Alan Pardew was officially appointed as manager of Newcastle United four years ago today, on December 9, 2010. It was an unpopular appointment at the time, and he continues to be an enigmatic personality on Tyneside. We'd like to pause to remember a bit about Pardew's last four years.
Today, Newcastle United sit in 7th place, 13 points away from both first place Chelsea and last place Leicester City. For a club that has finished 12th, 5th, 16th, and 10th since being promoted, it's somehow strangely poetic. Under Pardew, Newcastle have either been abject or on the verge of putting together something really special, but are never found anywhere in the middle, even if their position in the table signals mediocrity. Last season, where the Magpies sat in 6th place on Boxing Day and gained just 14 points afterward and finished 10th, is the most extreme example. It's worth mentioning that they only drew 4 matches that season, the lowest total in the league. Even the 2011-12 season was uneven. They started with a rather famous 11-match unbeaten streak, but many people forget that they immediately followed that with a 6-game stretch in which they earned just two points. The 16th place season also featured a run to the quarterfinals of the Europa League.
Periods of feast and famine have become the norm on Tyneside, and how you feel about that probably depends on what you've already decided about Pardew. If you're for him, you admire his resiliency and ability to pull the club out of a skid. If you're against him, the inconsistency is maddening.
Indeed, the Pardew era has been full of maddening bits, much of it real (negative tactics, inane waddle after a disappointing result, freezing out of promising young players) and perhaps much more of it imagined (players suddenly losing their talent under his tutelage, the halftime speech meme, a supposed inability to integrate French players).
We've spilled plenty of digital ink calling for his head for these and other reasons, but today, we celebrate the resilience of a man who has done what nobody would have thought possible in 2010: he's survived Mike Ashley. So far. Whether it's been his decision or not, he's overseen the departures of the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, Andy Carroll, and a ton of effective complementary pieces. He's also remade the team in his own image, whatever that is. After 4 years, I'm still not 100% sure what Pardew's system would be if he were given total control of personnel. In any case, he's survived, despite numerous sideline confrontations and almost as many demonstrations and walkouts at St James' Park. In all competitions, he's amassed a record of 67 wins, 41 draws, and 69 losses, which sums up his tenure just about perfectly.
Happy anniversary, Alan Pardew. You made it four years, and you are currently the second-most tenured manager in the Premier League. Only six and a half years left to go.