The previous eight points are important but, ultimately, converting the pro-Pardew ostriches comes down to these final two, unarguable reasons. Other incidents and comments can be spun or ignored but football always comes down to results. The Sunday Sun’s fantastic back page from Sunday 13th April summed the situation up – the form has been diabolically bad and groundbreaking. Pardew’s Newcastle are breaking records every week now. The 6-0 defeat to Liverpool last April was their worst home defeat in 87 years. He is the first post-war Toon Army leader to lose three consecutive Tyne-Wear derbies – the six points he gifted to Sunderland this season will probably keep them in the Premier League. Until Shola’s goal against Swansea, Sunderland had scored more 2014 league goals at St James’ Park than Newcastle. On the way to eight successive defeats, Pardew has overseen a startling decline since Boxing Day. In their 17 games since, 12 have ended in defeat and only five have seen them score. That means that 71% of those games have been without a goal. Of the 92 league clubs in England, Newcastle have scored the lowest number of 2014 goals. Make no mistake about it; the Geordies are on relegation form. Form that would see most managers sacked.
Counter-argument: A mid-table place is secured and Pardew has had to cope with injuries.
Certainly not the “10 senior players” he blamed the Stoke defeat on. Besides, the squad is still good enough to not immediately go from one extreme to another. It’s certainly good enough to not lose 4-0 and 3-0 on three occasions each. These hammerings mean that only the bottom four have a worse goal difference than Newcastle’s -15 and Crystal Palace – who were 17 points behind the Toon at one point – are close to overtaking them. As manager, Pardew must take responsibility for the manner of these defeats, as it’s he who is instructing them each and every week. Which leads on to the final point….