This post was written at the start of October, prior to the Leicester game.
In 2011 Bleacher Report compiled a list of the “Top 10 Worst Managerial Reigns in English Football History”. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the people that made that list, it does highlight some of the worst examples of mismanagement any clubs have suffered through.
I went searching for such a list because talking to fans of other clubs, they seem to think Pardew is not doing such a bad job. I wanted to see how Pardew’s recent record at Newcastle compares to the absolute bottom of the barrell at other clubs. I’ve taken the total number of league games that each of the 10 examples in the Bleacher Report article managed to stay in their job and gone back that many games in Pardew’s Newcastle record.
Time and again Pardew is left wanting, even in comparison to the very worst managers.
Pardew v Ardiles (Newcastle)
We all know about this Ardiles spell. He managed Newcastle for 42 games and left the club one from bottom of the second tier in serious jeopardy of falling into the third, a situation that it took Keegan to rescue us from. Ardiles won just 8 games and drew 16. With 14 wins and 7 draws Pardew won slightly more points (49 v 40 points), but it’s remarkably close. Pardew has lost half of his last 42 games which means he’s actually lost more than Ardiles (21 v 18 Lost). Pardew has also failed to score in twice as many games over the same period (18 v 9 FTS) and scored fewer goals in total (49 v 57 for).
Pardew v Ball (Manchester City)
Alan Ball and Francis Lee were supposed to be the Man City heroes that restored them to glory, but they quickly got the club relegated in 1996 and continued to look poor in the second tier dropping to 15th place which meant the end for the world cup winner. Pardew has put more points on the board (46 v 41 points) than Ball managed in this tenure, but again, it’s very close, with Pardew losing more games (21 v 20 lost) failing to score more frequently (18 v 14 FTS) and conceding more (67 v 58 conceded).
Pardew v Santini (Tottenham)
Jacques Santini had a short spell in England in charge of Spurs but was quickly moved on as he failed to win the games or score the goals Spurs fans demand. Over 11 games though, he was more effective than Pardew, he may not have scored as many (12 v 6 scored) but his defence was far tighter (20 v 8 conceded; 2 v 5 clean sheets) which led to more wins (1 v 3 wins), less defeats (6 v 4 lost) and more points (7 v 13 points). Despite leaving Pardew in the shade, Santini has not managed a club since.
Pardew v Holloway (Leicester)
Ian Holloway took over Leicester in 17th place in the Championship in November 2007 and promptly got them relegated to League One by the following May in 22nd place with just 9 wins and 8 draws from 31 games. This is still a better return than Pardew has given Newcastle over the past 31 games (30 v 35 points). Pardew has failed to score more frequently than Holloway’s Leicester (17 v 12 FTS), kept fewer clean sheets (7 v 12 CS), conceded more goals (51 v 33 against), won less (8 v 9 won), lost more (17 v 14) and has a Goal Difference four times as bad (-20 v -5 GD).
Pardew v Gunn (Norwich)
Bryan Gunn lasted just 19 league games at Norwich City. It was his first and last managerial appointment. Taking up the position in January 2009 with Norwich 21st in the championship, he still got them relegated in 22nd place. The Norwich board clearly felt he needed more time and stuck with him for the summer and into the new League 1 season. That patience lasted for one solitary game in which Gunn led his team to a 7-1 home drubbing from Colchester. This disastrous reign still provided more cheer than Pardew’s last 19 games though. Gunn had more wins (4 v 5 won), less defeats (11 v 9 lost), more goals (18 v 24 for), more clean sheets (4 v 5 CS), less conceded (34 v 27 against), a vastly superior goal difference (-16 v -3 GD) and most importantly, more points (16 v 20 points).
Pardew v Reid (Coventry)
Peter Reid arrived at Coventry claiming he would be taking them "where they belonged", whether he achieved that in taking them from 12th in the championship to 20th and in fear of relegation to the third tier would be a cruel thing to suggest, but it’s not what he intended. Despite his failed 8 month stint, things still went better than Pardew’s last 8 months. Over 28 games Reid won more (6 v 8 won), lost less (17 v 12 lost), failed to score more rarely (17 v 6 fts), scored more (26 v 34 for), conceded less (50 v 44 against), had a better goal difference (-24 v -10 GD) and is another example of a disastrous appointment that won more points than Pardew has managed, in this case over 28 games (23 v 32 points).
Pardew v Dowie (Charlton)
Charlton had finished 13th the season before Ian Dowie took over. By November he walked away after 12 league games with the club rock bottom of the Premier league. But those 12 games weren’t as bad as Pardew’s last 12. Dowie won more (1 v 2 won), failed to score more rarely (6 v 5 fts), kept more clean sheets (2 v 4 CS) conceded less (21 v 18 against), and won more points in total (7 v 8 points).
Pardew v Jewell (Derby)
Paul Jewell’s stint at derby is quite simply the worst managerial run of results in the whole list. This is the man who broke Sunderland’s record for worst Premier League performance in history, getting relegated with a paltry 11 points and then dropping to 18th in the second tier before leaving the club. Despite this, his Derby side still scored in more of their games than Pardew’s Newcastle have managed in their last 50 games (23 v 21 fts).
Pardew v Knighton (Carlisle)
Something of a joke in the football world, Knighton had a claimed UFO sighting. He made a bid to buy Man United, appearing before one of their games in full kit and performing keepy ups on the pitch. When that fell through he went and bought Carlisle United instead. As owner he decided he could do a better job than existing popular Manager Mervyn Day so he sacked him and took up the reigns. The club were swiftly relegated and with Knighton still in charge plummeted down the 3rd tier too. Still, Knighton could send out a team that would score more goals than Pardew (65 v 71 for), would score in more games (26 v 17 FTS) and that would concede fewer (98 v 83 against), overall resulting in a better goal difference (-33 v -12 GD)
Pardew v Clough (Leeds)
Of all the managers on this list, Brian Clough is one that shows even the greatest of managers can go through a bad experience. Clough had won the league title with Derby County before taking the Leeds job, “he finished 5th” pales into insignificance in comparison to such achievements, but even that evidence of his class wasn’t enough to save a man who was simply not getting the performances from his players that the club he had taken over demanded. At Leeds, Clough won more than Pardew has at Newcastle in his most recent comparable run of games (0 v 1 won), he conceded fewer (11 v 8 against) and won more points (4 v 5 points) yet still (THE) Brian Clough was not someone that was given the opportunity of more time to turn it around, but Alan Pardew is.