MIKE Ashley bounded into the dressing room after Newcastle United’s win over Leicester City – and reiterated his commitment to the club.
Ashley spent 10 minutes congratulating the players after Saturday’s hard-fought 1-0 victory at St James’s Park.
The victory was the club’s first in the Premier League this season, but it wasn’t enough to haul United out of the relegation zone.
Ashley, however, still made a rare visit to the dressing room to give a post-match speech to Pardew’s players.
The billionaire was keen to stress the importance of the win, which came after a troubled two months on Tyneside which have seen fans chant for Pardew’s dismissal.
Pardew even joked with Ashley about the problem with a loose border panel on St James’s Park’s new TV screen, which had led to kick-off time being put back an hour.
And Pardew felt the impromptu visit underlined Ashley’s “commitment” to the club in the wake of his decision to increase his shareholding in Rangers.
Pardew said: “It was a surprise – we didn’t expect to see him.
“He spent about 10 minutes congratulating everyone.
“If anyone has ever doubted his commitment, you saw it there. He was as happy as any fan at the win.
“I teased him about the cheap telly, and he took that in good spirits. We all had a bit of a laugh about it.
“That is the first time since I have been here that he has been in the dressing room straight after the game. It shows what that result meant to him.”
The game, decided by Gabriel Obertan’s second-half goal, saw Pardew reach a managerial milestone.
“I’ve had 700 games as a manager,” said Pardew, whose side take on Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
“And if I gave some manager a bit of advice, I’d say never use the word ‘desperate’ in your Press conference. Sometimes it was desperate, but in the end we got the job done.”