FORMER editor of The Northern Echo and lifelong Newcastle fan PETER SANDS says Alan Pardew's reign on Tyneside was always destined to end in tears...
ALAN Pardew never stood much of a chance at Newcastle. The Toon Army, who believe their rightful position is top tier, were stunned when a man who had been sacked by West Ham and Southampton shipped up at St James's Park.
He had no track record, was a southerner and rumours bounced around Tyneside about why he was appointed. He was seen as a puppet, an apologist for the hated Mike Ashley regime. And so it proved.
Ashley does not speak. So it was left to Pardew to justify the unjustifiable - why Andy Carroll or Yohan Cabaye were sold, why the temple of St James's had become the Sport Direct Arena, why the club had got into bed with Wonga or why no players were bought during for the 2013/14 season.
The only way Pardew could have won us over was on the pitch. To be fair, he did better than expected. In his second season we finished fifth and marched into Europe. But instead of a springboard this led to a relegation battle in 2012/13, and we eventually finished 16th.
There were some memorable victories along the way - at Old Trafford for the first time in 41 years, the only side to beat Chelsea so far this season - but then we would lay down and die. Twice in the last two seasons we have endured six defeats in a row and, crucially, Pardew was the first Newcastle manager to lose four consecutive matches against Sunderland. We see ourselves as the top North-East club and losing to 'the Mackems' is as bad as it gets.
Pardew's tactics were also often unfathomable - we did not score from a corner for more than 100 games, we remain the only Premier League team not to have scored in the first 30 minutes and we would often capitulate after going behind. Fourteen times in the last two seasons we have conceded three goals or more.
The fans also believed Pardew regularly played players out of position. They would talk about them being 'Pardewed' - having the potential sucked from them. Hatem Ben Arfa, a crowd pleaser who was frozen out, would be a case in point.
Then there was the head-butting of Hull player David Meyler. It isn't difficult to see why we didn't warm to him.
At Palace, where he has real heritage, I have little doubt he will do a good job and I wish him well. Meanwhile, at Newcastle, the real bête noire is still there.