Why Alan Pardew would swap Newcastle for Crystal Palace

By Phil McNultyChief football writer
Alan Pardew of Newcastle United looks on prior to the Capital One Cup third round match between Crystal Palace and Newcastle United at Selhurst Park
Alan Pardew has been given permission to talk to Crystal Palace

Alan Pardew leaving Newcastle United to take over as Crystal Palace manager may be seen by some - when placed in the context of scale, potential and Premier League placing - as a step down into a relegation fight.

And yet it seems clear that Pardew can barely wait to pack his bags and leave Tyneside for Selhurst Park once the call came from his former club following the sacking of Neil Warnock.

So why did Pardew finally feel it was time to end his loveless marriage with the Toon Army and what will await him at Palace after a reconciliation with the club where he distinguished himself as a player?



At Newcastle, Pardew's stock with the supporters was so low that few will mourn his departure. Even if he had brought a trophy to Tyneside, you suspect credit from fans would have been delivered elsewhere rather than at the door of the manager.

Newcastle United fans hold a 'Pardew Out' banner during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's
Alan Pardew has been regarded with suspicion by Newcastle fans

From his appointment in succession to the popular Chris Hughton in December 2010, many fans simply viewed him as part of owner Mike Ashley's so-called "Cockney Mafia" and a stooge for the man who runs such a tight ship. He was regarded with suspicion by supporters who felt he was simply a "yes man" for a disliked hierarchy.

In some instances Pardew hardly helped himself, such as when verbally abusing Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini in the technical area or putting the head in on Hull City's David Meyler.

This season "Pardew Out" banners have been held aloft at regular intervals and a fans' website was set up devoted to getting him sacked. "Pardew Is A Muppet" was also daubed on a bedsheet paraded by fans - in others words he was fighting a battle for acceptance that he would never win.

When he got good results, Pardew was simply disliked a little less.


Pardew will receive a warm welcome from passionate Palace fans who remember him as the man who scored the decisive goal in the famous 4-3 FA Cup semi-final win against Liverpool at Villa Park in 1990 and played in the finals against Manchester United.

Pardew goal sends Palace to Wembley

He will be well received by supporters who could see the Warnock reign was not working and he will also be well-regarded for leaving a club higher up the Premier League to embark on a survival mission.

Pardew will be viewed as someone who knows what makes the club's supporters tick. He will already be aware of the noise and hostility that can be generated by Palace fans in some of the most atmospheric surroundings in the Premier League.

Results are the traditional barometer of managerial popularity and Pardew will need them quickly - but he will surely feel a burden has been lifted by doing his job in an atmosphere of support and affection from a fanbase that was never afforded him at Newcastle.



Newcastle owner Mike Ashley deserves credit for refusing to bend in the face of fan protests and sack Pardew - but this may have been a matter of convenience as his manager accepted the way he wanted to run the club.

Football is strictly business to Ashley, especially at a club where he also has little affection or respect from fans. Transfer budgets were strictly controlled and prize assets such as Yohan Cabaye were always prey if the chance of a big profit came along, such as when the Frenchman was sold to Paris St-Germain last January for £19m after signing from Lille for £4.3m in June 2011.

Newcastle United's English owner Mike Ashley takes his seat before the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton
It has been suggested that no transfer funds would have been made available to Pardew in January by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley

Ashley was never going to cede control to Pardew when it came to signing players and it is believed a conversation which suggested no transfer funds would be forthcoming this January - unless of course midfielder Moussa Sissoko was sold - was part of the process that led up to this move.

Ashley, like the shrewd businessman he is, keeps his eye on the cash but at least he kept Pardew in place when many others would have bowed to demands from supporters.


Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish will back Pardew after acting decisively to dismiss Warnock - and he will need this appointment to work as much as his new manager. Pardew will instantly be working from a position of greater power than he ever had at Newcastle.

Parish, a passionate Palace supporter, has had a chequered recent record and will not want history to judge him as making another poor decision - especially after circumstances surrounding the departure of Tony Pulis.

Steve Parish, co-Chairman of Crystal Palace looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Crystal Palace at Loftus Road
Pardew would be working for a chairman who is as desperate to make a go of this as him

The chairman deserves credit for appointing Pulis last season and watched with delight as he plotted an escape from what seemed certain relegation, only for the mood to change when he left just 48 hours before the start of the new season.

Parish always denied claims the pair had a rift over transfer targets but did admit "the communication was difficult".

Warnock was a mistake, albeit a short-lived one. Pardew would be working for a chairman who is as desperate to make a go of this as him. Parish cannot afford another failure with the stakes so high.

What is certain is that Parish would give Pardew a much greater say in who comes and goes at Palace than he had at Newcastle, although not a huge budget. This will have great appeal.

Tim Krul
Goalkeeper Tim Krul is one of the stars of the Newcastle team



Pardew leaves behind a Newcastle side in 10th place in the Premier League, respectability and the same position they finished last season. He will also have gone out with a 3-2 win against Everton.

Newcastle's squad contains real quality in the shape of players such as goalkeeper Tim Krul, defenders Daryl Janmaat and Fabricio Coloccini and midfielder Sissoko.

It was a group of players that would never threaten the top four places but had enough to ensure a very comfortable Premier League existence - which is exactly how owner Ashley likes it.


Palace are 18th and seemingly condemned to another fight to stay up, a fight that has increased in intensity with Burnley's recent upturn in form and Leicester City's win at Hull City.

Wilfried Zaha
Would Pardew be able to re-ignite Wilfried Zaha's career?

There is quality about, however, in the shape of captain Mile Jedinak - who also leads Australia - and the maverick Yannick Bolasie can offer the unexpected when in the mood.

And, as Pulis proved, if the right buttons are pressed in this squad they have the pace and attitude that can make the unlikely happen. Pardew would hope to re-ignite some of the spirit that served Palace so well towards the end of last season.

Will he also be able to re-ignite Wilfried Zaha, so impressive in his first spell at Selhurst Park before his ill-fated move to Manchester United? If he can do that, Pardew will have another talent to work with.

Pardew's first job, however, would be to restore confidence on and off the pitch and hope to do some clever work in the January transfer window.



Pardew leaves behind a one-club city in Newcastle with a passionate (albeit success-starved) support and regular attendances of more than 52,000 at St James' Park. Had he been able to create success it would have resulted in almost limitless fervour and perhaps even some fulfilment of the potential this club possesses.

Newcastle United fans
Newcastle enjoy regular attendances of more than 52,000 at St James' Park

Much was made of supposed "over-expectation" from Newcastle's fans. This was unfair - they were not demanding a regular supply of silverware, simply some indication the club might fulfil that potential. Not actually too much to ask.

Ashley's insistence on such control at Newcastle may see some managers less than enticed by the prospect of succeeding Pardew, but such is the history and passion that surrounds this club there will always be plenty of takers.

Newcastle spent more than £30m last summer, which included a £12m deal to sign Montpellier's Remy Cabella and around £11m on Dutch pair Siem de Jong - out injured for most of this season - and Daryl Janmaat.

In line with Ashley's policy, this was offset by that £19m sale of Yohan Cabaye to PSG last January and the summer departure of France defender Mathieu Debuchy to Arsenal in a £10m deal. The books have to be balanced and this is something Pardew's successor would also have to address.

The highest transfer fee Newcastle have received was the £35m spent on Andy Carroll by Liverpool in January 2011, while their biggest buy remains the £16m handed over to Real Madrid for Michael Owen in August 2005.


As with Newcastle, Pardew will be doing his work in front of supporters who have a fierce passion and love for their club. There are rarely too many empty seats at Selhurst Park with attendances around the 25,000 mark.

Last season's dramatic 3-3 draw with Liverpool, as Palace came from 3-0 down in the dying minutes, was an electrifying night and even earlier this season when they were again managerless and losing 3-1 to West Ham United, the level of support was remarkable.

Newcastle can attract a greater level of support in their home city than Palace can in London and despite Ashley watching the pennies, they can always pay bigger fees and attract bigger names.

Palace's summer spending was on a more modest scale, with the main purchase being James McArthur from Wigan Athletic in a £5.5m deal, parting with around £11m overall.

The McArthur deal edged out the previous record deal of £4.5m paid to Peterborough for Dwight Gayle in July 2013, while their record fee received was the £15m Manchester United paid for Wilfried Zaha in January of that year.

But no-one should underestimate what the Palace environment could create if Pardew gets it right - this and more control over his own destiny will have been a lure.



As stated previously, Newcastle's fans simply want the club to deliver on the huge support they attract by at least looking like they might win a trophy or edge into the top six.

It should be remembered Newcastle were in contention for a Champions League place under Pardew until the final day of the 2011-12 season, when they finished fifth.

Alan Pardew
Will Pardew feel more comfortable with expectation levels at Crystal Palace?

Expectations have not been met and Newcastle's will always be higher than Palace. Pardew may feel more comfortable with the levels at Palace despite his very ambitious nature.


Expectation is very simple at Crystal Palace. Survive in the Premier League and if possible establish themselves there for the foreseeable future.

For this season though, the only expectation on Pardew would be that he keeps Palace up after their poor start. Higher goals can wait for another day.


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