Newcastle United have said that comments made by owner Mike Ashley about Alan Pardew were a joke and intended to be tongue-in -cheek.
The Magpies owner and Sports Direct mogul was reported by the Independent as having said that Pardew is "finished" if his side loses against Stoke on Monday night.
The article claims that Ashley was speaking outside the Golden Lion pub in Soho, central London on Thursday night. He is reported to have said:
He’s got one more game,
If we lose against Stoke on Monday night then he’s gone. I have had enough.
The paper says that Ashley then made a throat-cutting gesture and added:
Dead. Finished. Over. One more game, then that’s it.
What would you do? I have spent a lot of money on that club, it’s cost me a lot. I won’t put up with it any more. Honestly, answer me, what would you do? One more loss and he’s gone, he’s over, finished.
When asked is Alan Pardew was aware of such sentiments, Ashley replied:
That’s all I’m prepared to say about it and now that I’ve said it, it’s out there. You can do what you want with it. There’s only so much I can take.
Newcastle remain at the foot of the Premier League table with just three point from five games so far. It seems that Pardew, who signed a jaw-dropping eight-year contract in 2012 might have one game to save his job.