Park Rangers when Newcastle agreed to terminate his contract after a number of vintage Joey Barton twitter rants.
Newcastle had, of course, also lost top scorer Andy Carroll only a few months earlier, and Pardew was forced to beg the board to invest a sizeable chunk of the £35 million made from his sale into the recruitment of new players.But the investment never came, instead Pardew had to settle for signing DembaBa, who had been relegated with West Ham, on a free transfer to compensate for the loss of Carroll.
So then it seemed Mike Ashely’s tight purse strings, by either luck or judgement, transpired to be a masterstroke, and Pardewgalvanized a side missing their two biggest personalities into one cohesive unit.
The acquisition of Ba proved to be inspired, while Cabaye instantly oozed class in the centre of midfield, and the decision to appoint FabricioColoccini club captain instantly paid dividends.The return of Hatem Ben Arfa helped too, and Pardew must be praised for the way in which he has dealt with the wizardry Frenchman, who has thrived under thePardew’sguidance.
How much influence Pardew has in player recruitment is open to debate, but he can also boast to have completed the capture of the season in PapissCisse.The goalscoring exploits of the Senegalese international have been so impressive since his January arrival that, according to reports, he is now a summer target for Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid.
Pardew hasn’t had the luxury of spending to the extent of his closest ladder rivals. Although with the inspired signings he has brought in coupled with a now cohesive dressing room, Pardew has led a team to overtake the likes of giants Liverpool and Chelsea, whilst breathing down the necks of the North London neighbours, Arsenal and Tottenham, in search of a Champions League place. With third place still not out of the question, Alan Pardew has definitely stuck his hand up for the Manager of the Year award – and then some.
Blog post written by Jon Contos, FDA