Newcastle United have denied reports that Alan Pardew could be sacked if his side fail to record a win against Aston Villa on Sunday.
It wasn’t too long ago that the Magpies were being talked of as potential top-four candidates this season, after they recovered from the disappointing form of last term to produce the type of performances which saw them finish fifth in 2011-12. However, the January departure of Yohan Cabaye has hit them hard, and all hopes of finishing in a UEFA Champions League qualifying position have now vanished.
Since the 5-1 win over Stoke City on Boxing Day, Newcastle have lost six of their subsequent eight fixtures in the Premier League, including heavy home defeats to rivals Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur. This has left them in ninth position in the standings, and they are now a whopping 15 points behind fourth-placed Liverpool with 12 games remaining.
This, coupled with a frustrating transfer window, has led to suggestions that Pardew could soon be following director of football Joe Kinnear through the St James’ Park exit door. Indeed, the Sunday Express even went as far as to say that should they fail to beat Villa this coming weekend, then Mike Ashley will issue the 52-year-old with a P45.
Whilst this is certainly a game the Magpies will be looking to win, with the Midlands side once more enduring a difficult season, Newcastle have reacted angrily to these reports. The Tyneside giants have now issued a statement to dismiss the report, and furthermore, they have banned the Sunday tabloid from St James’ Park,
The statement read: “We consider it extremely poor practice for a newspaper to print such an article without first seeking comment or clarification from the club. The article was completely untrue and we can only assume published for commercial reasons or as an attempt to unsettle and disrupt. The article also created subsequent ill-informed and damaging coverage in other media outlets and across social media.
“To publish an article of such nature gives the profession of journalism a bad name. Journalists and newspapers which print such wholly inaccurate stories should be aware that there will be consequences for their actions. Newcastle United will not accept false, misleading, mischievous or inflammatory reporting such as this and will take appropriate action as and when necessary. To this end, Newcastle United can confirm that the Sunday Express is banned with immediate effect.”