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John Giles: Alan Pardew is better off out of Toon


Newcastle United Manager Alan Pardew

Newcastle United Manager Alan Pardew

Newcastle United Manager Alan Pardew

THERE is an old solicitor's saying about getting a client with tears in his eyes which I like to think of when a situation like the Crystal Palace/Newcastle saga unfolds.

It's a cynical sentiment and suggests that the best time to get what you want is when the client is most vulnerable.

In this case, Crystal Palace owner Steve Parish is crying a river and Alan Pardew has a rare opportunity to work without the yoke of an interfering boss around his neck.

The fact that it is even an option for him is remarkable enough and a wonderful moment of clarity for anyone who has watched Newcastle stagger from crisis to crisis against a sometimes very bitter and nasty background.

Conditions are so bad at St James' Park that Crystal Palace, with all the problems attached, is a better environment for a manager who by some miracle of dogged persistence and determination managed to carve a team out of odds and ends left to him in the latest round of Mike Ashley player trading during the summer,

Faced by savage abuse from fans and quite obviously huge internal problems, Pardew cracked a couple of times, most notably when he made a lunge at David Meyler and made front page news as a result.

But he has something, some talent at moulding men into a unit. In appalling circumstances he has twice built a competitive team, and all done with a revolving door transfer policy in place.

I have to admit, Pardew would not be my favourite Premier League manager. He has an edge to his personality which I don't like and when he has had a bit of success, he made sure we all knew about it.

It takes all sorts. What I do admire about him is his persistence and self-belief. It requires a lot of both to do what he did at Newcastle and I have no doubt that he could improve Crystal Palace.


Whether he could do what Tony Pulis did I'm not so sure. Lightning does strike twice but not very often.

I'm sure Pulis is wearing a wry smile watching all of this develop. I think he made a mistake himself when he took the Crystal Palace job just over a year ago by not setting down the terms if he did manage to save them from relegation.

It was an honest mistake. I'm sure he assumed that if he did pull off a miracle, he would write his own ticket and continue to enjoy the space to do his work which Parish had to offer him when the club was in the mire and all but certain to be relegated.

I'm sure Pulis must have been baffled when he went back after his well-earned summer holiday - with his Manager of the Year award under his arm - and sat down for a chat with the owner about the squad and how they might go about improving it.

And I'm sure he must have been ready to explode when it dawned on him that Parish had his own ideas about the players who would wear the Crystal Palace shirt for the season ahead.

By trying to impose his wishes on Pulis, Parish threw away a winner and in the long run, he will have wasted anything up to £10m by the time he has paid off Neil Warnock and signed off on the new man.

Worse than that, the £50m and more which Pulis delivered has also been wasted and Crystal Palace are back where they started - rooted in the relegation zone.

You could say it was naive of Pulis not to consider in advance that such a scenario was possible, even likely, but at least it has underlined the sometimes ridiculously fickle nature of football.


Pardew's card has certainly been well marked in advance. No manager is safe in the summer - or at any other time for that matter - when a certified winner like Pulis is allowed to walk away.

Everyone was talking about the Premier League's growing maturity when nobody was sacked before Christmas but we've lost two in quick succession and the old year still with us.

Neil Warnock's demise was all too predictable. However, I couldn't help but chuckle when I heard the news.

I remember when Crystal Palace beat Liverpool and his reaction: "That was a real Neil Warnock performance."

They didn't win again after that and Warnock paid the price but I wonder how many of the defeats were 'Neil Warnock' performances?

West Brom showed Alan Irvine the door and seem to be locked into a hire and fire management cycle which is very, very difficult to break.

Before too much longer, other owners will feel the itch and decide that a bit of blame management is needed.

Maturity. That's a good one.

Happy New Year!