There will come a point where a football club must make a decision. They either plan to improve or plan to recycle. You could call it the Pardew predicament. West Brom are the latest to sink into the mire.
Nobody is saying that Alan Pardew is a bad manager. The problem may not even be him – it may be the Premier League environment that engulfs his metaphorical local job centre. The Baggies have played just 154 competitive fixtures where a manager not from Great Britain or Ireland has been in charge.
Those managers were Ossie Ardiles, Roberto Di Matteo and Pepe Mel.
Ardiles was sacked by Newcastle before taking the role; Di Matteo came from doing an alright job at MK Dons and Mel was sacked by Real Betis.
If Pardew is in a position to exploit that conservative approach and take advantage of clubs’ seemingly endless need to just ‘exist’, then more power to him and his swagger. Birmingham nightclubs won’t have seen anything like this before.
There’s always the possibility of course, that managers are trendy and marketable. It will only be a matter of time before clubs stop hiding that fact. Pardew – for all his bizarre tendencies and uncanny ability to resemble yer da post-divorce – demands coverage and attention.
Countless column inches will be given to this appointment and his antics on the touchline.
Is this a bad thing? That’s down to your perspective, truth be told. Bringing extra media attention to a club affords you the chance to bring more bargaining power to the table with prospective sponsors. It can also undermine the credibility of a manager if he can’t duly explain that slant to a dressing room.
This isn’t a rant against ‘local’ managers. It certainly isn’t a knock on Pardew who can boast some form in the Premier League. He’s won a Premier League Manager of the Year award during his time at Newcastle. Not too many can boast that. However, by the time you’ve read his list of controversies, Leeds will have appointed and sacked six new managers.
Pardew headbutted David Meyler in March 2014. He was fined £160,000 in total for that. He should also have to compensate the Football Association of Ireland as that headbutt is the only reason we failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Just saying.
You take the potentially good with the proven dodgy track record.
Something doesn’t quite add up, of course. Not that mathematics can truly come into the equation when the same managers are passed around midtable sides. Perhaps, if equations aren’t the key to finding the answer – then straight figures are.
If you can prove you’re able to maintain a position at a football club in the top tier of English football, then you’re a valued commodity. That kind of minnowist thinking certainly doesn’t sit well with the ‘Best League in the World’ mantra. It certainly won’t sit well with the fans who’ll be chanting for him to be sacked in a year’s time.
Yet, they still fill the Hawthorns in their droves, and the moneymen bathe in the gate receipts. Sometimes blind loyalty provides a platform for stagnation.
Sometimes headbutting a fellow professional and dancing like a twat for attention can enhance your bank balance.