Given the level of vitriol fired at Alan Pardew in recent weeks, it seems as though Newcastle fans are finally reaching breaking point with Mike Ashley’s regime. Traditionally, when the pressure is ramped up on a regime, the fall guy ends up being the manager, so Pardew’s time might be numbered.
Since his departure from Manchester United, Moyes has been linked with various jobs around the Premier League, but suggestions he could end up at St. James’s Park have been consistent.
It’s understandable, given the job he did at Everton. Many would assume that a team like Newcastle would expect to finish consistently in upper mid-table, possibly pushing for Europe.
The problem with this interpretation is that this is not what Newcastle fans expect. Newcastle fans expect better, because of what they offer to the club – unwavering, unrelenting, unstinting support. I spent 3 years in the city, and the city’s passion for football is undoubtable. Newcastle consistently sell out their stadium, one of the five largest in the Premier League.
They have also, traditionally, respected high quality attacking football, something Moyes’s time at Man Utd showed he is not necessarily capable of. Time and again Man Utd failed to break down teams set out to defend. Moyes also succeeded at Everton by being conservative, picking up points when possible. He never really sent his team out to dominate a game.
A criticism that could be levelled at Pardew is his inability to get the best out of certain players, with the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa clearly struggling this season. Moyes, arguably, suffered from the same at Everton – look at the step forward their players have taken under Martinez when compared to Moyes. Players like Steven Naismith have suddenly found themselves capable of pushing for Champions League football.
Unlike Everton, Moyes would probably not benefit from a successful academy pumping out talent at a regular rate. No talent on the same level as Jack Rodwell or Ross Barkley has emerged from Newcastle’s academy in a generation. He may get more in the way of transfer budget, but again, hasn’t done wonders when given one at both Everton and Man Utd.
The transition from Pardew to Moyes would, in many ways, be sideways. Pardew has shown his capacity to hover around the 5th-9th mark relatively consistently. What Newcastle require is a step forward, a manager with a philosophy and a real ability to drag a team forward. Moyes is probably not that man.