In a game where Newcastle were proving that the departure of Cabaye might not have truly ended their shot at Europa League football at the end of this season, the biggest story emerged from the manager’s area on the side of the pitch. A 4-1 victory would typically bring a wealth of positive feelings and some serious momentum as we get towards the business end of the season, but Alan Pardew will have quickly made the result academic and erased any of the positive feeling with one moment of stupidity. Alan Pardew headbutted a player…
Now, let me preface the entirety of this by explaining how it looked in real-time and in replays. Pardew did not give Hull’s David Meyler a Zidane smash to the forehead and Pardew looks a fair bit of practice away from pursuing a career in MMA. The blow did not knock Meyler off his feet and the end result could probably be seen as more of a push than an actual hit. BUT, we are talking about a manager allowing himself to stoop to an amazingly poor level and performing an action that should have no place in football.
The punishments handed down from the club have been too little. A 100,000 pound fine and an “official” warning are all that Pardew has received from Newcastle. Now, Pardew has led Newcastle back to a very promising area of the Premier League and they seem unlikely to experience any of the late 2000’s hardships that they had to trudge through, but this is an unprecedented act by a manager. While there is no doubt that Pardew should not lose his job over this extreme error in judgement, a warning and a menial fine are no more than a slap on the wrist. If left at this, it tells anyone involved in world football that success allows you to get away with negative actions like this with little recompense. As this is the first time anything like this has ever happened, Newcastle should have set an example…instead, they seemed to brush off this issue and will try and move on.
The punishments handed down from the FA should be severe. Although the players should not be punished in ANY way because of this situation, England’s governing body need to set their stance on this type of behavior with their response. No less than a Suarez-sized ban should be acceptable, in connection with a significant fine. Pardew does not need to be removed from the team or from the game, but he certainly needs to spend some time in the stands. From a player, this type of play is unacceptable…from a manager, the headbutt is even worse. Pardew has managed since ’99, and Pardew knows how massive a mistake he has made.
IF this incident somehow gets ushered under the rug by Newcastle, the FA, and Pardew…then something is wrong. The punishment handed to Suarez after he bit a player was the FA sending a message that anyone attempting to bite a player would face harsh penalties. This situation should set a similar precedent that makes sure that managers always attempt to keep their cool. Considering that Arsene Wenger gets punished for attacking water bottles, this should be a no-brainer.