Crystal Palace have seen in the New Year by sacking previous manager Neil Warnock for ex-Palace player Alan Pardew. Warnock’s return to Palace had seen him only manage to get 3 wins out of 16 games leaving them struggling in the relegation zone. After his sacking on 27th December 2014 talk began about the man to take over from Warnock and a few days later it was decided that Pardew was this man.
In my opinion, two of the big shocks and talking points this year have been Pardew and Palace. Crystal Palace’s miraculous relegation battle under Tony Pulis at the end of the 2013-14 season was what dreams are made of and they finished the campaign in 11th place with Pulis picking up the manager of the season award. The highlight of all of this for me was the 3-3 draw with Liverpool in May 2014 which saw Palace come back from 3 goals down on a Monday that severely dented Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes and really made people aware of what Palace can do at their best. Pulis’ men ripped Suarez and co to shreds in the final 30 minutes and deserved the praise they got for turning their season around. For this reason many were begging for a Pulis return after leaving only 48 hours into the 2014-15 season but it was not meant to be. Up steps arguably one of the most talked about managers in 2014, Alan Pardew.
To say Pardew had a rollercoaster of a year would be an understatement. Newcastle’s first half of 2014 saw them lose 15 out of 21 competitive fixtures and come May 2014 many fans had had enough. All this mixed with the controversial head-butt on David Meyler showed cracks were starting to show for Pardew. This carried on into the 2014-15 season leading to the creation of the website Sackpardew.com and protests at the game against Hull City but the owner of the club, Mike Ashley, stuck by his manager. Following this Pardew guided Newcastle to six consecutive wins and even a win against the dominant Chelsea, a great turnaround showing what Pardew can produce.
Although Pardew has had his difficult spells there is no doubting his ability as a manager as shown in the 2011-12 season when Newcastle finished 5th and have achieved two top 10 finishes in 4 seasons. The Eagles will be hoping to find some form under the influence of the new manager and being the dedicated fans they are there is no doubt Pardew will be welcomed with open arms, especially as many Palace fans have fond memories of Pardew’s 128 appearances for the club. The key for the second half of the season is using the January transfer window wisely and Pardew has already said he wants to bring in one or two new faces. At Newcastle Mike Ashley restricted Pardew when it came to transfers so I’m sure he will be looking forward to a free reign and to start afresh. The other aim is to keep the big players fit; this includes Yannick Bolasie and Mile Jedinak who have had impressive first halves of the season, along with Julian Speroni.
The first game of the three and half year contract for Pardew is at Selhurst Park against an in form Spurs and he will be hoping the proud fans are in full voice which they have been renowned for over the last few years. All I can say now is that, as a Palace fan, I wish Alan Pardew all the best in his new role and he will have the full backing of the fans!