Yesterday we got chatting to a Palace fan who shared with us his slightly alternative opinions on some past and present NUFC men ahead of today’s game, revealing just why he ‘loves’ Alan Pardew, why he once ‘hated’ Andros Townsend and why he feels Dwight Gayle wasn’t given a fair crack at Crystal Palace.
With Pardew managing us both and ex-Mags Townsend and Cabaye returning to St James’ tomorrow as Palace players, there’s been the odd sub-plot existing between the two clubs over the past year or so – and Palace fan Matt has had a bit to say about them all.
Firstly, Alan Pardew. A man who remains anything but popular Tyneside, yet a manager he retains a lot of love for from his time at Selhurst Park.
Here’s what Matt told us about the ex-Palace manager yesterday:
“I absolutely love him. Palace legend!
“Got us to an FA Cup final that I believe we should have won. Plus the meme alone (of him dancing after their goal at Wembley) was worth it’s weight in gold!”
First of all, here’s THAT dance he’s referring to here:
As Matt mentions above, Pardew did give Palace some great moments, but there might be a few Newcastle and Palace fans surprised to hear such praise for old Alan.
In fairness, they were in the relegation zone when he took over in January 2015 and he ended up helping them to an outstanding top 10 finish that same season, but, as the theme goes with Pardew, for every up there’s some real downs with him in charge. They went on a 14-game winless run the season after, seeing them escape relegation by just 5 points. The 2016/17 campaign didn’t get much better either and with just 6 wins in 36 games across 2016, he was sacked at the back end of last year.
Although this might be deemed a rather alternative opinion from Matt, it’s quite refreshing, in a world of fickle fanbases, to see him celebrate a manager’s successes opposed to obsessing over their shortcomings – even if it did all end in tears for Pards at Palace.
Then to Townsend – a player Matt admits to once ‘hating’, however here he relives the moment his opinion of Andros completely changed:
“I must admit I always hated him as a player before he came to Palace. I just didn’t feel like he was good enough for where I thought we should be heading as a club at the time.
“After watching him at West Brom last season, my opinion changed.
“He put in such a hard working performance for the team and scored a great goal.”
As a matter of fact, I was never a fan of Townsend prior to him signing for Newcastle. He seemed like a one trick pony who could do very little if you stopped him cutting in on his left, however I’m quite surprised Matt felt he wasn’t good enough for Palace.
He joined them on the back of such a good run of form with us, showing his ability to work tirelessly for the team, as well as contributing 4 goal and 3 assists across just 13 games.
Yes his exploits at Newcastle were over a relatively short spell in an otherwise dormant, hit and miss career, but he looked revitalised under Rafa Benitez and arrived at Palace looking every bit good enough to be a Premier League player – hence his refusal to drop down to the Championship with us.
Here’s the moment Matt’s opinion on him began to alter – and what a goal it was in his ‘game changing’ performance at West Brom for Matt:
Finally, Matt gave us an interesting insight surrounding Dwight Gayle. A player who he felt ‘always scored’ when given his chance, but one he believes wasn’t given a fair crack at it by the club:
“Well Gayle for us always scored when he played. Can’t help but wish he got a greater chance at the club.
“To me I feel as if he is still a young player but he is in his late 20’s which i find hard to believe!
“He just struggles being that number one striker.”
Something I’ve heard a few Palace fans say, this. He’s certainly a good finisher – as we saw across his 23 strikes in the Championship for us last season- but there is question marks over his ability to do it in the top flight, and his out of sorts start to this season isn’t helping his case.
An amusing point about his age here too! It is actually quite hard to believe the baby faced striker is two years from his thirties!
Some alternative and quite entertaining comments from Matt here. Let us know your thoughts as ever!
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About Olly Hawkins
Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.