Charlton Athletic, West Ham United
2014/2015 Barclays Premier League
Previous Clubs: Reading, West Ham, Charlton, Southampton
Honours: Championship playoff winner: 2005; Johnstone's Paint Trophy: 2010
In just 18 months, Alan Pardew went from managing League One club Southampton to guiding Newcastle to a fifth-place finish in the Premier League, completing a remarkable turnaround after his career had looked to be foundering.
For Pardew, a man who has always radiated self-confidence from every pore, a return to top-flight management with Newcastle in December 2010 came as no surprise. Whether through merit or through his friendship with club director Derek Llambias, Pardew was unveiled as the man to replace the ousted Chris Hughton as Newcastle United boss - going on to show his ability and then some, as well as winning over the sceptical Toon faithful.
His previous rise from League One boss to the Premier League took a little longer, but was nonetheless impressive. Pardew cut his managerial teeth at Reading, masterminding the Royals' rise from the League One doldrums to the Championship play-offs in less than four seasons. His achievements in Berkshire led newly-relegated West Ham to swoop for him, but after a play-off defeat to Crystal Palace, with whom he had won an FA Cup runners-up medal as a player in 1990, Pardew's job appeared in jeopardy at the end of his first campaign. The following season saw regular speculation that he would be sacked, but Pardew produced a masterstroke in signing veteran striker Teddy Sheringham and showed great strength of character to guide the Hammers through the play-offs and back into the Premier League.
Back in the top flight, the Hammers turned on the style, playing some sublime football and earning a ninth-place finish. They led Liverpool 3-2 in the dying embers of the 2006 FA Cup final only for Steven Gerrard to score a stunning leveller and West Ham eventually lost on spot-kicks. With a place in Europe assured there was a real buzz around Upton Park at the start of 2007-08, and it began well enough with a 3-1 home victory over Charlton Athletic. But it was all downhill from there. Much of West Ham's woes were blamed on the signing of Argentine duo Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez, as many claimed they had upset the equilibrium of the squad and when Eggert Magnusson won the race to buy West Ham, Pardew was fired having lost 14 of the first 18 matches.
He was not out of the game for long, and resurfaced at second-bottom Charlton Athletic on Christmas Eve in 2006 - effectively resulting in him changing clubs with Alan Curbishley. Although some positive results gave the Addicks a sniff of survival, they eventual suffered relegation to the Championship, but it was Pardew's failure to get them promoted at the first attempt - managing only a disappointing 11th-place finish - that led to his sacking at the start of the 2008-09 season.
Eight months later and he was back in a job at Southampton, who had been relegated to League One along with former club Charlton. Despite starting on minus ten points after the club went into administration earlier in the year, Pardew took the Saints to the brink of the play-offs and won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy to mark a solid first campaign. He was surprisingly sacked in August 2010, before even more surprisingly landing the Magpies job in December.
Fighting against an angry backlash from the Ashley and Llambias-hating Toon faithful who felt he was in the pocket of the 'Cockney Mafia', Pardew guided Newcastle to a 12th place finish before beginning to put his own stamp on the side in the summer of 2011. Jose Enrique, Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan - the club's three best players the previous season - were all allowed to leave, raising plenty of eyebrows. But the arrivals of Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba in bargain deals had a profoundly positive impact on the team, and they surprised all onlookers with an electric start to 2011-12. Still fighting as underdogs for the top four in January, Pardew brought in Papiss Cisse to add an extra dimension to the attack and it proved another inspired acquisition. Newcastle narrowly missed out on the top four in the end, but still finished a hugely impressive fifth, a point ahead of Champions League winners Chelsea.
Pardew was handed an eight-year contract by owner Mike Ashley and has gone on to experience multiple highs and lows since committing his long-term future. The Toon army witnessed Pardew's men reach a European quarterfinal for the first time in eight years in 2012-13 although supporters' spirits were soon dampened by a 3-0 home defeat in the Tyne-Wear derby; their biggest since 1979.
A largely unspectacular 2013-14 season ended on a sour note for Pardew as the St James' Park faithful aired their frustrations when 15 of the club's last 21 games ended in defeat, resulting in an underwhelming 10th place finish for the Magpies.
Strengths: Possessing unwavering self-confidence, Pardew's belief in his own ability has carried him a long way thus far in his managerial career. He also has a deep belief in the merits of a psychological and motivational approach to football, and his successes at Reading, West Ham, Southampton and now Newcastle, prove that his approach can bear fruit.
Weaknesses: Despite priding himself on being a good man-manager, Pardew struggled to handle the big personalities of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano at West Ham. After his sacking by the Hammers, Tevez said: "I don't think he had a clear idea about my game or what to do. He was a good football man but more suited to coaching English teams without foreigners with big reputations."
Career high: While taking West Ham to within moments of a first major trophy since 1980 in the 2006 FA Cup final was admirable, his guiding of Newcastle to a fifth-place Premier League finish in 2011-12 was nothing short of miraculous. He was deservedly named LMA Manager of the Year for his efforts.
Career low: Failing to keep Charlton in the Premier League in 2007 and then also failing to mount a serious challenge for promotion the following season, resulting in his dismissal.
Tactics: Pardew has previously used the phrase "Tenacity, Spirit and Flair" to describe his teams' approach and he has attempted to bring the Magpies the brand attacking football that they have craved over the years.
Quotes: "Alan Pardew's achievements at Newcastle this season are there for all to see and it is just reward that he should be named as LMA Manager of the Year. I'm often asked, 'where are all the English coaches?' My answer is 'We have plenty of them, they just need an opportunity'. I am delighted for Alan that he has taken his opportunity." LMA chairman Howard Wilkinson, May 2012.
Trivia: Pardew's love for all things motivational led to him pinning excerpts from speeches by Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King to the walls of the changing room at Reading's training ground.
Words: Dale Johnson and Mark Lomas