NEWCASTLE United manager Alan Pardew will not face the sack over his headbutt on Hull City midfielder David Meyler.
It is understood that the 52-year-old’s job is safe, despite calls for his head following the ugly incident at the KC Stadium on Saturday, which League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan branded “unacceptable and inappropriate”.
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is understood to be furious at Pardew’s conduct and the club announced late on Saturday night that he has been fined £100,000 and been severely reprimanded. However, while the former Reading, West Ham, Charlton and Southampton manager is likely to face action from the Football Association the Magpies will not impose further punishment.
Pardew’s latest touchline misdemeanour came with his side leading the Tigers 3-1 and well on their way to a 4-1 Barclays Premier League victory.
Meyler shoved his way past him in the technical area as he chased the ball when it ran out of play, and the Newcastle manager reacted angrily, confronting the player before moving his head towards him. After the ensuing melée had abated, referee Kevin Friend cautioned Meyler and sent Pardew to the stands, from where he watched the remainder of the game.
He made a swift apology in his post-match interviews, one which was accepted by opposite number Steve Bruce, but that did not prevent his club from taking a dim view of his behaviour.
LMA boss Bevan was equally unimpressed, and told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme: “The buck stops with Alan. It’s unacceptable, it’s inappropriate and it’s insupportable from every perspective and Alan knows that He immediately realised the serious error, [made] sincere apologies and obviously [has] deep regret. It was good to see Steve Bruce’s reaction and Hull accepting [Pardew’s apology]. But Alan does need to think hard about how not to put himself in that position again.”
Pardew said after the match he would have to “to sit down and stay out of the way” in future rather than roam his technical area, to avoid getting embroiled in similar incidents. Bevan added: “I was pleased to see Newcastle in a very short period of time making a very swift, professional response that provided Alan with a very heavy fine and a formal warning.”
Bevan also said the LMA was reviewing the technical area with a view to moving managers further away from the action. He added: “We did a technical report six or seven months ago, interviewing 40 referees and 40 managers, and we’re looking at the moment [at] how the technical area works in America, for example, in other sports and seeing how we can look to improve several problems that occur because of the positioning.”
Bevan admitted the tight confines of some of the old grounds would pose a problem, with the manager also needing to be kept out of the fans. He added: “But what we can do is make a serious effort to look at how the technical area should be placed.”
Former FA executive director David Davies said a suspension for the rest of the season was “conceivable”, describing it as “a very serious matter which I suspect will be dealt with very severely”.
Newcastle fans’ spokesman Mark Jensen, editor of online fanzine, www.themag.co.uk, said: “Certainly in the major leagues in Europe, it’s hard to think of any instances where something similar has happened.
“Pardew does seem to stand on the touchline for virtually the whole match. Some people say he loves being the centre of attention. I don’t know if that’s it or whether he just wants to have the best view of the game. But, whatever it is, you look to the manager to lead by example. For me, the saddest thing is Newcastle played better than they have for about two months but, naturally, all anybody wants to talk about is that incident.”
Pardew had earlier in the year criticised Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger for failing to field an English player in the Champions League match against Real Madrid and matters came to a head in West Ham’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal. Then West Ham boss Pardew’s enthusiastic celebrations appeared to irritate Wenger, who claimed he was “provoked in a disrespectful way”, with the pair having to be kept apart by the fourth official. On this occasion, it was the Gunners boss who was fined by the Football Association, with Pardew cleared of all charges.
In a derby against Sunderland, it perhaps comes as no surprise that the tension boiled over, with Pardew, by now the Newcastle boss, clashing with Martin O’Neill following his celebration of Shola Ameobi’s late equaliser in a heated match. Both managers pledged afterwards to keep their emotions in check in future.
Pardew came under severe criticism and then afterwards labelled his behaviour “ridiculous” when he shoved linesman Peter Kirkup in the Magpies’ season opener against Tottenham after disagreeing with the official’s decision to award Spurs a throw-in. Pardew once again apologised for his actions but the Football Association took a dim view and hit him with a two-match touchline ban and a £20,000 fine.
Pardew was involved in another touchline row, less than a month after heated words with Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino, with Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini. TV cameras clearly showed the Newcastle boss launching an expletive-laden volley at the Chilean. Pardew was spared punishment but said later: “It was a heat of the moment thing, words we always have as managers, to a degree. I’ve apologised and I’m fortunate that he’s accepted that.”