Why the last testing week has proved Pardew has what it takes to boss Newcastle

Alan Pardew did something quite unusual as his press conference ended on Saturday night.

With a great big smile on his face, he threw out his clenched his fists and roared: "Yes."

Displays of positive raw emotion by managers in front of reporters are rare. This one was a spontaneous show of relief, joy, and, perhaps, amazement at the end of seven days in which his managerial skills had been given toughest examination.

The past week has represented Pardew's "Welcome to Newcastle" moment.

Best player, Andy Carroll sold. His own vow to keep Carroll proving unsuccessful.

Tough questions on the club's ambition to deal with. A squad of players equally rocked by Carroll's departure to lift. A defeat at Fulham. Then 4-0 down against Arsenal in 26 minutes... before that now famous, and mood changing, fight-back for a draw on Saturday.

So how has he handled the madness?

Pardew's quote on Saturday night was a classic: "I don't know whether people are going to buy me a drink in town tonight.....or throw them at me! That's the sort of week it's been."

It encapsulated the intelligence and skill that Pardew has shown in tip-toeing through a diplomatic minefield since taking over from Chris Hughton.

He's taken the sting out difficult situations by being respectful about Hughton and his achievements. He's not come in and ripped up a system that needed tinkering rather than overhaul.

He's been eloquent answering questions about the club, and volunteered information he thinks we should know.

Clearly Pardew still has to work to win over fans with results and performances and rebuilding the squad with newly acquired wealth.

But those fans can be assured they have one of the better, more open communicators in the game at the helm, even after the Andy Carroll situation.

Last week Pardew faced one of the toughest press conferences he'll get from newspaper men in the region. Usually our managerial chats are good humoured. There is banter and discussion and we usually leave wiser, and with some sort of interesting tale to tell the fans.

But this was one occasion when the questions were spiky throughout. The North East had lost another star player, who we were told was going nowhere. Those who cared about the club, myself included, were far from happy about it.

Fans had revved us up with emailing and Twitter messages asking us to throw in some tough questions. Pardew, being the only public face of Newcastle United, was the man to cop it.

Here is one exchange:

Reporter: Alan on December 9 the first time we spoke to you said you'd had talks with Derek Llambias. You said: "talks about Andy's future were top of my agenda. Andy stays. That is what we talked about." Where does that leave your credibility now? We have repeated quotes right through January saying he stays, let's put it to bed one last time etc.

Pardew: Yeah, yeah yeah. What do want me to say? That he's for sale?

Reporter: Well can we believe anything you say, or the club ever says?

Pardew: Well I mean, what can I say?

(pause)

Reporter: No?

(pause)

Reporter: Well, that is the obvious conclusion that a lot of fans are drawing. That they can't believe the promises that are made from this football club.

Pardew: All I can say is that we knocked back so many bids for Andy, everyone was involved. I was adamant that he wasn't going to go until the extraordinary circumstances of yesterday.

Reporter: Does this show there is a natural ceiling on Newcastle's ambition? Because this deal proves that you can't keep and build around your best players like you said you wanted to?

Pardew: Well that is a problem to answer because we have sold Andy Carroll. I would like to strengthen this club and if I have to sell a player to do that you could argue that is the point of yesterday. The fee is enormous. I ain't had a chance to spend it but we have to spend it correctly in the summer to take the club forward."

It was hardly Jeremy Paxman versus Michael Howard, but you get the drift. To-the-point questions. But also decent, skillful answers in a difficult situation.

Despite being on the other side of the tape-recorder, we appreciated it was difficult a tough 20 minutes for Pardew.

When he promised Carroll wasn't for sale, I think he meant it, and believed it, and hated the thought of losing his best player. I am sure also it had been agreed with the owners that offers for Carroll would be rebuffed, hence his own public stance.

But did anyone ever anticipate a bid of £35million? Pardew should have given himself wriggle room by adding that every player, including Cristiano Ronaldo, has a price.

The next step is ensuring he gets the £35 million (in fees and wages, so we're told) to spend. He has been clever this time. He's on the record as saying he made a personal phone call to Mike Ashley, and that Ashley himself has promised the money will be there to rebuild.

Here is the quote to file away for the summer transfer window:

Pardew said: "There will be £35 million available and all of it will be spent, but it would be on fees AND wages. How can I now believe that is going to happen? I have got to believe it is going to happen. I spoke to Mike Ashley 15 minutes ago to clarify that. He is clear. We have to make sure we spend it correctly in the summer and to spend it properly."

So it is Ashley's pledge, not Pardew's. Pardew can't be hung if it doesn't come true. Which, Newcastle being Newcastle, it might not. Or, being optimistic, it might.

Come the summer we'll be running a Newcastle United totalliser, just like the sort they used to have on the Blue Peter Christmas appeal, detailing how much of the £35million has been spent.

It probably won't go far if it really does, like Pardew said, include wages too. In fact a couple of £7.5 million players, earning £50k a week over four years, and that's it gone.

Really it should, or course, be more than that. What about the £5 million in wages they've saved on Carroll's contract? Will that be added in?

Or the cash from TV money, if Newcastle stay in the Premier League. Will that boost the spending total - or is this summer spree only funded by Carroll?

If Pardew manages to send his spending through the £35million barrier he'll be clenching his fists and shouting: "Yes."

Until then he'll hopefully keep showing the genuine passion and appetite for the Newcastle job, despite the trying circumstances, that he has so far.

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williamhill.com

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