New Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has made keeping England striker Andy Carroll at St James' Park his first priority.
The 49-year-old Londoner was yesterday unveiled as Chris Hughton's successor as furious fans made their feelings known about his appointment on a five-and-a-half-year contract.
Pardew, who was not accompanied by owner Mike Ashley or managing director Derek Llambias when he met the media for the first time as the new Magpies manager, spoke frankly about his reception and acknowledged the residual anger at Hughton's treatment.
However, he moved quickly to quell speculation that 21-year-old Carroll, the jewel in the departing manager's crown, could be sold to give him a transfer kitty in January.
Pardew said: "Andy Carroll was at the top of my list of questions because he needs to stay.
"This club has been crying out for another No 9 and he looks like he's fitting the bill, so I made it very clear that he needs to stay."
Pardew, who also revealed he would be trying to persuade out-of-contract defender Steven Taylor to remain on Tyneside, took up the reins well aware of the negative response to his appointment.
However, while much of the fury is directed at Ashley and his regime rather than himself, he is confident he can win over his doubters.
He said: "I know they (the fans] are frustrated, that's fairly obvious by the reaction.
"I'm not going to say I have kept away from it, I have tried to keep up to date with the frustration.
"They probably thought they had some stability with Chris and that's gone, and the record of managers who have come and gone here, it doesn't bode well.
"I am trying to say that I will work as hard as I possibly can here to get a situation where I can bring some longevity to the job."
Despite the length of his contract – even Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson did not last five and a half years in the job on Tyneside – Pardew is acutely aware that he will have little chance of remaining in his post until 2016 unless he can keep the club in the Barclays Premier League.
He is confident the men he inherited from Hughton are good enough to preserve the club's top-flight status based on the foundation of 19 points they have collected from the first 16 games.
Ashley's managerial appointments
Alan PARDEW is Newcastle owner Mike Ashley's sixth managerial appointment of a three-and-a-half-year reign.
His other managers were:
(May 2007-January 2008)
Ashley inherited Allardyce, appointed by former chairman Freddy Shepherd as Glenn Roeder's successor, when he bought the club at the end of the 2006-07 season. However, Allardyce, recruited from Bolton for his methodical approach, lasted just eight months.
(Jan 2008-Sept 2008)
after missing out on Harry Redknapp, Newcastle managed to persuade Keegan to return to the club he had served with distinction as player and manager. Frustration with the Ashley regime's transfer policy and looming presence of executive director (football) Dennis Wise led to a breakdown in relationships and the former England chief later won a case for constructive dismissal.
(Sept 2008-April 2009)
Kinnear stepped into the breech with a flurry of expletives as Ashley's efforts to land a top target came to nothing. The former Wimbledon chief's reign ended when he suffered a recurrence of heart problems.
(April 2009-May 2009
With the club in relegation trouble, record scorer Shearer was drafted in with Iain Dowie in a last-ditch attempt to avoid the drop. However, he managed just one win in his eight games.
(July 2009-Dec 2010)
former caretaker Hughton returned in pre-season and was handed the job on a permanent basis in October last year. He promptly rewarded Ashley with the Championship trophy and promotion, but securing a mid-table position this season was not enough to save his job.