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Pardew leads the way in Newcastle manager race

Alan Pardew has emerged as the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed Chris Hughton as manager of Newcastle after Martin Jol reportedly turned down the job due to conditions imposed by owner Mike Ashley.

And it is now possible former Reading, West Ham, Charlton and Southampton boss Pardew, quoted as the 1/12 favourite by leading British boomaker William Hill, could be appointed by Newcastle before their match at home to Liverpool on Saturday, when reserve coach Peter Beardsley will be in caretaker charge.

Newcastle, despite being in a respectable 11th place in the Premier League after winning promotion last season, sacked Hughton — the man who took them back into the top flight — on Monday.

Nothing in Pardew’s record suggests he will be a significantly better manager but he does fit the profile of the man Newcastle appeared to be looking for after sacking Hughton on Monday when they said “an individual with more managerial experiences is needed to take the club forward”.

Former Tottenham manager Jol, who had Hughton as his assistant while at White Hart Lane, was linked with the vacancy at St James’ Park after quitting as manager of fallen Dutch giants Ajax on Monday.

It has since emerged that Ashley, a millionaire businessman who made his fortune building up Britain’s Sports Direct chain of shops, wants to employ a new manager on a results-based contract with no signing-on fee or any other similar inducements to move to the north-east side.

Ashley has also made it clear the new manager will have to do without funds for expensive new signings, having called a halt to major spending on players at St James’ some 18 months ago after being appalled at the 10 million pounds spent on centre-half Fabricio Coloccini signed by former director of football Dennis Wise.

A Newcastle ‘source’ quoted by Wednesday’s Daily Express said: “The bottom line is Mike Ashley wants value for money and, just as in his business, he expects to get it.

“The new manager will not be handed a treasure trove of cash to spend and nor will he be rewarded if he fails.

“The club will be run along the same lines that Mike pays his top executives at Sports Direct — a very good basic wage but big bonuses for results.”

Ashley has got through several managers since inheriting Sam Allardyce following his takeover of Newcastle from former chairman Freddy Shepherd back in January 2008.

In between all the comings and goings at St James’, Hughton had several stints as a caretaker before getting the job on a permanent basis last year.

Hughton, despite widespread acclaim, was for several months a short-odds candidate to be sacked, a status which appeared to owe much to Newcastle’s delay in offering the former Republic of Ireland international a new contract.

Whoever takes over at St James’ will have a big job on his hands.

For all their large and passionate fan-base consider Newcastle to be a ‘big club’, the fact remains it is more than 40 years since they last won a major trophy — the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, a forerunner of the Europa League.

And the wait for domestic success has been even longer, with the last of Newcastle’s six FA Cup triumphs coming in 1955 while it is 83 years since they were last crowned champions of England.

Wed 8 December, 2010
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