Time is running out for Alan Pardew.
Newcastle United are a debacle and if Mike Ashley really cared about his club, Pardew’s job would be under threat. Or rather it wouldn’t, because he’d have been sacked for gross misconduct last month for headbutting Hull City’s David Meyler.
But having passed up that opportunity, now is the not the time to make changes.
Ashley needs to get to the end of the season then really take stock about the problems at his football club.
Perhaps the biggest one is there just don’t seem to be enough players at Newcastle who care. You could make the same accusation about Sunderland too.
Both clubs really need more home-grown players coming through. You just cannot sign the amount of foreign players they have recently.
You’ve got to have a core of British players who understand what it means to the fans.
I get the impression that when either North East side loses, too many of their players don’t really hurt that badly.
In a year’s time, when they’re ex-Newcastle or ex-Sunderland players, they won’t care about the club.
I was only at Sunderland for a year and I never played for Newcastle United – although I did used to stand beneath the scoreboard at the Gallowgate End watching their matches – but I think I care more about those clubs than lots of players who have played there for years.
If that sounds a bit harsh, I don’t think there are many people in the Newcastle squad – maybe Steven Taylor, the Ameobi brothers and Paul Dummett – who could put their hands up and say I am out of order.
I must admit, I only realised what a big club Liverpool was after I had left.
I joined West Ham United – another club with an impressive history, but you could see it wasn’t anywhere near the size of Liverpool. I think in the next few years the penny will drop with some of these players what a big club they used to play for.
If Ashley bides his time until the end of the season, there will be some good managers interested in taking the job.
It seems as if Tim Sherwood will be looking for a new job this summer.
If Harry Redknapp cannot get Queens Park Rangers back into the Premier League this season, he might be doing the same.
One of the first things Sherwood would probably do would be to bring Les Ferdinand with him as his assistant. That would instantly get the fans on his side.
For Pardew to keep his job, Newcastle will have to have a fantastic finish to the season, scoring goals and winning games playing entertaining football.
Unfortunately, I just can’t see it happening.
The situation cannot be allowed to drag into next season.
The new manager needs a couple of months to take stock, sign the players he wants and get his ideas across in pre-season.
Ashley needs to take his time and get the right man in to do that.