The Reuters global sports blog
By Phil O’Connor
Unheralded and unpopular when he took over at Newcastle United, Alan Pardew has led them into the upper reaches of the English Premier League, and within touching distance of a Champions League place.
The question is whether he can beat Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Redknapp to fourth spot and the last Premier League place in football’s top club competition – and make himself a contender for the England manager’s job at the same time.
Pardew replaced Chris Hughton at the helm of Newcastle in December 2010. It wasn’t an easy task; Hughton, popular with players and fans alike, had brought the Geordies back to the Premier League on a shoestring following the ignominy of relegation.
Selling striker Andy Carroll didn’t help his cause, but this season has seen Pardew’s side climb almost unnoticed and return to the heights they enjoyed under Bobby Robson.