Mike Ashley took over Newcastle back in 2007; both Ashley and Newcastle have enjoyed a bumpy ride under his ownership. Ashley sunk a lot of money into the club and made some dubious and questionable decisions. Yet Ashley is a billionaire, having built his business up from scratch, so he is no fool.
Earlier this year, Ashley signed Alan Pardew the incumbent manager, on a long-term contact. By long term we are talking 8-years, which in Premier League Football terms is a lifetime. Once a team perform poorly and hover near the relation zone, the revolving door of Premiership management spins fast.
A few days ago Nigel Adkins, the Southampton manager was relieved of his duties after a run of poor form. He was the third Premier League manager sacked, after Roberto Di Matteo and Mark Hughes. You have to question the wisdom of signing a manager to an 8-year contract.
Alan Pardew did well when he first landed at Newcastle, but their recent slump, from 4th in the Premier League to their current lowly 16th, two slots above the drop zone, raises the prospect of another casualty.
Last season Newcastle finished 5th on 65 points. Newcastle had a good start to the season, but the team are not currently playing well. They've gone into a total meltdown, which suggests there is much wrong. Newcastle have won 1, drawn 1 and lost 8 games of their last 10. Scoring 11 goals and conceding 24. Troubling times for Pardew.
To add to the managers headache, Newcastle captain Coloccini wants to quit the club and return to Argentina; and Demba Ba the clubs top goal scorer has signed for Chelsea.
I watched Newcastle struggle yesterday, against Reading (who sit in 18th). With Demba Ba gone, Papiss Cisse was firing blanks in front of goal. Without immediate improvement, they will be in the drop zone next month.
There are two views to a long-term contract:
1. If the manager is successful, you want to keep him. Signing a long term contract to stop other teams from poaching him.
2. If the manager's success does not last, the club are stuck with a losing team.
Whichever way you go, there's no guarantee of success.
Its a tough call.