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Alan Pardew, the River Island Tony Pulis, disguised Newcastle’s real issues

Despite improved results, the manager’s willingness to be the focus for dissent proved more useful to Mike Ashley than his skills as a motivator
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Alan Pardew’s time at Newcastle always looked as though it might end messily. Which just goes to show how wrong you can be because in the event Pardew’s (imminent) departure has been an oddly frictionless business, a very grown up, strangely sexless public divorce. Pardew out, they said. Well, he’s going now, not sacked, but off on his own terms. At the end of which everybody concerned seems, on the face of it, to have cause to be jarringly almost-happy.

The anti-Pardew rump among Newcastle’s fans can congratulate themselves on having helped usher off a manager who was disproportionately but still undeniably unpopular. Crystal Palace have what looks a good appointment in a fractured season. Pardew himself leaves Newcastle with a profile reconditioned: a slightly wonky appointment four years ago, he has been elevated to a spot among the elite mid-rangers of the Premier League, an angrier Bruce, a less convincing Allardyce, a River Island Tony Pulis. Meanwhile Mike Ashley has reinforced his well-earned reputation for expertise in flogging off sporting goods you’re not sure you really want at a phoney knockdown price. Box fresh Pardew: recommended retail price £6m. Yours not for £4m, or £3m, but – and I’m robbing myself here – just two million pounds!

Related: Newcastle will not replace Alan Pardew with Fabricio Coloccini or Frank de Boer

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