Pardew admits that under owner Mike Ashley's prudent self-sufficiency plan, Newcastle days of splashing out £15m on Alan Shearer and £17m on Michael Owen are consigned to the history books.
Pardew said: "The problem is where we are now financially means that we can never really fulfil the expectations of the fans.
"They have memories of European football, but the gap is getting bigger as the years go by. The top clubs are getting an influx of money at Champions League level and we have sovereign states owning football clubs.
"It is becoming difficult to compete with the top clubs, but that is not to say we can't compete at the level we are at. But we are always vulnerable to the bigger clubs, as Andy Carroll proved.
"That makes it difficult to manage but not impossible.
"Mike Ashley (left) and Derek Llambias made it quite clear - the club needs to wipe its nose and therefore we haven't got investment above our income.
"That is how Mike wants to run the football club.
"Other clubs spend more than they earn and Manchester City have been able to break into the top four for that reason. They have a sovereign state backing them.
"We can't compete with that. It is very difficult. We can only compete 11 v 11 on a Saturday."