Remembering Peak Alan Pardew at Newcastle United

Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew's 8-year Newcastle contract is finally about to expire | Stu Forster/Getty Images

On 27 September 2012, Alan Pardew was rewarded for winning the 2011/12 Manager of the Season award with Newcastle United.

His reward?

An infamous eight-year contract. Eight.

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Pardew led Newcastle to the Europa League in 2011/12 | AFP/Getty Images

The club believed that Pardew was the man. He could keep them in Europe and restore Newcastle to their former glory, and by 30 June 2020, when that contract would expire, the Magpies would be back among the world's elite.

"If you look at clubs like Manchester United and Arsenal, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger have shown that stability gives you the best platform to achieve success, and that is the model we wish to emulate here," then-director Derek Llambias told the club's official website when announcing the mammoth contract.

Less than three years later, and Pardew was on his way to Crystal Palace, and he'd join and leave two further clubs before that eight-year contract was up.

Now, we could sit here and rip Newcastle to shreds for just how ridiculous this whole mess was, but there's no fun in that. Instead, let's reminisce about some of Pardew's best moments with the Magpies, and why he is rightly viewed as a cult hero in England.

When he wasn't masterminding some unbelievable highs or some depressing lows (there was never any middle ground), Pardew was busy giving us some of the Premier League's most iconic moments.

When he first joined in 2010, Pardew was hardly the most popular figure, but he wasted little time in winning fans over. A 3-1 win over Liverpool in his first game was quickly followed by that 4-4 draw with Arsenal.

Things really kicked off in the 2011/12 season, when Pardew managed to recruit Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba and Papiss Cissé. The trio helped lead Newcastle to fifth in the Premier League, ahead of both Chelsea and Liverpool, and it was that form which earned him the contract extension.

Not only did that season bring us some iconic footballing memories, but it was the start of Pardew's iconic legacy at Newcastle. His side were awarded a penalty in a Tyne and Wear derby against Sunderland in March 2012, prompting Pardew to leap with joy directly in the face of opposite number Martin O'Neill.

Alan Pardew, Martin O' Neill
Pardew didn't exactly get on with Martin O'Neill | Stu Forster/Getty Images

Pards squared straight up to O'Neill, no questions asked. Newcastle didn't even score the penalty.

This feisty side of Pardew was freed from its cage once more in August of that year when he pushed a linesman during a victory over Tottenham Hotspur - an act which got him sent to the stands. All because he wasn't happy with a throw-in call. The picture of the incident is amazing, by the way. Keep scrolling.

Unfortunately, as it was always going to, the positivity began to fade away from St James' Park. Ba was sold in January 2013, Cissé forgot how to be good and the mighty Cabaye wasn't good enough to carry an entire team.

The second half of the 2013/14 season saw Newcastle collapse, and Pardew was hit with torrents of abuse from fans. Owner Mike Ashley was more popular at St James' than Pards, and that's saying something.

Soon after, the cocky Pardew appeared to unravel. He was caught calling Manuel Pellegrini a "f*****g old c**t" in early 2014 (despite only being eight years younger than the Chilean), before headbutting Hull City's David Meyler a few months later.

Well, I say headbutt, it was more of a gentle tap with his forehead, which probably made the whole thing funnier.

Alan Pardew, David Meyler
Pardew headbutted David Meyler during a meeting with Hull City | Tony Marshall/Getty Images

It was at that point that Pardew lost his marbles.

While fans were protesting in their thousands and overloading the PardewOut.com servers, the boss was doing his utmost to get Newcastle going again. If you need any evidence of that, go watch his happy little jig he directed at Remy Cabella in August 2014 to try and cheer the Frenchman up mid-game.

Pards even flashed him the most forced, unnatural smile in an attempt to encourage Cabella to relax. Was it creepy? Oh totally. But did it work?

No. No it did not.

Soon after that incident, Pardew upped sticks and was off to Palace, where he gave us his iconic FA Cup final dance and the stunning revelation that he actually had 'Pards' written on his training gear.

He's a special breed of man, but if you're still doubting that fact, I'll leave you with a story from former West Ham United photographer Stevie Bacon's book, There's Only One Stevie Bacon.

"I sat down with Pardew…and fitness coach Tony Strudwick, who now works for Manchester United and has done very well for himself. We ordered our meals and suddenly Pardew asked us all what were were having. I think Eddie said he’d gone for the chicken, while I’d chosen the steak.


"Pards then turned to Struds, who revealed whatever it was he’d asked for. ‘That sounds good,’ said Pards. ‘Tell you what; if yours is better than mine when it turns up, I’m having that'. That was one of the things he’d always say: 'I’m having that'. ‘See that bloke’s haircut. I’m having that.’ He said it all the time. Anyway, I wasn’t ‘having that’ at all. So I said ‘Well, you’re certainly not having my dinner. You’ll get a fork in the back of your hand!’ Pardew sort of laughed, before turning back to Struds and saying, ‘Yeah, if yours is better than mine, I’m having that.’

"Our meals eventually arrived and Pards looked at Tony and said, ‘Yeah, I was right, yours definitely looks much better than mine; I’m having that.’ And he went to swap the plates over. ‘You can’t do that!’ I said. ‘What do you mean?’ he asked. ‘You can’t just take somebody’s else’s dinner,’ I said in disbelief. And he replied, without any hint of a joke, ‘When you’re the King, you can do anything'."

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