Do you remember a time when Alan Pardew was public enemy number one on Tyneside? The fans were calling for his head like a Game of Throne’s betrayal; they were even actively crunching the numbers to figure out how much owner Mike Ashley would have to stump up in order to release Pardew from the remaining 17 years on his deal.
Ok, so it was more like five years. But still. For a man who had led the Magpies to within a whisker of Champions League football in 2012 and had been named Premier League Manager of the Year in the process, it was a bitter twist in relations from a notoriously passionate Geordie fan base.
Most of the Magpie faithful couldn’t believe their luck when Crystal Palace paid £3.5m compensation to capture the 54-year-old. But, how does that bit of business look now?
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Well, the Eagles continue to soar and are currently comfortably residing in the top half of the Premier League, while Newcastle have only won six league games in the whole of 2015 and have flirted with relegation incessantly since Pardew’s departure.
Is Alan Pardew the simple difference?
Not necessarily, but Newcastle certainly didn’t make the most of Pardew’s capabilities. The Wimbledon-born gaffer has clearly been in charge of the purse-strings down at Selhurst Park and the difference in the deals he’s orchestrated in London to those he was subjected to in the north east is night and day.
It’s not just the players he’s been able to bring in, but the style he’s been able to impose. Pardew can implement an entirely different ethos with Palace because he’s in control of the players who will execute his ideas.
Not one single soul would think Yohan Cabaye’s return to English football was a coincidence. Chairman Steve Parish believed in a combination of Cabaye’s pedigree and Pardew’s judgment, and therefore broke the bank to make the deal happen, shattering their wage structure in the process.
Are they yielding the results? Yes, of course. Was Cabaye the kind of signing they needed to get to the next level in the Premier League? 100%.
Ashley is clueless
It’s still puzzling that Ashley believes he and his cronies know better than time-tested football men like Pardew and even Kevin Keegan. Look at Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson – the two most successful managers in English football ever. Would they ever be told who to buy?
Now, I’m not implying that Steve McClaren or indeed Pardew are football luminaries like that great pair. Still, it does give credence to the notion that a manager should run all aspects of a football club. Are there any success stories to the contrary in English football?
Pardew was quoted as saying he enquired about signing Wilfred Zaha – who he has now brought back to Palace – twice during his tenure as Newcastle boss. For Ashley to ignore that plea knowing full well the sub-par performers currently inhabiting Newcastle’s flanks is nothing short of criminal.
In fact, it’s testament to the entire point of this article. Ashley does not know better than a manager.
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