Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pardew's job is now untenable

Joe Kinnear is the new Director of Football at Newcastle United. Most people will wonder what does this job mean? Is Kinnear taking up an advisory role where he works in tandem with the manager and the club's scouts in targeting players? That's all you'd think he'd be doing because the manager has the final say in everything else to do with football, right?


So there you have it. Joe Kinnear is the new manager of Newcastle United (again). No, you say? Alan Pardew is the manager? True, that's what it says on his office door, it's what Sky Sports and BBC and the newspapers will call him but in reality he's lost control of one of the key aspects of being manager of a team: the personnel in his squad. From not having the final say over who's bought (the chief scout enjoys that) to not even having the final say over who's sold, Pardew's role is becoming more and more restricted.

Amazingly, losing control of who's sold is probably the least of Pardew's worries. Going by what Guardian journalist Daniel Taylor has tweeted above, Kinnear's "in charge of all football-related matters". That's a far broader role than being in charge of player recruitment and far more unnerving if you're Alan Pardew.

So Pardew has essentially been *demoted, but why wasn't he just plain sacked instead? He's clearly no longer trusted to make football decisions so why not stick Kinnear in as manager instead? In order to explain that we need look at why this appointment is being made in the first place and why replacing the manager was arguably justifiable but not realistic.

Newcastle were awful last season. The club lost 11 places and 24 points on the position it achieved in the league the previous year. Only for a very kind run-in, Newcastle would have been relegated. They tanked massively in a season where the bare minimum expected would have been a top-half finish.

After having such a poor season, most owners would justifiably consider replacing their manager.  But sacking Alan Pardew wasn't really an option.

Ditching Pardew would have been terribly embarrassing for Mike Ashley and Newcastle. After stating how the club wished to emulate the managerial philosophy of the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United, it would have looked awful had Newcastle parted company with an incumbent who is less than 12 months into an eight-year contract.

So they did the next 'best' thing they could, they significantly reduced his influence over the direction of the club. And what does this mean for Pardew? In my opinion, it leaves his job untenable. The terms and conditions he signed up for in September have been completely changed and if he has any integrity he should resign. He is no longer master of his own fate and the decisions he'll be judged by this season and in the seasons beyond will no longer be entirely his own.

In my opinion, you can't redesign the management structure of a business without sacking or reassigning personnel. Pardew is now a glorified coach, he's no longer manager, which was the job he was hired to do. This Independent piece states that he's prepared to continue provided Kinnear knows who's calling the shots. But from listening to Kinnear, I doubt he'll give a f***.

*I realise Pardew worked with a Director of Football in Derek Llambias but as Kinnear alluded to in a Talksport interview, he was more financially-orientated in his role and therefore wouldn't have had as big an influence on the sporting side.

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