London: Alan Pardew has the dubious distinction of being the first Premier League manager to hear the sound of the axe being sharpened after his hapless Newcastle United side were thumped 4-0 by Southampton on Saturday.
Defeat against his former club left Newcastle bottom of the table with two points from four games but it was the nature of the beating that set alarm bells ringing.
Not only that but the team`s form at the tail end of last season, when they lost seven of their last eight fixtures, has left Pardew the most likely of the 20 top-flight managers to be seeking new employment in the near future.
On the eve of the thrashing on the south coast, Pardew called for patience while new signings such as Remy Cabella, Emmanuel Riviere and Siem de Jong tried to find their feet.
"They were stronger, faster and a bit more inventive than us today," said Pardew who has been in charge since 2010 and led Newcastle to fifth in the 2011-12 season.
"The performance today from the start put us on the back foot and the fans were on us from the start, or on me in particular, and that doesn`t help," he told the BBC.
"They won with a bit to spare today and I do feel that we have a bit more quality than we showed today and now we need to show a bit of character to get us out of what has been a difficult start," said Pardew.
"I`m trying to do the job to the best of my ability. Hopefully we can have a better week in training and get some shape and a formula that`s going to get us a win."
Former Newcastle and England striker Alan Shearer said "the pressure was really on" the manager, a situation hardly helped by conceding two goals to Graziano Pelle in 19 minutes at Southampton, prompting fans to unfold `Pardew Out` banners.
United stood by Pardew in March when he was banned for seven matches for head-butting Hull City`s David Meyler.
Their slump in form - they have failed to score in eight of their last 10 league matches - could prove more costly for Londoner Pardew who has never been totally accepted by fans of the club.
The pressure comes as the club become embroiled in a dispute with the Daily Telegraph after the paper reported that owner Mike Ashley was looking to sell.
On Friday, Newcastle issued a statement saying they had banned the paper`s reporters.
"This is disgraceful journalism for which the club and its supporters should receive a full and unreserved apology from those concerned," the statement said before adding Ashley was "not, under any circumstances, selling Newcastle at any price".
Pardew declined to speak to the written media after the defeat at Southampton.
"The criticism from the fans is fair. You can`t get beaten 4-0 as Newcastle manager - I`ve had a few of those at the club," the 53-year-old told Sky Sports.
"It`s not easy to digest but it isn`t easy for the players who have to play in these circumstances."