Pardew confirmed as Newcastle manager
Alan Pardew was today confirmed as the new Newcastle United manager after days of speculation.
The 49-year-old has signed a five-and-a-half-year contract and takes over from Chris Hughton, who was sacked on Monday. Pardew's first task will be to galvanise a dressing room stunned by Hughton's untimely departure and to persuade the club's disgruntled fans that he is the man to take the club forward.
Pardew will be officially unveiled at a press conference at St James' Park at 2.30pm this afternoon. He said: "I am honoured and privileged to have been given this opportunity at Newcastle United, one of the truly great clubs in English football.
"I understand what this club means to its supporters. Throughout the football world people recognise that this is a unique club in many ways, with supporters who are second to none in their loyalty, passion and devotion for the team.
"I'm not a Geordie, of course, but I'm a football person with a love of the game and I can assure you I bring great drive, desire and commitment to the job."
Pardew was installed as the bookmakers' favourite in the wake of Hughton's departure after months of rumours that he was being lined up to replace the former Republic of Ireland international.
The former Reading, West Ham United, Charlton Athletic and Southampton manager has been out of work since losing his job at St Mary's Stadium in August. He will be charged with the task of implementing owner Mike Ashley's long-term plan for the club after three-and-a-half years of turmoil.
However, he acknowledged the job Hughton did in stabilising the Magpies and is determined to build upon his work, starting with Saturday evening's Premier League clash with Liverpool at St James' Park.
Pardew said: "Chris Hughton did a great job last season, guiding the club back to the Premier League, and he continued that good work this season. It is my aim to build on that now and take this club forward. I have always managed teams that have played attacking positive football, something I know the supporters here appreciate.
"At the same time, I intend to focus on developing exciting young players through the club's excellent Academy and development squad, and I know the board here at St James' Park are very committed to that too. I can't wait to get started, and what better way to kick off than welcoming Liverpool to St James' Park on Saturday?"
Fans unhappy with change
Pardew inherits a club currently sitting in 12th place in the Premier League table, but one which has taken just two points from the past 15 on offer. The Magpies head into the clash with a resurgent Liverpool having not won since their remarkable 1-0 victory at Arsenal on 7 November, which came a week after they trounced arch-rivals Sunderland 5-1.
They have collected 19 points to date, roughly half of the accepted target for survival, but have won only two of their eight home games, and that has become an increasing concern despite a creditable 1-1 draw with champions Chelsea in their last outing on Tyneside.
Pardew will have an early opportunity to address that situation on Saturday evening, and will also have a chance to assess how well his appointment has been received. Despite his favouritism with the bookies, reaction to his impending arrival has been less than effusive, although results on the pitch will largely determine his relationship with supporters still fuming at Ashley's decision to part company with Hughton.