Pardew aiming to win over critics

Andover Advertiser: Alan Pardew and owner Mike Ashley came under fire from Newcastle's supporters Alan Pardew and owner Mike Ashley came under fire from Newcastle's supporters

Alan Pardew will head into the summer determined to rebuild his Newcastle side to win over his critics.

The 52-year-old was left in little doubt as to what large sections of the club's support think of him despite guiding the team to a first Barclays Premier League victory in seven attempts on Saturday with a 3-0 home win over Cardiff - a result that sent the Welsh side down.

The triumph ended a demoralising run of six consecutive defeats, which left many supporters among a crowd of 50,239 in rebellious mood.

However, Pardew, who was booed by some spectators every time he left the dug-out, remains focused only on addressing the deficiencies which have seen Newcastle slip from top-six contenders to mid-table also-rans.

He said: "We were nervous a little bit because we haven't won, obviously, and we were protecting ourselves to a degree.

"But we did the job and that was important today, that we did the job, and hopefully we can show our fans in the summer, as much as in the last game, that we are going to be stronger next year.

"It was an important day, we know that, all round, really, for the club. It was the club that was important today, and our staff.

"All the staff at the stadium today were hoping to get their bonus, and hopefully we have delivered that, but we will have to wait to see what Palace do."

Owner Mike Ashley will hand out bonuses to all the club's staff if they achieve their target of a top-10 finish - they currently sit in ninth place, two points ahead of Stoke and a further four better off than Crystal Palace, who entertain Liverpool on Monday evening.

Whether or not Pardew should remain on board to collect his share of that pot is a matter for intense debate.

Chants calling for both manager and owner to go resounded around St James' Park at regular intervals, and banners bearing similar messages were unfurled.

Fans had been urged to walk out by the Newcastle United Supporters Trust at two pre-arranged points during the game, but while several hundred did so after 60 and then 69 minutes, there were not mass departures.

However, despite the obvious unrest among the club's fan-base, it is understood that Ashley has no immediate plans to relieve Pardew of his duties despite fresh suggestions that former Manchester United boss David Moyes could be in his sights.

Ashley was not on Tyneside for the latest instalment in a saga which has been running since Yohan Cabaye was sold and not replaced in January.

Had he been, he would have seen Shola Ameobi, who is out of contract at the end of the season, give his side the lead with what could be his last ever goal for the club at St James' Park, a header from Moussa Sissoko's 18th-minute cross.

Pardew said of the striker: "He's been an absolutely magnificent servant for this football club.

"He is one of the nicest, best people I have ever come across as a footballer at a young age, and he is going to have a magnificent career whatever he does - and he could literally do anything.

"I was pleased that he got the goal today, for him and his family. If it was to be his last home game, he couldn't have done more than he did today."

Knowing they needed a victory to stand any chance of avoiding the drop, Cardiff hit back and but for two stunning saves from Tim Krul either side of half-time to deny first Wilfried Zaha and then substitute Kenwyne Jones, they would have been level.

Skipper Fabricio Coloccini came to the Magpies' rescue 14 minutes from time to block Aron Gunnarsson's shot on the line, and it was not until Loic Remy turned Cheick Tiote's deflected 87th-minute effort past David Marshall that the win was secure.

Substitute Steven Taylor made sure with a third in injury time, and as news of Sunderland's 1-0 win at Manchester United filtered through, the realisation dawned that Cardiff's top-flight stay was over.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the club's official website, www.cardiffcityfc.co.uk: "Relegation today is the lowest point in my career so far and we are all hurting.

"But now it's happened, we have to look forward. Financially this is a club that has a lot going for it.

"We have an owner who wants to be successful and part of the job is to try and keep as many of the very good players we have together to move forward together.

"We will do what we can to keep our best talent, asking them to stay with us and give us all a chance of playing in the Premier League again in 14 months."

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