Stability key to Newcastle success: Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew will head for Liverpool tonight confident Newcastle have made significant progress since he first went into battle with the Reds.
Pardew stepped into the home dug-out at the then St James' Park for the first time on December 11 last year with the club once again in turmoil in the wake of Chris Hughton's controversial dismissal.
The fans were in open revolt after Hughton, the man who had guided the Magpies back to the Barclays Premier League, was summarily dispatched, with his side making a fist of life in the top flight and replaced by, in the eyes of the most disgruntled locals at least, a new member of the so-called 'Cockney Mafia' in control of the club.
However, the players Pardew had inherited did him proud as they secured a 3-1 victory, and despite a transfer policy which has since seen four of the men who started that day - Andy Carroll, Jose Enrique, Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton - all leave, the curve has been largely upward ever since.
The 50-year-old said: "The biggest progress we have is stability at the football club because the results and the way we have conducted ourselves here at the training ground have suggested that hopefully we can have a period where the manager stays in place and we can build the team.
"We have brought young players to the club - Davide Santon, Haris Vuckic, Hatem Ben Arfa, people like that, young players who we can build on."
Similar progress may have been made regardless of what happened that day, but Pardew is in little doubt as to how important that result was in terms of his reign.
He said: "That first game was a daunting game because in terms of how I came to the football club, it was important I won it.
"It will always be right at the top of my list of the most important wins at this football club until such time as we get near the big prizes.
But we are not there yet."