The manner in which Alan Pardew left Newcastle United for Crystal Palace last week seemed all too…dignified…for the Premier League’s greatest/worst “villain” at present.
Pardew was loathed by the majority of Newcastle supporters who, despite some amount of fair success in leading the club to a fifth-place finish in 2011-12, had grown sick and tired of his shocking antics as an extremely hatable character. From pushing an official on the sideline, to headbutting Hull City player David Meyler, to his expletive-laden tirade against Manuel Pellegrini (all three controversies within 20 months of each other), Pardew’s good grace in the northeast of England had unquestionably run dry.
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So when the 53-year-old left the Georides for the London club he’d admirably represented during his playing career, the complete lack of subtle, under-breath potshots directed toward Newcastle and the club’s fans was quite a shock.
If you thought that’s how things were going to stay forever, though, you obviously don’t know Alan Pardew.
Following his Premier League debut as Palace manager on Saturday, Pardew fired the first shot at his former club in what is sure to become a nasty spat of he-said-this-he-said-that which is likely to play out across the coming weeks in a very public forum. It will undoubtedly outshine anything Pardew accomplished while at Newcastle, which is just one reason everyone love-hates Pardew so much.
“There’s a fantastic set of professionals [at Crystal Palace],” Pardew praised his new players following Saturday’s victory. “I haven’t had one fine this week and I’m finding that very unusual as a Newcastle manager, because we used to fine players every 42minutes.
“I’m not being disrespectful to Newcastle players. (Writer’s note: Yes, he is.) It’s just a different set up. I just want to free this team up a little bit and if we do that we could play like we did in the last 20 minutes.”
Pardew’s “I fined them every 42 minutes” revelation came immediately after he said the Palace side which he inherited is perhaps “too honest, too straight.” That’s the Pardew we all love. Essentially, “Be more of an insufferable human being. Make people hate you, just like me,” he said to them.
“You can’t win Premier League games if you are too disciplined,” Pardew (really) said. “You have to take chances, take risks. You have to have a few maverick players, the player I brought on in the second half (Wilfried Zaha) — that’s what the team needs.”
You keep doing you, Pards — “The Big Pardiola” — and you’ll get your wish: Newcastle fans will hate you even more than they already do.