Pardew right to leave magpies mess

Pardew right to leave magpies mess
Newcastle United's manager Alan Pardew.

Roy Keane couldn't stand St James' Park.

Newcastle's arrogance drove the former Manchester United skipper to distraction.

In his autobiography, Keane dismissed the Toon Army as a joke, a ragtag bunch of underachievers who had won nothing since 1969.

Keane was right, obviously, but the Magpies still can't see their own shortcomings.

But Alan Pardew can. He's had enough of the delusional club. He's set to swop Newcastle for a club with half the support, half the stadium capacity and half the operating budget.

Crystal Palace at least know their place in the football hierarchy. Egos do not run rampant. At Newcastle, they are commoners masquerading as kings.

Their hallowed No. 9s, their one-club city status, the Geordie mafia and all the statues around St James' Park cannot overshadow reality.

They are a big club only in the mind. Their empty trophy room has long told a different story.

At times, Pardew must have thought he worked at the Nou Camp instead of a Newcastle side who last lifted a trophy when TV matched their black and white jerseys. He was handicapped by the Toon Army's delusions of grandeur.

And his hands were always tied, either by a miserly owner or a scouting network making all his transfer decisions for him.

On the terraces, he was manager of a myth. In the boardroom, he was a manager in name only.

Omnipotent owner Mike Ashley insisted on shoving a finger into every pie, reining in the transfer spending and overseeing every squad addition.

STATUS QUO

In recent weeks, Pardew met with Ashley and asked for reinforcements to mount a charge for European qualification. Ashley was satisfied with the status quo.

When Andy Carroll and Yohan Cabaye were sold for a vastly inflated profit, Pardew had wanted replacements of a similar quality. Ashley bought second-hand old bangers and expected them to purr like a Bentley.

Buying players was not even part of Pardew's brief. Graham Carr scouted cut-price replacements, leaving the manager with the thankless task of fitting cheap, square pegs into round holes.

He lost Cabaye and ended up with ill-equipped bargain basement purchases like Facundo Ferreyra, Karl Darlow and Jamaal Lascelles.

With vultures from Arsenal and PSG waiting to pounce on Moussa Sissoko, Pardew saw the writing on the wall.

The familiar script was left over from last season. When Newcastle sold Cabaye for £19 million ($39m) in January, little of the money was reinvested and Pardew's pedestrians lost 11 of their last 14 games.

That's life under Ashley, an endless cycle of domestic drudgery, constantly stitching together the fraying edges of a torn squad. Pardew was not a tactician. He was a seamstress.

He was always "making do", patching up the holes and hoping for the best at a deluded club where supporters usually demanded the best.

Decade after decade of unmitigated failure never diluted the expectations of Newcastle fans. If anything, the annual disappointment only fuelled their impatience. They couldn't force out Ashley, so they targeted his perceived puppet, his "yes man", his fellow Londoner.

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