Three days after it fired manager Chris Hughton, English Premier League club Newcastle has hired Alan Pardew to replace him. At a press conference announcing his
arrival Thursday Pardew, 49, acknowledged that many of his colleagues have questioned his move. He is the seventh manager to be hired by the Magpies in the past five and a half years.
"I've had a lot of texts from managers saying 'you must be mad going there'," said Pardew, 49, formerly manager of Southampton, West Ham, Charlton and Southampton. "But it's one of the top five clubs in England. It's a daunting prospect but something I couldn't turn down."
A 3-1 loss to West Bromwich Albion last weekend triggered the departure of Hughton, a former Irish international who steered Newcastle to promotion last spring by winning the League Championship crown. Pardew takes over more than three months after being sacked by Southampton earlier this season.
His immediate tasks are to strengthen the squad to fend off relegation -- promoted last season, Newcastle is 12th but only four points clear of the relgation places -- and secure the future of striker Andy Carroll, a certain target of clubs during the January transfer window. "This club has been crying out for another No. 9 and he looks like he's fitting the bill, so I made it very clear that he needs to stay," said Pardew.