Alan Pardew

On 9th December 2010 Alan Pardew made a surprising return to management with Premier League Newcastle. He was an unpopular choice with the fans, who were still unhappy at the departure of Chris Hughton. Pardew got off to a solid start with a 3-1 victory over Liverpool. He slowly but surely won over the St James' Park crowd, continuing Hughton's good work. Even the embarrassing loss at Stevenage in the FA Cup couldn't diminish his accomplishments. The highlight of the season undoubtedly came on 5th February 2011. Newcastle came back from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with Arsenal. The Toon finished a respectable 12th place, only missing out on the top 10 on the final day of the season. He had to do without Andy Carroll from February. He was sold to Liverpool on deadline day with no time to bring in a replacement.

Pardew and Newcastle shipped out Kevin Nolan and ego-maniac Joey Barton at the start of the 2011/12 campaign. Both players had far too much influence inside the St James' Park dressing room. Pardew set about rebuilding the side with the help of supreme talent spotter Graham Carr. Carr signed the likes of Yoann Cabaye, Demba Ba and Sylvian Marveaux, and Pardew moulded them into a well-oiled unit. Newcastle enjoyed their most exciting season since the days of Sir Bobby Robson. They didn't lose their first league match until November 19th, and that was at eventual champions Manchester City. Newcastle drew at Old Trafford, and then beat Man United in the return fixture in January. The team suffered the odd setback here and there, like the FA Cup loss at Brighton and the 5-0 hammering at Spurs. They always bounced back however. Papiss Cisse- who arrived in January 2012- gave the team a real lift. He couldn't stop scoring during the second half of the season. Hatem Ben Arfa also looked very impressive, providing creativity from midfield. Both were on song in an eye-catching display at West Brom on March 25th. Cisse scored the goal of the season in a 2-0 win at Chelsea on 2nd May 2012. Newcastle narrowly missed out on a Champions League spot, but a 6th place finish was still enough to secure European football through the Europa League.

In recognition of a fine 2011/12 season Pardew was awarded the award for Barclay's Premier League Manager of the Season and LMA Manager of the Year.