As we reported yesterday, Alan Pardew is likely to become the next Newcastle United manager. I say likely because it hasn't been officially reported yet, but many are speaking as if he's already been named. Since there are literally no other legitimate options out there that haven't been turned off by the prospect of working for Mike Ashley, I'd say this is a safe wager, which is why betting has been closed on the scenario for quite some time now. No matter, Ashley and Pardew will have plenty of time to hit the casino together in the coming years.
The apparent reason that Chris Hughton was sacked was that he was viewed by the club as a coach and not as a manager. What a joke. I've run out of ways to describe how incredibly dumb this decision was. (Luke Edwards, The Journal)
This article by Luke Edwards of The Journal is a fairly typical review of where the search for a replacement stands, but it's interesting because Edwards intones that the board of directors think they'll mend fences with the fans by who they've selected. The exact quote is mind-boggling:
Newcastle United are confident the man they have lined up to replace Chris Hughton will end any simmering discontent surrounding his departure as manager.Former Toon chairman Freddy Shepherd has come out as the lone voice of support for Mike Ashley. (Harry Harris, ESPN Soccernet)
The hill that Pardew faces due in some part to the foul mood of the Toon Army is ably described by Simon Bird of The Mirror.
To add insult to injury, Southampton chair Nicola Cortese came out and said that he made the right choice in sacking Pardew, claiming that things had improved since he left. Yes, you read that right: League One side Southampton is happy to be rid of Pardew. (MirrorFootball)
Protests are being planned on several websites, including Twitter, where we hang out a lot (Shameless plug alert!). Here is just one of them. It'll be quite an accomplishment if all of the fans attending on Saturday can coordinate something that actually causes Ashley and the board to sit up and take notice, but I'm not holding my breath, honestly.
December is the beginning of silly season for transfer rumors anyway, but be prepared to hear of even more teams that want to swoop in and capitalize on any discontent that may arise in the Magpie dressing room. Today the rumors are about Jonas Gutierrez and the already grumpy Steven Taylor. (CaughtOffside and MirrorFootball, respectively)