It could only happen at Newcastle United, the maddest club on the planet

POINTING THE FINGER: David Meyler (left) clashes with Newcastle United's manager Alan Pardew
POINTING THE FINGER: David Meyler (left) clashes with Newcastle United's manager Alan Pardew

IT could only happen at Newcastle United, the maddest club on the planet.

It had been six long years since the team had last scored four goals away from home.

And it had been more than 24 years since the club last won at Hull City.

It was a memorable afternoon on the pitch in many respects.

Goals scored: Four. Goals conceded: One.

But the game’s talking point came off the pitch.

Headbutts committed: One.

And it was the latter statistic which was being discussed by Newcastle’s 2,500 fans as they headed away from Humberside on the M62 on Saturday – and the wider footballing public.

The moral high ground was sought.

But the game is littered with transgressions and questionable behaviour.

It’s not always a beautiful game and Pardew’s actions, unquestionably, were a terrible example to the younger generations.

Before United’s supporters even got to the A1 at Ferrybridge, they will have heard callers on Radio 5 Live’s 606 show demand his sacking.

After all, in any other walk of life, anyone doing as he did would more than likely be summarily dismissed.

But this is football. It’s not like any other walk of life.

And as Newcastle’s supporters finally watched the incident on Match of the Day late that night, United issued a statement revealing that Pardew had been given a “formal warning” and a £100,000 fine.

Further sanctions will follow from the FA.

If there is any repeat in future, Pardew would have no grounds for complaint if he was sacked. That’s a given.

Of course, it wasn’t the first such offence committed by someone in the club’s employ this season – Loic Remy got there first in January at Carrow Road – but this was different.

It was committed by United’s manager, Alan Pardew. Managers have an even greater responsibility to the game.

Pardew, of course, has previous – just ask linesman Peter Kirkup, pushed by him during a match against Tottenham Hotspur last season.

He’s an emotional, passionate and occasionally foul-mouthed character on the touchline, but he’s not alone. The pressure on managers, especially the man in charge at St James’s Park, is intense.

And that pressure often tells in dugout behaviour.

But what Pardew did to David Meyler was indefensible, whatever the provocation from the Hull midfielder, who had pushed him after he retrieved the ball, which had gone out of play.

And a contrite Pardew didn’t attempt to defend himself when he addressed the media after the game.

Rightly, he took full responsibility and apologised to Meyler, Hull and his own club and its supporters.

The thing was, Newcastle were leading 3-1 at the time.

Pardew’s side were winning comfortably. So why? I doubt even Pardew can answer that.

Set up to counter-attack, United had taken a 10th-minute lead seconds after a goalkeeper Tim Krul had made a fine double save to deny Alex Bruce, son of Hull manager Steve.

Midfielder Moussa Sissoko beat Allan McGregor with a first-time shot from a Mathieu Debuchy pull-back.

Nikica Jelavic and Ahmed Elmohamady missed opportunities to level before a dreadful backpass from Maynor Figueroa was intercepted by Remy, who took the ball past McGregor and finished into the empty net.

Curtis Davies got to a Tom Huddlestone cross before Krul early in the second half to bring the score back to 2-1.

But Sissoko got to McGregor’s parry – he stopped a shot from Yoan Gouffran – before anyone else to restore United’s two-goal advantage in the 56th minute.

And that’s where we were when Pardew inexplicably lost his head. He was stood in front of an executive box in the main stand at the KC Stadium for the rest of the game after being sent off by referee Kevin Friend.

From there he saw Vurnon Anita score his first Premier League goal in added time.

It will be some time before Pardew – who will this week be charged by the Football Association – watches a game from the dugout again.

Whatever Pardew’s vantage point, if he watches a few more performances like this one, Newcastle won’t be doing much wrong.

And maybe, just maybe, the club can finish higher than eighth in the Premier League.

After what happened on a bright spring day at the KC Stadium – and indeed the events on and off the pitch so far this season – few would dare predict what will happen next.This is, after all, Newcastle United.