Pardew puts success down to humble roots
Alan Pardew has put his man-management skills down to his humble roots as a player.
The 50-year-old Newcastle boss currently presides over a squad of home-grown and international players and has managed to mould them into a unit which is sustaining an unlikely challenge for Champions League qualification as the Barclays Premier League season draws to a close.
As a player, Pardew was a late developer, emerging from the non-league ranks as a 25-year-old, and he said: "Due to the playing route that I took, I have experienced diversity of character, so when I come across what may be classed as a 'difficult or enigmatic character' in the football world, it's not much of a problem for me."
He said he believes that route into professional football gave him a valuable insight into how best to handle complex characters such as Hatem Ben Arfa, who is currently in stunning form after shedding his tag as France's 'enfant terrible'.
In an interview with The Manager, the official magazine of the League Managers' Association, Pardew said: "It was a very important route because you understand the workplace and what the media represents to the working man.
"When I was a glazier, I was reading the newspaper every day and that was my only insight into the football world. When you play in non-league football, you meet a cross-section of characters that you don't meet in professional football.
"You might have a company chief executive and a dustbin man playing side-by-side in the same non-league team, so you come across many characters from different walks of life whereas in professional football, you have football-focused individuals who have based most of their upbringing on football because it was going to be their career from day one."
Pardew, of course, has also had to manage the antipathy of fans towards the club's ownership by Mike Ashley in the depths of a fractured relationship, and has done so to superb effect.
The policies implemented by Ashley's regime have at times been distinctly unpopular, but while issues remain the Magpies came close to breaking even during the last financial year while thriving on the pitch.
"At Newcastle, we have got a good foundation and a good financial model, and now the question is whether we can bring success within that model," Pardew added.