Alan Pardew: Headstrong and Affirmative

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The soul of this team will remain with at least three or four English players as long as I am West Ham. I think that’s important, I really do. – Alan Pardew, March 2006

In 2014 Alan Pardew went through his toughest time as a football manager. As manager of Newcastle United he was constantly abused for a poor run of form. “Sack Pardew” banners were marauded around the stadium and there was even a website called sackpardew.com that went viral. However in 2015 Alan Pardew has left Newcastle in his wake and is successfully steering Crystal Palace to their second top-half finish in as many seasons. Arguably the best English manager in the world at this point in time, Alan Pardew has never stopped climbing and has always proved his doubters wrong.

As a player Pardew enjoyed many a successful season at Crystal Palace; he will be most remembered for his goal in 1990, where he scored the winning goal as Palace memorably beat Liverpool 4–3 after extra-time in the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park. In 1991 Pardew helped Palace achieve their highest ever finish of third and he also helped Palace win the Full Members Cup at Wembley versus Everton in the same year.

Pardew however was destined to become a manager and when he finally got the chance as Caretaker manager at Reading in 1998. Having seen managers go and come Pardew was allowed a turn at becoming full time manager in 1999. Remarkably he turned the club around from relegation fighters to promotion candidates and in 2002 Alan Pardew took the club and achieved automatic promotion to Division One (equivalent to the Championship). Pardew had started to gain a reputation as being a bright young English manager with a great enthusiasm for the game.

Pardew moved on from Reading in the middle of the 2003-2004 season and went to West Ham United. It did not take him long and in his first full season as manager West Ham beat Preston North End in the playoff final. Pardew’s Hammers continued to climb in their first season back in the Premier League as they reached both ninth in the Premier League table and the FA Cup final where they were narrowly defeated by Liverpool on penalties. Pardew started the next season poorly with quick knockouts in both Europe and the League Cup and was released by the club in December 2006.

In March of that year Pardew bodly and controversially stated in an interview that “It’s important that top clubs don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s the English Premier League and English players should be involved. Foreign players have been fantastic. We have learned from them and from foreign coaches. But, to some extent, we could lose the soul of British football – the English player.” However many other English managers come out to back Pardew for his brave comments and this philosophy is something which Pardew has kept and has helped to propel him to the top of the managerial game.

Pardew moved on from West Ham quickly and he had two short spells at Charlton Athletic and Southampton. At both clubs Pardew focused on keeping both English  and young players playing constantly. He also had a strict focus on good team fitness and drilled and prepared his teams well before a match. Pardew was making a big name for himself quickly and in December 2010 after Chris Houghton had been sacked by Newcastle Pardew was appointed.

It had seemed a risky appointment at first but Pardew fit straight into his comfort zone. Pardew stated in his first press conference that “I’m not a Geordie of course, but I’m a football person with a love of the game and I can assure you I bring great drive, desire and commitment to the job… It is my aim to build on that now and take this club forward.”

His first game in charge proved exactly that with a strong 3-1 win over Liverpool and continued to have a decent first season at St James’ Park. However it was Pardew’s second season in charge where he finally showed what he was capable of. Pardew had a great season winning against the biggest odds and at the start of the season, he led Newcastle to their best start to a Premier League campaign in 17 years, with an unbeaten run of eleven matches in all competitions.

Having signed players such as Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse (who scored 13 goals in 12 matches) Pardew proppeled Newcastle into a European spot. Two days before the final match of the season, Pardew won the Premier League Manager of the Season award, becoming the first Newcastle United manager to achieve this. He also won the League Managers Association Manager of the Year award, which made him the first and only English manager to win the two individual awards in a single Premier League season. On 27 September 2012, Pardew signed an eight-year contract extension with the club.

However at the end of the 2013-2014 season the fans in the North started to turn on Pardew. He had a terrible run of games where he lost 15 of 21 competitive fixtures. Fans’ discontent was extremely clear in the final home game of the season, when Pardew (and club owner Mike Ashley) received vocal and sustained abuse from the stands despite a 3-0 victory over Cardiff. The local newspaper even stated that “This was arguably the worst personal abuse a Newcastle manager has had to endure at any game. It was an excruciating afternoon for all concerned.

Pardew surprisingly was allowed to continue onto the next season and continued to fail and within months of the start of the seasons protests upon protests were planned, which included the printing of 30,000 A4 sheets calling for his sack. Pardew went through a period of great form winning the November Manager of the Month award but as he felt the end of his era was nearing in Newcastle Alan Pardew started to look elsewhere. Pardew saw the perfect oppurtunity to return to the club he had played at and in January 2015 returned to Crystal Palace.

This was perfect for Pardew who was waiting for an oppurtunity like this for a long time. His first league match in charge was a 2–1 home win against Tottenham.  The dream job continued being a dream for Pardew and despite only being there for half the season and in relegation trouble when he took over Pardew managed to steer Crystal Palace to their best ever finish of 10th place.

A statistic showed that if Pardew had been in charge the whole season at Palace they would have finished in a European space. The national newspapers reported that Pardew was the first manager to take over a Premier League club in the relegation zone and eventually guide them to a top half finish saying “Pardew has a legitimate form to claim to keeping two teams up this campaign (Newcastle only staying up because of early season Pardew form).”

Pardew has started the new season brilliantly winning games against teams such as Chelsea and Liverpool that nobody was expecting him to. They sit comfortably in 8th place in the table and are well on track for another top half finish.

Pardew has not gone without his fair share of controversies in his time however this has never dampned his reputation. Pardew has continued to work hard with his teams and is continuining to succeed in the Premier League. With English players such as Scott Dann and Wilfried Zaha thriving in his Crystal Palace team, Pardew has really shown his worth as the top English manager in the world.

I think there is no doubt that Alan Pardew has to be the next English manager; Pardew has strong views on making England great again as a footballing nation and this is the sort of attitude that Roy Hodgson has never taken up. Pardew understands the need for top quality English players to be playing in the Premier League. It is not right for Charlie Austin one of England’s top strikers to be playing Championship level football where he will never improve. Pardew has said in the past that “We must produce better English players and then promote them. I’m not the only one with that view. I’m just the one who said it. People are speaking about it … but naturally the bigger clubs are against that because it will weaken their teams.”

Alan Pardew has shown his worth in the top league time and time again and unlike Roy Hodgson actually has some personality. He does not shy away from controversy or expressive his views openly and this is exactly what the English national team needs if it is going to improve.

Pardew said late last year that “If you have one of the biggest jobs in the world, which England manager is, you take it for one tournament. If you don’t succeed, it’s over.” This is something that I completely agree with and with Roy Hodgson failing at the World Cup last year and not bringing the best team into the Euros; I think it is time for Alan Pardew to be given a go to control the national team. I think that the England team will thrive under Pardew and that he will produce some of the best English youngsters that this country has ever seen. Pardew has never given up despite being put through hard times at all his jobs and it is time for him to show his qualities on the biggest stage of all and in my opinion Alan Pardew will make a brilliant England manager.

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