Newcastle United is a team that lives in the spotlight for all of the wrong reasons. Whether for its embattled owner guzzling beer with fans in the stands, a director of football appointed who cannot pronounce his own players’ names correctly or for a fan punching a horse following a loss.
Well, Newcastle was leading the sports pages again on Sunday.
Was it because of the team’s comprehensive 4-1 victory at Hull City? The team scored more goals than it had in all of 2014’s matches combined for a second win in a row.
But mid-table teams do not get the front-page treatment for a good result.
They do get this kind of attention when their manager loses his mind during the match and attempts to head-butt a player on the opposing team.
You read that correctly.
With Newcastle leading Hull City 3-1 in the 70th minute and in complete control, a ball was kicked out of bounds near the sideline and coaching box where Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew was standing and gesticulating because of a foul he thought occurred seconds before.
As Hull City’s David Meyler went to try and retrieve the ball, Pardew stood his ground and blocked the player. Meyler’s arm went out, more in a “please get out of my way, sir” type of motion, but Pardew quickly took offense and the two men came together. At this moment Pardew moved his forehead toward Meyler in an attempted head-butt.
Thankfully, he did not make contact, but the movement brought both teams’ sets of players quickly over to try and quell a further confrontation.
On Monday the Football Association charged Pardew with improper conduct, and he faces a ban.
That decision will probably be made within the week, but talk is the FA is considering a complete stadium expulsion for Pardew.
I believe it needs to be even more than that.
I say throw the book at him. And this is coming from an admitted Newcastle United fan since I was in college.
In my opinion, Pardew should not be allowed to coach Newcastle until next season at the earliest.
He needs to take a “vacation” from the pressures of Newcastle United.
This is the third such incident involving Pardew and sideline confrontations in the past two years alone. He was suspended two games for pushing a linesman last year and got into face-to-face shouting matches against opposing coaches in games against Manchester City and Southampton.
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season because of what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell deemed a lack of institutional control with his football team and it paying “cash payout bounties” for players targeting opponents.
Payton was probably unaware of any of it, but he is the head coach and the buck stops with him. He was not only given a stadium expulsion; Payton was not allowed to be anywhere near Saints facilities or any NFL facility. Goodell suspended him without pay for a year.
Basically he was forced to take a year “vacation” from the NFL.
He returned as head coach in 2013 and led the Saints back to the playoffs.
Pardew needs something similar to happen to him.
There is no precedence for this because coaches and players coming into physical confrontations rarely, if ever happens.
Coaches get ejected in basketball games or for tirades, like Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim recently in a loss to Duke, but for a coach to physically attack another player during a game … there are no words.
The closest thing I can think of this was Ohio State’s Woody Hayes infamous punch of a Clemson player during the 1978 Gator Bowl. Just for some context, Hayes won five national championships in the years before that incident.
He was fired and never coached again.
Alan Pardew, to put it bluntly, has won nothing with Newcastle. He is currently in his third year of management of the team and is on an eight-year contract.
He is a very passionate coach, and as fan of Newcastle, I enjoy that passion, but this cannot stand.
The coaching box in soccer is kind of interesting anyway.
Numerous times throughout the season, coaches and players invade each other’s space near that sideline. Sometimes it is colorful and a little bit enjoyable, like watching Manchester United coach David Moyes show off his ball juggling skills after stopping a ball that went out of bounds, so his team can take a throw-in.
But more and more, it is causing problems.
Sir Alex Ferguson, arguably the most successful coach ever in English Football, did his coaching for Man U from the stands where he sat in a “coaching box” area at Old Trafford. Sure, he would come down to the field now and then when a call did not go his way, or to say something to one of his players, but always went back and sat down.
Pardew has already said publicly after apologizing for the incident that he will now do the same.
He better hope the FA gives him the chance.