Under fire Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew, was under even more pressure after his side slumped to yet another defeat last night to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke is never an easy place to visit when a team is looking to get a result in the Premier League as many of the title contenders can testify, but Pardew would have hoped that his team could have given him some breathing space after a miserable start to their season thus far. Despite plenty of effort by his players, including hitting the crossbar late on, a 15th minute goal from ex England striker Peter Crouch proved enough to give Stoke the three points on the night and move them into mid table in the league to ease their own relegation concerns.

The Magpies now languish second bottom with only a better goal difference keeping them above newly promoted Burnley.

After the game, Pardew said that he expected to have further discussions with the beleaguered owner Mike Ashley, a man who does not enjoy the best of relationships with the passionate Geordie fans himself and who has tried to sell the club on several occasions during his fractious time in charge. The lack of quality signings in recent years and indeed commonly the sale of their better players to other clubs (Demba Ba's move to Chelsea and Yohan Cabaye's sale to PSG spring immediately to mind) has left many supporters questioning the direction the club is going in. Some may even argue that they have become an 'elite' selling club as they look to buy promising players of a certain age for a reasonable fee, ensuring that there is a ceiling on the wages they pay, and then look to balance the books by commanding higher transfer fees when they sell them on to richer clubs across Europe.

Pardew is working within those constraints and so commands some sympathy, but he must be constantly wondering when his luck will change and the team can at least string some decent results together. Six games into the new season (after an ignominious finish to their last, that saw them only win one game out of their last 8 league matches) they are still looking for their first league win, although they did have success in the Capital One Cup last week against Crystal Palace. Ashley's comments last week that suggested his manager's days at the club were numbered should they lose to Stoke, despite his subsequent claims that suggested he was only joking at the time, will hardly have provided the support Pardew was hoping for. As a solid footballing man he will get on with the job as best he can until told otherwise, but is unlikely to relish the upcoming league fixtures against Spurs and Liverpool. Neither does a trip to the Etihad to play Champions, Manchester City, in the Capital One Cup suggest any likely relief on their travels.