Fans' criticism of Arsene Wenger 'disrespectful,' says Alan Pardew
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has branded the verbal abuse handed out to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger by his own supporters as "disrespectful" and suggested the north London club could consider re-naming their stadium after the veteran manager.
Wenger came under fire from Arsenal fans following last Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Stoke, with supporters waiting at the train station to hurl some angry words at the 65-year-old tactician.
The incident was viewed by thousands on social media forums, but the Frenchman has since insisted such criticism will not encourage him to make an exit from the club.
Now he has received support from his next opponent, with Pardew quick to rush to the defence of Wenger ahead of his side's trip to face Arsenal on Saturday.
"The incident at the train station was totally disrespectful," said the Newcastle boss. "I think 90 percent of Arsenal fans would have been ashamed of that and we could get the backlash of it. The crowd on Saturday will want to show how much they love him.
"Their stadium should be named after Arsene. The job he did with that move across from Highbury, when he had all that debt and had to be very careful with his transfer budget, was incredible. It was a miracle that he kept them in the Champions League.
"After Sir Alex Ferguson, he's the best manager in Premier League history. Jose Mourinho hasn't done enough yet [to compete with them]."
Pardew went on to insist the perception that he has a difficult relationship with Wenger is misplaced, with the touchline clash he had with the Arsenal boss during his days as West Ham boss in 2006 and his elaborate celebrations after his Newcastle side came from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with the Gunners in February 2011 downplayed by the Londoner.
"I've had one run-in with Arsene when I was at West Ham and there was a last-minute goal but otherwise he's been fantastic with me," he added.
"I have nothing but respect for him and I've always enjoyed watching his teams. I think everyone at Arsenal knows that he's done a magnificent job, but all of us managers are on a six-game, seven-game period [of judgement], we have to accept that.
"Arsene's squad is very strong at the moment and they are playing a slightly more conservative game so I think it will be tight."