Alan Pardew is either blissfully unaware or painfully cognizant of the fact that his long tenure as Crystal Palace boss isn’t as assured as it was just five months ago.
Instead of reveling in his getting Crystal Palace to the FA Cup Final, the confident English manager has opted for an attempt to try to heap pressure on the opposing boss: Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal.
Pardew has a pretty decent resume at the age of 54, winning promotion for several clubs and being named the 2011-12 LMA Manager of the Year for his work at Newcastle United.
Van Gaal’s CV, however, is a bit deeper. The Dutchman has led Ajax to the Champions League title, as well as overseeing league titles for Barcelona, Bayern Munich, AZ Alkmaar and Ajax. Oh, and he’s led a perceived weakened Netherlands side to third place at the World Cup.
So, whose career needs defining in the May 21 final, Alan? From the BBC:
“I remember Sir Alex’s career hinged on that game and maybe LVG’s career will hinge on this,” said Pardew, who played for Palace in the 1990 final, which United won after a replay.
“I like the guy [Van Gaal],” said Pardew. “He’s had some terrible, terrible press and I look forward to seeing him in the final.”
Pardew has a point about general pressure; Leading Manchester United comes with a Sir Alex-sized microscope and the Old Trafford set is all about silverware, but bringing in career talk is not only misguided, it’s hilarious.
If I was Pardew, I’d do my level best to choke down my appetite to go head-to-head in the press with a managerial legend, and focus on a remarkable Cup run that started with Southampton and went on to include victories over Stoke, Spurs, Reading and Watford. That’s incredibly impressive for a PL side which has struggled mightily since New Year’s Day.
But after a typically soft start to the tournament — Derby County, Sheffield United and Shrewsbury Town — Van Gaal has led United past West Ham and Everton into the final. While a win in the tournament could help the Dutch manager keep his job, he’s also led United back into the UEFA Champions League in two-straight seasons while bringing youth into the fold.
So we ask again: Whose career “maybe” hinges on the final, Alan?