Newcastle manager Alan Pardew defended Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger amid fan criticism of the 65-year-old Frenchman, saying that the North London club should rename its stadium for Wenger, according to The Guardian.
Criticism of Wenger has increased in recent weeks as Arsenal has failed to meet expectations this season. The team is currently sixth in the Premier League with 23 points, which is 13 points behind league leader Chelsea.
“This is a guy who has done an unbelievable job and the stadium should have been named after him,” Pardew said, according to the report.
Pardew was also on the receiving end of intense criticism earlier this season, but Newcastle's recent form -- including a victory over previously undefeated Chelsea -- has quieted calls for the manager to be sacked.
Wenger has been with Arsenal since 1996. He led the club to Premier League titles in 1997-98, 2001-02 and 2003-04, and he oversaw FA Cup victories in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2014.
Pardew said no one else could have managed Arsenal so adroitly through its move to the new stadium -- Arsenal moved to Emirates Stadium from Highbury in 2006 -- and the accompanying debt that it brought the club.
“When they moved houses they couldn’t have competed in the Champions League without him being so astute in the transfer market,” Pardew said, according to The Guardian. “Bearing in mind the debt they had when they first moved in, he has done an absolutely marvelous job.”
- Phil Watson