Are Managers like Alan Pardew really punished by touchline bans?


During the first game of the season, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew reacted angrily when his team weren’t given a throw in, and gave linesman Peter Kirkup a one-handed shove.  Unsurprisingly, Kirkup reported it to referee Martin Atkinson, who responded by sending Pardew to the stand.

Pardew was embarrassed by the incident after the game, saying ‘I hold my head in shame.  It was ridiculous’.  His instant apology may have helped him avoid a sterner punishment than the two game touchline ban and £20,000 fine the FA gave him (and that it wasn’t really much of a shove, more a nudge), but that meant he would be forced to watch Monday’s game against Everton at Goodison and a home game against Norwich from the stands.

The main talking point about Pardew’s team selection for the Everton game was his decision to leave Demba Ba on the bench, choosing to play Papiss Cisse up front on his own, and go with a five man midfield, due to the absence of Cheick Tiote.  It was a decision that didn’t work well for Newcastle, as Everton dominated the first half, and were unfortunate to be only 1-0 up (courtesy of an excellent goal by Leighton Baines) at half-time.  Pardew was allowed into the dressing room at half-time, and presumably gave his team a right bollocking, before replacing Sylvain Marveaux with Demba Ba.  Newcastle were instantly much better, and equalised in the 49th minute when an excellent pass from Yohan Cabaye found Ba who was able to fire the ball across goal past Tim Howard without breaking his stride.

It was a controversial second half, as Everton first had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside (Marouane Fellaini scored, but was flagged despite being played onside by Steven Taylor) and then weren’t awarded a goal after a Victor Anichebe header bounced down over the line after hitting the crossbar.  But Anichebe did get a goal in the 88th minute, turning Taylor in the box before firing home, and Everton seemed set to take three points.  Newcastle weren’t done though, and some poor Everton defending allowed Ba to bundle home a second equaliser in the 90th minute, and the game finished that way after four minutes of injury time.

It was an entertaining, dramatic AND controversial game, one that will of course further flame the goal-line technology debate, but the big talking point for me is the effectiveness of Pardew’s touchline ban.

How can it really be seen as a punishment if a manager is allowed to give a team talk before a game and at half-time, AND is allowed to communicate with the bench from the stands?  There can be no doubt that Pardew’s half-time team talk and tactical switch had a huge influence on the game, and he was seen on the phone to his assistant, John Carver, in injury time.

Surely if a touchline ban is going to be an effective and debilitating punishment for a manager and his team, then he can’t be allowed any contact with his players or coaches after a game kicks off?  Forcing a manager to sit on his hands in the stands while his assistants and coaches instead try to manage the game would be a much firmer punishment than what is in place now, which is effectively just saying to a manager ‘You can’t stand on the touchline and shout at your players, but you can do everything else you normally would’.

John Carver has some managerial experience, having been a caretaker boss at Sheffield United, Leeds and Newcastle after Bobby Robson’s sacking and had an unsuccessful spell as manager of Toronto FC in the MLS, but nothing like the experience Pardew has, and it seems unlikely that he could provoke the same kind of response from the players at half-time that Pardew did on Monday night.  And would he have made such a big tactical change at half-time, or waited to see how the team responded in the first 10 minutes of the second half?

It’s impossible to know that, but what is clear is that Alan Pardew’s presence in the dressing room at half-time made a huge difference to the game.  Everton will be aggrieved at a wrong decision and a non-decision by the same linesman, but perhaps they should also be upset that Pardew was able to have such an influence on the game.

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1 comment

  • mark mcconville says:

    I don’t remember this question being asked during any of fergies touchline bans. If a player gets sent off, he gets a ban. This doesn’t punnish the whole team, as any tactical changes can be sorted well in advance of the ban. So why should a manager being banned punnish the whole team, and deprive them of tactical changes that could save a point?

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