Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughKarma Sides with Pardew - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Karma Sides with Pardew - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Karma Sides with Pardew

A little over a year ago Alan Pardew was wandering around the managerial wilderness, still coming to terms with the fact he was not in tenure of a side he had brought a trophy in the cabinet, a top ten finish (made even more impressive by the significant points deduction granted at the start of the season), and a sense of stability. 

Things at Southampton were pulling in the right direction for the first time since their demise which saw them fall from the Premier League to League One, but egos and charismatic clashes meant that Nicola Cortese dismissed the man who had brought St Mary’s the joy of a trophy, something no one else had managed since 1976. 

If the ecstasy of a cup triumph wasn’t enough to fall back on, the result immediately before Pardew’s sacking was a 4-0 demolition of Bristol Rovers, hardly signs of a catastrophe beneath the surface as suggested by those high up the Saints hierarchy. Cortese, acting on hearsay, dismissed Pardew amidst rumours that there was unrest amongst the back room staff, something clearly not emulating onto the pitch. 

Unless you are Cortese himself or in fact rather naive, you will have come to the conclusion along with the almost absolute majority of Saints fans, that there was more to the sacking that came to light. But out of the dark alley of motives came a blinding beacon of Cortese’s real motives behind Pardew’s ushering away from St Mary’s. 


The previous league campaign saw Southampton starting from rock bottom with a disparaging points total of minus 10, the FA’s quire on-field punishment for poor off-field misdemeanour’s resulting in financial difficulty. But that’s a different quarrel. After taking over from Mark Wotte, Pardew led his Southampton side to a 7th place finish, only missing out on the play-offs with two games remaining. Hardly an underachievement given the circumstances, but Cortese felt displeasure at the final standings, something he would bottle until the fateful sacking on 30th August 2010. 


Pardew left Southampton as title favourites, something largely due to his signings, including £1 million man Rickie Lambert from Bristol Rovers, and fellow striker Lee Barnard, both of which incidentally are still leading the Saints line as they look to conquer their latest challenge, the Championship. 


But Pardew is much more than a shroud business man in the transfer market, the Londoner has a unique, and priceless ability to motivate and install unrivalled belief in his players, even at Southampton (who were languishing in the third tier of English football) he made the players feel far too good for their level, something which was transferred onto the pitch with impressive results, under both Pardew’s and now Nigel Adkins tenure. 

A little over 3 months since that ominous meeting with Nicola Cortese, Pardew found himself catapulted into the heavenly clouds of the English game, the Premier League. Another controversial sacking this time at Newcastle United at the hands of yet another slightly off-centre owner – Mike Ashley – opened the door for a otherwise lost Pardew, who had been floating about the sporting media like a lost soul.  A poll of 40,000 Newcastle United fans found that only 5.5% of them wanted Pardew as their next man in charge. Was Pardew’s new role a blessing from karma or a disaster waiting to happen?

Clearly, karma was on the 50-year-old’s side as in his first game in charge in front of 52,000 Geordies full to the brim of uncertainty and unexpectedness, Newcastle ran out 3-1 winners of Liverpool, a result sure to pang in the ears of Cortese and Southampton’s board, who still featured several pages further in the sports pages in the county’s third tier. 

A FA Cup giant killing didn’t help the sceptics after United lost 3-1 to Stevenage Borough, but an infamous 4-4 draw with Arsenal lamented Pardew’s arrival back in managerial know-how, after coming from four goals down to claim a extraordinary point off of Arsene Wenger’s side.

A respectable 12th place finish fired a poignant message to those accountable for his St Mary’s departure, and his start to the current season will once again shake down the centre of Cortese’s spine, setting a Newcastle United record with an unbeaten run to the season of 11 games. In fact. his Newcastle side lie in the Champions League spots out right, and have picked up one more point than Chelsea and just one less than reigning champions Manchester United.

This managerial fairytale is no less than Pardew deserves. His controversial past should have no bearing on the clear disloyalty shown to him by Southampton, his rewards for leading the Saints to their first trophy in 35 years and propping them up for promotion should have been at St Mary’s, but instead he reaps the much larger congratulations of steering a side blighted by disharmony and uncertainty into a Champions League spot, looking like a side ready to conquer the stalwarts of the English game. 

Cortese and Southampton’s loss is very much Newcastle and the Premier League’s gain.

Alex O’Loughlin

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