Alan Pardew is living on borrowed time as Newcastle United manager.

Saturday’s defeat at Stoke brought the first clear cut signals from the Toon Army that they want their manager to be dismissed. Banners were unfurled in the away end and chants of “Pardew out” could be heard from the visiting fans at the Britannia Stadium.

A recent poll by the Chronicle resulted in a whopping 86% of Newcastle fans wanting Pardew to be given his p45.

Going into this season, Pardew had led Newcastle to fifth place in the Premier League and won the LMA Manager of the Year award, before narrowly avoiding relegation with the same side 12 months later. The drastically differing seasons meant opinion was split on the 52-year-old, so this season would see many fence-sitters choose a side.

Now they’ve chosen and it’s not good news for the former West Ham and Charlton boss.

Having lost three on the spin before the Stoke game, Pardew decided to make changes. He changed the formation as well as the personnel, to an untried and untested 5-3-2 system. The change did nothing except highlight the Newcastle manager’s total lack of tactical knowledge.

The three centre-backs were fine. Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson are all solid enough choices in the defence. Tim Krul behind them is OK too, although Rob Elliot could be forgiven for feeling aggrieved at losing his place despite playing well in the games he deputised in.

From there on though, almost every choice was wrong.

Many pages could be filled with the volume of Pardew’s blunders but we’ll focus on the two main ones.

Firstly, the selection of Vurnon Anita at right wing-back. The Dutchman has been in good form all season, making neat and tidy passes in midfield and complementing Cheick Tiote nicely in the middle of the park. Pardew played him on the right of midfield last week against Man United, a position totally unfamiliar to the former Ajax man. Unsurprisingly, Anita was out of his depth and comfort zone and was barely noticeable against David Moyes’ side.

So, instead of moving Anita back into his favoured central midfield role, Pardew came up with the plan of playing him in a wing-back position, where he has to combine being a right-back as well as a right winger – BOTH positions which Anita isn’t comfortable in.

Obviously it didn’t work and because he was the only man out on the wing for Newcastle, Stoke hammered him all afternoon. Marko Arnautovic – Stoke’s best player by a country mile – is capable of beating two players by himself, so when he and Erik Pieters doubled up, they had a field day against the beleaguered Anita.

Infield, it was equally ugly for the Magpies.

That was because Yoan Gouffran – an attacking winger/striker – was playing in central midfield. The thinking behind this was totally baffling for the thousands of Newcastle fans trying to work out what was going on in their manager’s mind.

Gouffran ran around like a headless chicken in midfield, – something Pardew should have seen clearly from his vantage point in the crowd at the Britannia – not knowing who to track or when to attack or defend. The Frenchman cannot be blamed either, as he has to take orders from a man who appears to be clutching at straws on a weekly basis.

Pardew has been in charge of Newcastle for almost three and a half years, – he’s the second longest serving manager in the Premier League – yet if you asked him right now what his strongest team was, he wouldn’t know. That is because if any of Newcastle’s key players get injured or suspended, he’s totally lost. Square pegs start getting forced into round holes and Newcastle start to get outplayed by teams that shouldn’t beat them so easily.

Week after week, plastic excuses stream from the Newcastle chief’s mouth and with every uttering, he loses another smattering of the Geordie faithful.

After three and a half years, there isn’t many of them left.