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Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2006, 14:04 GMT
Argentine deals will haunt Pardew

By John Sinnott

Alan Pardew
Pardew was appointed as West Ham manager in October 2003
When sacked West Ham boss Alan Pardew has time to reflect on where it all went wrong, 31 August 2006 will be writ large in his mind.

Three months ago Pardew argued that he would have been foolish not to sign two world-class players in Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, who joined the club at the end of the summer transfer window on that fateful August day.

When the Argentine duo arrived West Ham had made a reasonable start to the Premiership campaign, picking up four points from their first three league games and looking forward to a Uefa Cup campaign.

But the signing of Tevez and Mascherano - deals that are still shrouded in mystery as to who owns the players and the lengths of their West Ham contracts - marked the beginning of the club's season imploding in dramatic fashion.

Since 31 August, West Ham have picked up just 10 points out of 42.

The club at one stage were on a losing run of eight successive games, in the process crashing out of the Uefa Cup to Palermo and humiliatingly to Chesterfield in the Carling Cup.

Off the pitch there has been just as much turmoil with a prolonged takeover saga finally ending last month when Icelandic businessman Eggert Magnusson took control of the club.

606: DEBATE
SD

But Tevez and Mascherano can hardly be blamed solely for West Ham's calamitous poor form.

Striker Tevez has started seven league games, while Mascherano has begun only three.

But their arrival did raise serious questions about Pardew's judgement.

It is hard to believe that when Pardew began preparing for the season that Tevez and Mascherano were at the top of his shopping list.

Their arrival has clearly done little to promote team spirit, quite the opposite.

And even when he has played the Argentines it is questionable whether he has got the most out of them.

Argentine boss Alfio Basile has criticised Pardew for deploying Tevez as a left-winger.

Pardew's fall has been swift given just a few months ago he had said guiding West Ham to the FA Cup final was his "best day in football".

Their FA Cup final appearance in May had capped a fine return to the Premiership as West Ham readjusted to life in the top-flight with ease.

But put last season's success aside and Pardew could be forgiven for wondering just how enjoyable his time at Upton Park has been since he took over three years ago.

In May 2005 West Ham beat Preston 1-0 in the Championship play-off final at the Millennium Stadium, a game many felt was win or bust for Pardew.

Even striker Bobby Zamora, who netted the winning goal, admitted as much, saying: "Possibly this has saved Alan his job."

PARDEW'S WEST HAM RECORD
Played: 163
Won: 67
Drawn: 34
Lost: 62

After that play-off final win, Pardew said: "In the two years I have been here, all I have heard is negative stuff and it has been a cycle of misery."

It was only after the victory over Preston that West Ham supporters seemed ready to fully embrace Pardew.

The faithful had been reluctant to sing "Alan Pardew's claret and blue army" until that day in Cardiff - 19 months after he completed his controversial move east from Reading.

Following high-profile legal wrangles with the Berkshire club, he finally took charge in October 2003, replacing caretaker boss Trevor Brooking.

Taking over from such a popular figure was never going to be easy and when West Ham lost to Crystal Palace in the 2003-2004 play-off final, only promotion to the Premiership the following season was going to be enough.

But 2004-2005 was patchy, with the Hammers never seriously looking like earning a top-two finish, and the fans were not impressed.

As sloppy defeats followed solid wins, Pardew seemed always to be only one game from the sack.

A place in the play-offs was only secured by a last-day 2-1 win at Watford.

A play-off final spot was only clinched by Zamora's second-half double in the second leg against Ipswich.

Last season Pardew appeared to have finally found his feet at Upton Park, but 31 August 2006 changed all that.



SEE ALSO
West Ham make Curbishley approach
12 Dec 06 |  West Ham Utd
Pardew sacked as West Ham manager
11 Dec 06 |  West Ham Utd
Pardew says Argentines will stay
01 Dec 06 |  West Ham Utd
West Ham accept 85m takeover bid
21 Nov 06 |  West Ham Utd
Magnusson 'to succeed' at Hammers
21 Nov 06 |  West Ham Utd
Pardew & Wenger hit by FA charges
08 Nov 06 |  Premiership
Pardew signs new Hammers contract
02 Nov 05 |  West Ham Utd
Eriksson link to West Ham denied
26 Oct 06 |  West Ham Utd
Pardew reveals Hammers job fear
15 Oct 06 |  West Ham Utd
Pardew denies threatening to quit
04 Oct 06 |  West Ham Utd
West Ham sign Tevez & Mascherano
31 Aug 06 |  West Ham Utd


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