Alan Pardew – One Season Wonder?

Alan Pardew shouldn’t get a new contract with Palace. But, contrary to the opinion of most West Ham, Charlton, Southampton, and Newcastle fans, he’s likely to get one. As a Newcastle United fan you might think I have an axe to grind with this latest piece, but I don’t. I just want to use a little bit of data to explain my thinking here.

He’s a one-season wonder at every club he’s ever managed, with the exception of Reading.

To make my point here I’ve created some “momentum charts” – now I don’t want to fool anyone, they aren’t a true measure of momentum. That sort of information is incredibly difficult to measure, and as far as I can tell the only company in the world that’s able to measure it accurately is Sports Wizard. Momentum charts are, however, used widely within Rugby. You add one point for a positive action and subtract one point for a negative action, or if the opposition performs a positive action.

With regards to football: a win is plus one, a draw is no change, and a loss is minus one. Without further ado, here’s Pardew’s momentum chart in the league (no cup competitions included) for every full season he’s been a manager:

Full Seasons Pardew

As far as you can tell, he’s created positive momentum in almost all of his full seasons. However, at least five of those positive seasons are from the Championship or League One. Very few positive seasons are from the Premier League.

If we take only Pardew’s Premier League seasons we get this:

Full Premier League Seasons.png


Alan Pardew has managed one positive season in his five full seasons as a Premier League manager – the year he won manager of the year and Newcastle finished fifth: 2011/12. I’ve disregarded seasons where he his West Ham 05/06 season, because he finished on +1, and that’s because it’s so close to zero. Somehow I don’t think West Ham fans would have been too happy with that result. Have we proved that Pardew is a one-season wonder yet? Not quite, but we’ll get there.

His record as Reading manager was quite positive, as you can see below. But don’t forget that these seasons were in the Championship or League One, with a relatively well-funded club compared to most in the division. There’s no denying that he did well as a manager for them.

Reading Pardew.png

After his successful stint at Reading, Pardew moved on to West Ham. He achieved promotion, but then was sacked when he had Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano in his West Ham squad. His two seasons in the Championship were his most positive when he had a wealthy club and was expected to achieve promotion. In the Premier League he managed a poor season in 05/06 (as already discussed) and then reached a momentum score of -7 before being sacked by West Ham. One good season in the Premier League.

Pardew West Ham.png

Having been sacked by West Ham, Pardew moved across London to Charlton Athletic. They were already in dire straights, and he was unable to save the club from relegation. His momentum score never got above +1, and Pardew wasn’t able to achieve the short term lift in performance a lot of new managers do; eventually finishing with a -2 momentum score.

In their first season in the Championship, Charlton were doing relatively well after 36 games with a +5 momentum score. As you can see, however, their form nosedived after that and he finished on +1 with a win on the last day of the season. This was Pardew’s only ‘decent’ year with Charlton. In the 08/09 season Pardew was sacked after fewer that 20 games, with a momentum score of -5. He hadn’t been able to turn around the clubs fortunes after their nosedive at the end of the previous season.

Pardew Charlton.png

After Charlton came Southampton; where he had the biggest budget and highest expectations in League One. Pardew’s time at Southampton is more difficult to assess as he only managed one season and three games. His 09/10 season with Southampton would have resulted in promotion has they not been deducted 10 points for entering administration, and was sacked after three games the following season. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not he was treated harshly.


Now we’ve reached the period in Pardew’s managerial career that I was most invested in – his time at Newcastle United. He broke all kinds of records, worst league form in the clubs history, worst record vs. Sunderland of any manager in Newcastle’s history. I could go on, but I won’t.

There’s only one season with positive results. I’ve already mentioned it, the 11/12 season where Papiss Cisse was defying the laws of physics, Demba Ba was banging in the goals, Yohan Cabaye was dictating terms in midfield, and Hatem Ben Arfa was allowed to flourish. That team was a joy to watch, believe me. If you fast-forward to the following season, Pardew had his worst season at Newcastle finishing on a momentum score of -9. As a Newcastle fan, I can tell you with some conviction that we were shocking. He’d completely changed the style of play from all out attack to long balls to Cisse, who is definitely not a target man. Instead of letting Ben Arfa weave his way through defences scoring goals that only the likes of Lionel Messi were supposed to score, he insisted he should become a defensive winger. He never regained his confidence in England, but has terrorised French defences in Ligue 1 this season for Nice and was even linked with a transfer to Barcelona. What was Pardew thinking? Only he knows…

Eventually he left of his own accord, something every average football watcher thought was the best decision Pardew ever made. He’d get away from the “southern hating Geordies” and flourish. These people forget that we adore Les Ferdinand, Chris Hughton, Rob Lee, Warren Barton, etc. As a Newcastle fan it doesn’t matter where you’re from what matters is how the team performs on the pitch.

Pardews Newcastle.png

So it’s time to move on the Palace. He took over mid-season and kept Palace up in 14/15, and I would like to say that’s probably going to be his only good season with them. He finished on a score of +3 that season. It was a different story in 15/16, with Pardew’s team completing their usual nosedive in form. With a maximum momentum score of +3 achieved after nineteen games, Palace finished on -7.

Palace Pardw.png

If his managerial history is anything to go by, Palace fans are in for several relegation battles in the next few seasons. Apart from spending time with relatively well-financed lower league teams, Alan Pardew is incapable of created a team that will continually challenge for mid-table positions. His time at Reading and Southampton were his best as a manager, and those were in League One. Maybe that’s his level; maybe it’s the Championship – it’s definitely not the Premier League.


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