ALAN Pardew says his relationship with Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is stronger than ever – thanks to his headbutt on David Meyler.
There were calls for Ashley to sack the club’s manager after he clashed with the Hull City striker early this month.
And had Ashley wanted Pardew out of St James’s Park, the incident could have led to a summary dismissal.
Instead, the 52-year-old – who is 18 months into a eight-year contract – was fined £100,000 by his club and issued with a “formal warning”.
The Football Association have since banned Pardew – who says he “deeply regrets” the incident – for seven Premier League games, and fined him £60,000.
Pardew – whose eighth-placed side take on Fulham at Craven Cottage tomorrow – is grateful for the support he has had from sportswear tycoon Ashley.
“I know the incident wasn’t what I wanted, and I deeply regret it,” Pardew said.
“But I think it shows I have a passion for this football club. I think fans respond to that.
“I’ll do anything to win a game for this football club, but it has to be within the rules.
“It’s maybe made me and Mike stronger, as Mike’s backed me.
“I thank him for that. I want to repay him.”
Pardew admits he feared for his job in the hours after the Hull game.
However, late that night United issued a statement revealing his fine – and making it clear he faced no further sanctions from the club.
Asked if he was concerned he would lose his job, Pardew said: “You have to.
“When you are in the public eye, like I am, and an incident like that (happens), you have to fear for your future.
“Of course, it’s a relief, because when you have made a mistake – and men make mistakes – my mistake was in front of millions of people, but you have to pay a price and there was a hefty price to pay.
“Mike acted swiftly, and I accepted that, and we go forward.
“I have to say that in this interim period since the incident, the backing I have had from the club in particular has been a really big help to me because obviously, it’s been difficult.”
Pardew – who has been involved in a number of touchline clashes in the past – admits he will try to change his management style when he returns from his ban.
“I’ve had one touchline ban before,” he said.
“I just think the most important thing is that I turn this into a positive, and maybe try to change my management style a little bit.”
In the meantime, Pardew – who is not allowed in the stadium for the first three matches of his ban – will attempt to prepare his players as best he can before they leave the team hotel.
From then on, they will be in the hands of assistant manager John Carver.
“The delivery of the gameplan doesn’t change,” said Pardew, who has captain Fabricio Coloccini again available.
“That will be done just before the players leave the hotel. It’ll be fresh in their minds.
“I’ll give responsibility to my staff. I trust my staff, especially John Carver. He can deliver the gameplan.
“He knows what I expect and I don’t envisage, for three games, it being a massive problem, if I’m honest.
“Colo’s also going to be important.”