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Newcastle could turn to Coloccini


Fabricio Coloccini, pictured, is the early favourite to replace Alan Pardew

Fabricio Coloccini, pictured, is the early favourite to replace Alan Pardew

Fabricio Coloccini, pictured, is the early favourite to replace Alan Pardew

Captain Fabricio Coloccini is the surprise name at the head of the betting to replace Alan Pardew as Newcastle boss should he complete a switch to Crystal Palace.

Pardew's departure to Palace appears imminent, with United on Monday night giving the London club permission to speak to the 53-year-old.

Having been at the helm for four years, Pardew is part of the furniture at St James' Park, albeit despite never really being a fan favourite.

Consequently his exit would leave a large void and on Tuesday morning Argentina defender Coloccini was the early favourite to fill it in what would likely be a player-manager role.

A popular figure on the terraces, Coloccini has made over 200 appearances for United since joining them from Deportivo La Coruna in 2008.

The 32-year-old has no coaching experience and would be a left-field appointment, but owner Mike Ashley - a billionaire businessman - has never been afraid to make controversial decisions.

Some of those include sacking Kevin Keegan and twice hiring Joe Kinnear, and although Coloccini getting the job would not be divisive, it would be unexpected.

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Other names in the betting include the likes of the out-of-work Tony Pulis and Tim Sherwood, while Hull boss Steve Bruce is also on the list.

Bruce was a boyhood Newcastle fan and is well respected for the work that he has done at Hull, but as a former Sunderland manager may have a job convincing the fans he is still a black and white.

Another random pick for Ashley would be Ally McCoist. The Scot has just left Rangers - the club Ashley has a stake in - but is lacking in top-level experience.

Pardew's departure would bring an end to his eventful reign on Tyneside a little more than four years after he was controversially parachuted in, much to the dismay of many fans, as Chris Hughton's replacement.

From the off, Pardew was viewed simply as another member of owner Ashley's so-called Cockney Mafia, although positive early results - he presided over a 3-1 victory against Liverpool in his first game at the helm on December 11, 2010 - and a comfortable 12th-place finish eased his passage through a difficult period after striker Andy Carroll was sold to the Reds for £35million weeks later despite the manager's repeated insistence that the player was going nowhere.

There was much to celebrate the following season when Pardew led the Magpies into fifth place and back into Europe, although the Europa League with the toll it took upon the domestic campaign under club's strict financial constraints proved a competition too far.

Only a January spending spree helped to avert disaster, if by not very much, during the 2012-13 campaign, and a positive start to last season soon dissolved after star man Yohan Cabaye was sold, by the soon-to-depart director of football Kinnear, to Paris St Germain.

As the only public face of the club, Pardew often bore the brunt of fans' frustrations, inviting some of it himself following his infamous touchline clash with Hull midfielder David Meyler and unsavoury spat with Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini.

The discontent came to a head on May 3 this year when he was roundly booed by large sections of the home crowd at St James' Park, a campaign which has been maintained by a vocal minority largely ever since.

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