Alan Pardew has mounted a staunch defence of the Mike Ashley era at St James’ Park – but revealed the owner’s “upset” at football logic is behind some of the baffling mistakes he has made at Newcastle United.
The Magpies boss delivered a detailed insight into Ashley’s thinking and admitted there had been frustration for the owner that the “aggressive” steps he has taken to conquer the world of sports retail have not brought similar success in the world of football.
Despite admitting he has taken some decisions which have not been “brilliant” for United, Pardew claims Ashley is still desperate to bring success to Tyneside.
In a wide-ranging interview with Sky Sports’ flagship football programme Goals on Sunday, Pardew spoke at length about Ashley – and also said the appointment of Joe Kinnear over the summer had aided him rather than proved a hindrance.
Again he took the unpopular step of defending Ashley’s role in the club’s woeful summer recruitment efforts.
He cited the lack of movement on the Yohan Cabaye front as one reason why the club had not invested further in the squad during the close season, suggesting his transfer to Arsenal might have funded a move for a striker as well as a replacement for the France international.
Elsewhere, the message was a further reinforcement of Newcastle’s new financial parameters, Ashley having decided more than a year ago the club would have to finance itself without relying on him for financial support.
Pardew said: “Mike is a strong character. He comes from a background where whatever he’s done in his business career has been a success.
“When you come to football the logic doesn’t quite fit. There’s a way to run a business – and that could be any business.
“It could be a clothing business, it could be a car industry. We have many of these people in the game now who have made their millions from mining or whatever.
“Mike comes from a field where he’s been aggressive in his tactics in the sports world and it’s brought him huge success.
“Trust me, he’s a genius when it comes to that world of sports retail. That’s his world – this (football) is not his world.
“Yet he loves football and he wants Newcastle to do well – why wouldn’t he?
“He can’t understand the logic of how it works sometimes – it confuses him and I think it upsets him.
“Sometimes when he’s upset he does some things that are not brilliant for the football club but that’s just Mike.
“I can think of a lot worse owners than Mike. He’s funded the club, we have no debt other than to Mike so we’re not in a bad position, but we’re not where our fans want to be.
“Our fans want us to be with Man United and Man City but until we get a Gulf State taking us over or a billionaire from the darkest parts of Russia we’re probably not going to be able to compete with them – and that’s a fact.”
Pardew’s comments come six days before another planned march against the owner by the newly-formed Time4Change group, which is seeking to persuade the United owner to sell up.
The antipathy which exists between the supporters and an owner who has not made any effort to explain himself to them is likely to continue to undermine the trust and confidence many fans have in the club.
Pardew says whatever Ashley’s long-term ambitions, his desire is still to return Newcastle to the lofty fifth-placed finish they achieved in the Premier League in 2012.
He added:“All I know is Mike is very supportive and very focused on trying to make Newcastle a success.
“He’s been good with me in terms of trying to support me in what I try to do and I thank him for that. In terms of the club, I still think we have a good side.
“You can go back two years ago when we finished fifth and everybody said we’re the model for the next group of Premier League clubs and then we were not the model. That’s football.”