i think he means in terms of fan base.
in that respect they truly are massive and if they were given any sort of sustained level of success then their atttendances would rival any in the country.
The problem is cos of their level of support comes an even bigger level of expectancy and maybe a dillusiuonal attitude as to where they should be.
Currently they need to realise they need to do what every club has to do having attained promotion and just survive - which they should do, there are worse teams than them in the division.
then they can start to push on,
As for Pardew, as a neutral im a little disappointed, Pardew is a very uninspiring appointement, not too sure what, if anyithing he has achieved that has been successful.
i think hes acheived the odd promotion, hes got teams playing decent football and he may have saved a club from the drop but nothing that jumps out and says hes significantly better to take the club forward than Houghton was.
Would had loved to have seen Oneill back in the game, He could have been the one to harness that unrivaled passion they have up their for the game,
it could have been something really special...real shame.