Newcastle's Alan Pardew can cope with pressure, say ex-team-mates

By Saj ChowdhuryBBC Sport
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew has "real belief in his ability", according to former Crystal Palace team-mate Geoff Thomas

Manager Alan Pardew's steely personality will help him cope with the intense pressure at Newcastle, according to two former team-mates.

The Magpies are 19th in the league and fans are calling for Pardew's sacking, while sections of the media have suggested his future is not secure.

"He's one of very few people who can handle the situation," former Crystal Palace team-mate Mark Bright said.

Ex-Eagles captain Geoff Thomas added: "He won't chuck the towel in."

Pardew is in his fifth season in charge of Newcastle but has yet to guide the team to victory in the league this term. They have now picked up only five wins in 25 league games in 2014.

Newcastle fans
Newcastle have won only five league games in 2014

Newcastle supporters have held up 'Sack Pardew' placards in recent matches, while a report in the Independent external-linklast week quoted owner Mike Ashley as saying the 53-year-old would lose his job if the team were defeated by Stoke on Monday. Ashley later said he had been joking.

The Magpies lost the game 1-0 but the former Southampton boss was given assurances he would remain as manager, for the time being.

"He's is not a weak person," said Bright, who was already at Palace when Pardew joined in 1987.

"I remember him in the dressing room when he first arrived from Yeovil Town. He wasn't afraid of the banter or anyone saying anything to him. He could hold his own.

"They are the qualities that have driven him to be a manager."

The Palace trio helped the club achieve promotion to the top flight in 1989, and, almost a year later, Pardew scored the winning goal in the memorable 4-3 win over Liverpool in the 1990 FA Cup semi-final.

Bad start for the Magpies
Newcastle's three points from six games is their worst start to a season since 2003-04, when they finished fifth.
Pardew's side have 19 points from 26 matches since Boxing Day.

Thomas said his fellow former Eagles midfielder was not one to hide away from difficult situations.

"I remember one time Alan was getting flak from the crowd," he said.

"It would have been easy to just disappear but he had the tenacity to to keep going.

"Alan ended up playing a part in Palace's success. His character has not changed, he's exactly the same guy. He's a top bloke and always will be."

Regarding the frustrations of Newcastle fans, Thomas said Pardew had empathy with them but would be determined to stay at the club to try to rectify the problems.

Mike Ashley
Mike Ashley's lawyers said the club's owner was joking when he said Pardew would be sacked

"He will respect their opinion," added the 50-year-old ex-England international.

"He knows park football, non-league football and professional football. He knows that no matter what you're doing your performances are watched.

"He gave the travelling supporters a round of applause after the Stoke game, not to wind them up but to say to them, 'yes I know, and I'm going to try to sort it out'.

"I don't think he will quit the club. He has real belief in his ability. It'll be down to other people to say it's his time to move on."