London: Alan Pardew became Newcastle United’s 12th manager in 13 years Thursday, charged with restoring the club to former glories in an atmosphere of discontent around the city.
The former West Ham United boss replaced Chris Hughton who was controversially sacked Monday to widespread disbelief among the Premier League club’s long-suffering fans.
Newcastle have not won a major trophy since 1969 despite appointing a succession of high-profile managers including Bobby Robson, Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Ruud Gullit, Joe Kinnear and Alan Shearer.
“It’s a massive club and I am privileged to be here,” Pardew told a news conference.
Hughton lasted only 14 months after being appointed full-time manager in October 2009.
He led Newcastle out of the Championship (second division) last season and made a solid start to life in the Premier League where they lie 12th, his dismissal causing surprise and disappointment among the north-east club’s loyal fans.
“It is fairly obvious that the players and the fans had great respect for Chris Hughton and the fact that he has gone has caused quite a stir and some people are upset about it.
“I know the fans are frustrated,” the 49-year-old Pardew said. “They probably thought they had some stability with Chris and that has gone.
“With the record of managers they have had here, it does not bode well, but I have tried to get in that contract a situation that they have to show faith in me.
Pardew, a journeyman midfielder who spent most of his career with Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic, has enjoyed mixed fortunes as a manager after building his reputation at Reading, who he led to promotion to the Championship (second division).
He guided West Ham up to the Premier League in 2005 and to the FA Cup final the following season, which they lost in a penalty shootout to Liverpool.
Pardew was sacked following a poor start to the 2006-07 campaign and his next club Charlton were relegated from the Premier League the same season.
His most recent managerial job was at League One (third division) Southampton where he was sacked in August amid reports of conflicts behind the scenes.
“I have had a lot of texts from managers saying ‘you must be mad going there’, but I would never be able to live with myself if I did not take that challenge on.
“The problem I am going to have initially is the players and making sure I get my message across quickly and with clarity.”
Pardew’s first match in charge will be against Liverpool at St James’ Park Saturday.
“I don’t think I am going to win a PR battle; the battles I need to win are on the pitch,” he said.
Newcastle have not won a top-flight league title since 1927.