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The double manager of the year tells Mihir Bose about his desire to follow Roy Hodgson, his hopes for next season, his fight to sign thrilling striker Papiss Cisse … and why Joey Barton can’t keep out of trouble

Evening Standard

Alan Pardew. Image courtesy of Evening Standard

Pardew on England

Alan Pardew would like to manage England one day. The 50-year-old is still celebrating the rare double of being named Barclays and League Managers’ Association boss of the season and his pride in bagging the award from his peers ahead of Roberto Mancini is immense. “To be recognised by people who do the job and understand football is fantastic,” he says.

Despite the accolades, the Newcastle manager accepts his CV was not good enough for him to be in the running to succeed Fabio Capello.

“I will not have proven myself good enough until I’ve been in the Premier League for four or five years, won a trophy and competed in Europe,” he says. But does he think the Football Association made the right choice by appointing Roy Hodgson (above)?

“Do I think Harry [Redknapp] should have got the job? I thought at the time if the media hadn’t played it so strongly maybe he’d have got it.

“Because there was such a big push for him, maybe the FA thought they’d do something else. I’ve got no problem with Roy. He deserved it, he had all the right credentials. I’m just glad it’s an Englishman. Maybe the initial move for Sven-Goran Eriksson was because they thought another English manager was going to get pilloried by the press.

“It just got all out of hand. Foreign managers have changed nothing. The England team has not improved and these foreign managers have done actually no better than the English managers who went before.

“Club football is different. In the Premier League they can change the culture of a football club, like Arsene Wenger’s done [at Arsenal].

“You can’t do that with England! You’ve got a group of players who are coming in for two days’ recovery and one day’s training. The only thing you’re going to be able to do is bring it together, tactically be very, very sharp and make sure your substitutions work. Otherwise you’re in trouble.”

Pardew is also in agreement with the new manager over the decision to axe Rio Ferdinand for Euro 2012 and retain the services of John Terry, despite a court case for allegedly racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand — a charge the Chelsea skipper denies — hanging over him.

“I agree with Roy,” Pardew says. “I don’t think it was on the basis Rio could not get on with John Terry. I think Roy’s done that on football merit.

“Even Alex [Ferguson] has questioned Rio this year, saying he’s got to change his game. That was a warning that perhaps all wasn’t well with Rio. He had some great games but he did have some indifferent ones: Everton [when United drew 4-4 at home] being one of them. Roy thought that the group that he had would be better off without Rio. I understand that.”

Pardew on Roberto di Matteo

Roberto di Matteo’s remarkable transformation of Chelsea from no-hopers to Champions League winners impressed the Italian’s counterpart at Newcastle.

“It is not for me to say whether he gets the job but he has a very good chance,” Pardew says. “He has been clever. Andre Villa-Boas, looking three or four years down the line, was perhaps a little bit too quick and under some pressure from above to get rid of the senior players. The only agenda Roberto had was the immediate result: bring the group together, get a win, go to the next game, rotate it a little bit but mainly stay with the best players.”

Pardew on Joey Barton

Joey Barton faces a possible nine-game ban after losing his head when he was red-carded at Manchester City on the final day of the season but, if Pardew had got his way, the midfielder would have been playing for Newcastle at Everton rather than for Queens Park Rangers.

He says: “I offered Joey two contracts, one of which he agreed to, initially, so he was very close to staying at the back end of last year.

“But, when we sold Andy Carroll [to Liverpool], he thought we were lacking ambition. You can’t assume anything in football.”

Pardew offers a fascinating insight into why Barton may have lashed out at Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany after he was sent off for elbowing Carlos Tevez.

“I’m not defending his actions at Manchester City but he is a target for a lot of abuse,” he says. “The trouble with Joey is that he gets upset about anything. Someone not clearing up the dog poo eats into Joey.

“His behaviour with me was impeccable, with one exception. When we played Leeds in a pre-season friendly and I didn’t make him captain he got angry and didn’t want to play. If he thinks he’s got justice then he’ll give you justice, though he has a warped sense of justice sometimes.

“Joey should serve his time and carry on playing for QPR. It won’t be the end of his career. He’ll fight to the bitter end because he truly loves football. He’s a great student of the game and he’s delved into its psychology.”

Pardew on Newcastle

Newcastle supporters need a dose of realism after a season in which St James’ Park glimpsed the prospect of Champions League football and finished fifth, ahead of Chelsea.

“I’m hoping that I will educate our fans for next season,” Pardew says. “If they think we can finish fifth with a European campaign and the finances we’ve got, it’s impossible. I honestly believe that you need to be a bit more open with the fans. The problem some managers have is they’re not open enough.”

Having achieved the board’s target of a top-10 finish, he insists: “This year, I’m sure we’ll say something like, ‘We’re looking for a top-eight finish, hopefully attack one of the cups and have a great run in Europe. I wouldn’t say we couldn’t challenge for the top six if we got knocked out of Europe. Then we wouldn’t have those extra 13 games.”

When reminded that a poll showed only 5.5 per cent of fans wanted him when he replaced Chris Hughton in December 2010, he laughs and says: “Probably less than that.

“I knew that the first few months were going to be difficult but, if you’re going to walk into a manager’s job, you’ve got to take away the fan element of it. You have to say, ‘Are you going to be able to win the dressing room?’ Chris is a great guy, he had coached me [when Pardew was briefly at Tottenham] but is different to me. I’m probably more aggressive than Chris and I had the confidence that I could get the dressing room. And if you get the players on side, then you’ve got a chance of getting the fans because ultimately one leads to the other.”

For that he needed the trust of Kevin Nolan. “Kevin was a powerful captain and I made sure of his loyalty. Before I even met him at training, I went to his house and said, ‘Look, I know there’s probably a lot of disappointment that I’m the manager but I am. I want to work with you and I need your help.’ Being the great guy that he is, he offered me that.”

Pardew was at Wembley on Saturday to cheer Nolan as West Ham won promotion to the Premier League but the manager is equally impressed by the man who replaced Nolan as skipper, Fabricio Coloccini.

“He is our most influential player. A classy footballer, he brings calmness, a winning mentality and a sense of order to all proceedings. He reads the game well.

“You can’t coach it. He might see that my left-back is in big trouble with a wide player and he’ll move closer to that area. He’ll look to read situations before they evolve. Bobby Moore was probably the greatest at it but Coloccini does that for us brilliantly. Before it happens he’s extinguished it.”

Pardew on Papiss Cisse

Papiss Cisse scored 13 goals in 14 games after he joined Newcastle in January but owner Mike Ashley took some convincing before parting with £10million for the striker.

“Mike had some initial worries: were we getting value?” Pardew says. “He’d had two years in a poor Freiburg team, scoring loads of goals.”

Cisse’s second goal against Chelsea was the most memorable of the season. “It came out to him and he hit it on the side of his foot,” the manager recalls. “For him to even attempt it was just audacious. We were winning 1-0. As the ball came out to him, I thought, ‘Take it to the corner.’ But, because of the way he did it, I turned to Didier Drogba on the pitch and said, ‘You’ve got to take your hat off to that!’ and he just laughed.”

But even as he marvels over Cisse, Pardew reflects the fine line managers tread. “If Cisse had played one game and got injured like Dean Ashton, I could have been out of a job.” Then managing West Ham, Pardew had signed Ashton from Norwich but, recalls: “He came back injured after he went off to play for England at the start of the 2006 season. It absolutely killed us. He was flying. He was going to be England centre-forward for the next 10 years. I’ve not seen a player as good as him. He was better than Andy Carroll.”

Within a few months West Ham, under new owners, reacted to a bad run by sacking Pardew.

He promised Ashley success when interviewed for the Toon job and says the fans have now taken to the owner.

“The fans have understood that Mike’s actions are for the club’s benefit. He’s put in the best part of £200m and there’s no return on that as yet. The berating of him in the stands has stopped. That’s been a massive battle in itself.”

      

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