English Premiership

Pardew struggles to face fans

2014-10-23 08:50
Alan Pardew (Supplied)
Alan Pardew (Supplied)
Cape Town - Embattled Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew says he struggled to look their army of fans in the eye during their terrible start to the Premier League season.

Saturday's nervy 1-0 win against promoted Leicester City at St James' Park, was the first victory in eight league games this season for 18th-placed Newcastle.

Before that, the quiet off-season optimism that had surrounded the club following a some potentially exciting signings quickly evaporated and was replaced by widespread discontent among their legion of supporters.

Their 2-2 draw against Hull City in September was played against a background of widespread and deep unrest with many supporters among the 50 000-strong crowd baying for Pardew's head.

The 53-year-old, who guided the club to a fifth-placed finish in 2012, said it had been very difficult to face their supporters during the bleak period.

"I'm not going to pretend it hasn't been tough," Pardew was quoted as saying by the Shields Gazette.

"It has been very, very tough to look our fans in the eye when I've met them in the street and listened to their frustration and complaints.

"It's fair, and I can't say it's not. We should be winning more games than we are.

"I'll hopefully have a smoother run now in terms of being able to manage the football club without all the additional pressures that defeats bring," Pardew, who has been heavily criticised on social media, added.

"The social media and everything else, I saw David Moyes's comments (who said he is ready for a return to management after an ill-fated spell in charge of Manchester United), heaps more pressure on us managers.

"And we have to be tough in this game. We got a win, and that helps."

Gabriel Obertan's late goal against Leicester may have only temporarily eased the mountain of pressure, but Pardew's relief in the aftermath was palpable.

"This club needed a win," Pardew told the BBC on Saturday. "It was everything to our fans that we won. Having to make excuses (for defeats) starts to get a bit boring and repetitive.

"The word desperation is usually not the right type of vocabulary for a manager but today we were desperate and it was an important win for everybody," Pardew said before adding the result could act as a catalyst for an upturn in their fortunes.

Newcastle travel to ninth placed Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

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