It's always one of those interesting exercises, you think you know where it might take you and you end up dumb struck.

Newcastle has proved to be something of a managerial merry-go-round in the past. The present incumbenmt is under pressure. The burning question is how does he compare, both with his own record at clubs and those of his predecessors at St James' Park?

Statistics can always carry an element of bias, where do you start, where do you end and what is hidden on the way?

This exercise is based from after the Boxing Day fixture when Newcastle United beat Stoke, perhaps a Christmas gift from the referee on the day with 2 sendings off but it is the last time that Pardew came from behind to win. After seeing the results of the speculative exercise, it wouldn't really have made much difference if we had taken this calendar year.

So the basis of calculation is the last 24 matches. Pardew has been sacked by a couple of clubs that he managed in the Premier League, both of them when in a relegation position, west Ham in the Premier League and Charlton after he had managed them into the Championship.

The comparison has been made with other managers to have been sacked by Newcastle rather than resigned. The only one not to have been here for 24 games is Sam Allardyce who made a grand total of 21 in the Premier League. The Sir Bobby story is something different so he has been left out of the equation. Points have been adjusted to the current method, i.e 3 for a win.

So, the results:

Pardew current form2453161745-2818
Pardew at West Ham2473141633-1724
Pardew at Charlton2465133041-1123

Some things become obvious. Pardew clearly has the worst record over his most recent 24 games than any other Newcastle United manager over theirs. His closest target is Kenny Dalglish, effectively needing 2 wins in the next 2 games to overhaul the Scot.

Many supporters will have sympathy with the previous worst, Richard Dinnis, a PE teacher who was arguably never cut out for management, at least he never managed again. We then climb to the grossly underfunded Ardiles and the grossly overfunded Souness.

Special mention should be made of the late Bill McGarry, In his penultimate season, Newcastle United headed the table after a famous New Year demolition of Sunderland (a team that Pardew has lost against in the last 3 encounters) to finish 9th and was sacked when 2nd bottom of his league at the time. Pardew never reached the same heights but has suffered a lower low.

So those are the stats. Why does Ashley persist with his manager?

Some pundits will refer to Sir Alex having been saved by one result before becoming the most successful manager in England. At face value, Pardew has arguably greater things to achieve and famously spent time under Ferguson's wing. The owner may have faith in Pardew being able to exceed Sir Alex's success.

Perhaps Ashley is egalitarian, giving managers of all abilities the chance to shine?

Only the cynical would suggest that as a renowned gambler, Ashley had the odds stacked in his favour should he choose to bet against his own club.

Maybe there is a masochistic streak. The goal difference of 11 worse than the next competitor would seem to validate such conjecture.

Some have argued that Ashley would have to pay out to sack his current puppet. Surely Ashley has the business sense to realise that such a liability as Pardew is actually costing him Premier league prize money?

The other set of conjectures is that Ashley is torturing the Geordie public. Keegan's resignation produced a huge backlash, against our next opponents, Hull City. Ashley's other puppet at the time, Llambias, was left to face the music on his own. Perhaps a hint of sadism makes him want to see somebody else suffer the same ironic fate?

Pardew has never had the decency to resign when he could not perform. Ashley is renowned for parking tanks on lawns. Who will flinch first? Can we expect Pardew to quit or will Ashley hold out for zero compensation?