We’d all heard the rumours and many laughed it off, but the notable absence of Alan Pardew after the Everton game suggested that perhaps something wasn’t right.
Now its looking likely that today will be the day where Pardew is announced as manager of Crystal Palace after United released a statement saying that a compensation deal had been agreed and Pardew now had permission to speak to the Eagles.
On the surface it looks a strange move – Palace look likely to be fighting relegation while Newcastle look to have done enough to remain safe – but if you scratch a little deeper then perhaps the switch from Newcastle to London makes more sense than you perhaps first think.
It’s unlikely we’ll even find out the real reason why and all theories are likely to be just speculation, but from a Pardew perspective he gets to move closer to ‘home’ at a club with lower expectations with a fanbase who he immediately has an affinity with. Effectively he’s in a no-lose situation with Palace backed by the bookies to occupy a relegation spot so if he guides Palace away from that he’s a winner but if he doesn’t he can argue it was expected all along.
From a Newcastle fan perspective it’s also probably the right move although there is, quite rightly in my opinion, concern over who will succeed Alan Pardew. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest those looking for a Benitez/Bielsa/De Boer type appointment are most likely setting themselves up for a disappointment.
However the fact is that many people have had enough of Alan Pardew. The questionable tactics, the long losing streaks, the thumping defeats, the derby defeats, the Mike Williamson corner routine, among other things have led us to a point where change is viewed as a good thing.
Of course this is “grossly unfair” as Alan has done a “good job” according to pundits who question the unruly nature of our support, which I’ll disprove in my next article. Remember, we finished fifth once a few years ago and we should be thankful for that. The truth is that we are, but since then we’ve gone backwards and you can’t dine out on a fifth placed finish forever.
Perhaps it’s also a good move for the club? They messed up by giving Pardew a large contract after a fifth placed finish and it would have cost a lot to move him on. Now they are being paid for someone else to move him on. Not bad business is really?
Of course you could look at it another way. Maybe Pardew has had enough and knows something about January that we don’t. Remember the transfer window opens up soon. Perhaps he knows there is no money to be spent? Maybe he knows that one or two players might be moved on? Maybe he doesn’t want to be the scapegoat again?
Which gets back to what I was saying earlier about speculation. There are potentially any number of reasons for the move ranging from Pardew’s choice to the choice of the club. What is clear though is that it is happening and soon United will be looking for a new manager.
The big question is who will it be?