Alan Pardew celebrates anniversary with thanks to Mike Ashley for present

RELATIONSHIP ... Alan Pardew and Mike Ashley.
RELATIONSHIP ... Alan Pardew and Mike Ashley.

ALAN Pardew’s thanked Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley for standing by him – as he prepares to celebrate his four-year anniversary at the club.

Ashley resisted calls from fans for Pardew to be sacked early in the season after a poor start to the campaign.

The 53-year-old – handed an eight-year contract in 2012 by Ashley – is now the fourth-longest serving manager in England.

Chris Hughton, Pardew’s popular predecessor, was controversially sacked four years ago today.

Pardew, named Newcastle manager on December 9, 2010, was a surprise appointment, and he admits he has had some “difficult days” at the club.

Pardew said: “It’s credit to the owner, and also credit to me because I’ve had to dig in a few times.

“Sometimes his flag is up the pole, and sometimes it’s mine.

“But I think we both knew that when we signed that long contract, that there were going to be difficult days as well as good days for us both.”

Pardew, speaking ahead of this afternoon’s Premier League home game against Chelsea, says he has a “solid” relationship with billionaire Ashley.

“It’s very important to have a solid relationship with your chairman or owner, and I’ve always had that with Mike,” said Pardew.

“At all football clubs, the link between the chairman and manager is very important, and sometimes it can lost in the wash a little bit.

“Chief executives can get involved, and the relationship can get distant.

“Me and Mike don’t really have too much communication, but when we do, it’s really constructive.

“We’ve never had a destructive conversation since I’ve been here. I think that’s very helpful, because at other clubs I have had that.”

Pardew feels managers elsewhere don’t get enough time.

“I noticed that Mark (Yates) got sacked at Cheltenham, so I think I’m fourth on the list of the 92 clubs now, which is very disturbing,” said Pardew.

“Tony (Pulis) left (Crystal Palace) with a mutual arrangement, so I don’t think a Premier League manager has left this season yet, which is unusual.

“Maybe it’s beginning to stabilise a little bit, although perhaps I’m speaking too soon!

“The Championship is the bigger worry at the moment, because it’s nine months that’s the average tenure.

“I don’t know how long it takes other people to get to know their jobs, but nine months is certainly not enough for the coach of a football team.”

However, Pardew – who has been beset by injuries this season – added that he hadn’t given the anniversary much thought.

“I haven’t really thought about it if I’m honest,” said Pardew, whose side are ninth in the table and in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.

“I’m just focused on what I think is quite an exciting group.

“We haven’t managed to put it all on the pitch yet, or had the opportunity to have everybody available, but we’re on a decent run.

“If I wanted to give some sort of history over the four years, this is probably the third team that I’ve had in terms of a different look.

“There was the one I inherited, the one we built that got us to Europe, and then now this new one.

“I’m quite excited that it’s got a different look to it and different strengths, and as a coach, it’s nice to be able to change with the personnel that you have.

“Sometimes, the personnel can dictate to you rather than the other way around.”