It has been widely reported that Mike Ashley's PR guru Keith Bishop has really been earning his wage these past few weeks. In response to the sackpardew.com campaign which has been run in a professional and fact packed manner the club have been issuing baseless slurs on the protesters and messages of support for Pardew via a wide range of individuals either still on the payroll or with a lingering association to Ashley.
Pardew's old mates like Curbishley and Bright have been rolled out to say what a good bloke he is. Current and ex Newcastle Players like Cisse, Williamson and Cabaye have been roped in for a favour and some positive words, even older ex-players like Olivier Bernard (doing himself no harm as he looks to build links between Durham and Newcastle United) have done the club a favour and backed the sitting duck. Among all of the nice things people have had to say about Pardew though there's one thing lacking, substance. Not one of them is able to refute any of the facts that have placed Pardew in this mess. None can point to any tangible reason he should not be sacked, beyond being a good bloke and trying his best.
I'd like to concentrate on two of the most pernicious interviews to gain some traction in recent days though. First Pardew himself has been sent out by the club and attempted to gain sympathy for himself.
Alan Pardew's friends and family were not part of this debate until Alan Pardew made them a part of it. In a disgusting attempt to elicit sympathy Pardew has used his family to emotionally blackmail people to lay off from making perfectly justified criticism. I've never witnessed anything like it in football before. A manager hiding behind his wife and kids. [CORRECTION, I have seen it once, from Mike Ashley himself, and it was a lie then too] I have seen very little personal abuse for Pardew, a "sack pardew" sign is not abusive. If Alan Pardew's family are in any way distressed by the reaction that his performances as manager have generated, then he is the only man in any position to do something about it for their sake. Either improve performances or be a decent man, husband and father and walk away.
Next Up Dennis Wise has crawled from beneath whatever rock he was hiding under to defend his old employer, twice. Trite claims that Newcastle fans hate southerners play well everywhere but the North East, where the list of players and managers from the south to have been embraced has been so often recited it doesn't need repeating. The fact that they're entirely baseless claims is neither here nor there to Wise, Ashley and Bishop. Wise followed this up with the outright lie that Ashley has cleared the club debt and is honest, just look at the history of this blog for evidence to the contrary. Wise conveniently forgets his own role in growing the debt, throwing £5m+ at one of the worst signings in the history of the club, Xisco, against the wishes of the manager who left soon after. Xisco barely played a game under ANY manager at Newcastle.
These tactics come as no surprise to those of us who read the findings of the Keegan tribunal. Ashley and his employees in the club are liars. Keith Bishop wasn't linked to that sorry saga though, for an idea of the kind of man he is, read this report on his involvement with the Cheryl Tweedy case.
Mr Bishop, who was never called to give evidence, arrived within hours and began a debriefing session on the dance floor with those staff who had been involved. Of all the witnesses in the case, it was only those at the debriefing who claimed that Tweedy had used racist abuse.
The victim of the assault did not make any mention of racism in her first statement to police while she was being treated in hospital. It was only after she had returned to the club and met the PR agent and then spoken to the Sunday Mirror later in the day that the allegations emerged.
Mr Endersby, who has since left the club, admitted he thought Mr Bishop had been paid for arranging an exclusive deal with the newspaper. Tweedy's barrister, Richard Matthews, said this was clear evidence of "a decision to put a certain story forward".
Philip White, the bouncer who first intervened in the row and was one of those to make the allegation of racism, said he was told only to speak to the newspaper. He has since left the club.
Tweedy said she did not even know what some of the words she was alleged to have used - most notoriously jigaboo - were supposed to mean. She always maintained that she had not used the crucial word black. No other witnesses in the case, including other women in the toilet and VIP lounge, and a doorman, mentioned racist abuse.
Bishop is working for a man with a history of lying, with his own history of getting people to for the sake of PR and is currently pushing a web of lies to prop up one of the worst managers ever to have darkened the doorstep of St James' Park.