A regional Sunday newspaper mocked a Premiership football manager on its back page after he appeared to blame the “local press” for his team’s poor form.
Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew responded to questions about the team’s recent performances following a dismal 1-0 defeat to Stoke on Saturday by saying: “I don’t think the local press have helped.”
He also claimed that some local journalists had “a bit of an agenda” after being banned from the stadium by the club.
The Newcastle-based Sunday Sun responded by publishing a mocking back page in which it appeared to accept the blame for the team’s recent run of poor results and apologised to fans.
The Chronicle also responded to Mr Pardew’s comments with an online poll yesterday in which fans were asked whether they were happy with Pardew, owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee charnley.
After 7,000 responses, Mr Pardew had secured an approval rating of 7.2pc while Ashley achieved only 5.5pc.
The spat represents a new low in the fractious relationship between the club and Newcastle’s three Trinity Mirror-owned titles which has already seen the Chronicle and Journal and Sunday Sun banned from St James’ Park for most of the season.
The ban was introduced after what the club felt was unhelpful coverage of a fans’ protest against the club’s owners.
Speaking after Saturday’s game, Mr Pardew said: “I don’t feel safe. I never feel safe as a Premier League manager. We live sort of five to six games as we go, in terms of the pressure building from the media.
“I don’t actually think the local media in the North East helped us this week. They whipped it up for whatever reason. I know one or two have been banned from the stadium and they probably use that as a bit of an agenda. Which is a bit of shame for us because we want them to support us.”
However his comments sparked widespread derision on Newcastle United blogs and fans’ forums.
Writing on Coming Home Newcastle, Robert Bishop said: “Alan Pardew’s myriad excuses following losses have long been a sore spot for Newcastle fans….Pardew has long ago gone off the deep end into self-delusion.”