Alan Pardew threw down the gauntlet yesterday at a press conference that introduced West Ham's newest additions. Concerning speculation that Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano were only at Upton Park to showcase their skills for big-spending clubs, Pardew answered firmly that he would preserve control over the selection of his side.
Pardew addressed the news that Kia Joorabchian, head of Media Sports Investments, had confirmed that he was interested in making a bid for the ownership of West Ham. Pardew's moneyquote:
"Reports that I am forced to play them will never happen while I am in charge. If that does happen, I will not be here. I won't accept that and I make that quite clear now so if there is a potential owner thinking that might happen, he best think again or he better think of somebody else."
While I don't find any of the news concerning Tevez and Mascherano's transfer (or loan/lease, label it what you want) to West Ham all that disturbing, I do find the possible consequences to Pardew's job at Upton Park very interesting. On one hand, what happens if Pardew gets the best out of his squad, makes a deep run in the UEFA Cup, and qualifies for the UEFA Champions League next year? Do all of his better players (including the two Argies) stay on for next season? Does he write his ticket to a bigger paycheck at West Ham or, completely possible, a move to a "bigger" club? If Joorabchian does take over the club, does Pardew become his Ranieri or his Mourinho?
On the other hand, what happens if West Ham crash out of the next round of the UEFA Cup and struggle in the Premiership? What if Tevez lives up to his reputation of being difficult and a liability if things don't go his way? Does Pardew stay true to his word when Tevez or Mascherano don't play to their potential? If any of this occurs, does he get fired before the end of the season? Most importantly, how will West Ham fans react if this blows up in face of Pardew and chairman Terence Brown?
While only time will tell concerning these questions, I do know that this "experiment" will go a long way towards defining Alan Pardew's coaching career. The rollercoaster ride starts on Sunday when the Hammers host Aston Villa.
Pardew would quit if ordered to select Argentines [The Daily Telegraph]
The press view from South America [Guardian UK]