Remember Nigel Pearson‘s now-famous “ostrich” rant, in which the former Leicester City manager dressed down a journalist during a postgame press conference, nine short months ago?
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Pearson accused the journalist of having his “head in the sand,” buried so deep that he was completely unaware what had been going on at the football club which he’d been covering all season.
How is this relevant to the here and now, you’re wondering? In short, and with all due respect, Alan Pardew has painted himself Pearson’s figurative ostrich with a series of comments vehemently backing Crystal Palace’s brand new January signing, striker Emmanuel Adebayor — quotes from the Guardian:
“You can see in the training ground there’s a lift already. He’s done the first part of his job because everybody is really pleased he’s here. The only risk is if he doesn’t play well. I can’t see any other risk. I think we discard players quite quickly, and sometimes too early.”
This is the same Adebayor who, at just about every stop along the way, has eventually been banished to that respective club’s U-21 team as the manager and executives exhausted every possible avenue to facilitate his exit. It always begins so well for the 31-year-old Togolese striker, but after the initial honeymoon period has concluded, Adebayor is a locker room distraction at his best, and a cancerous, divisive figure at his very worst.
Just ask the fans of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur what they think of Adebayor’s conduct before jettisoning off for his next payday.
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Managers must back their players publicly — Adebayor famously became Tim Sherwood‘s “he just needs an arm around him and a kind word or two” muse for half a season at Tottenham — but it’s that blind faith that could well bite Palace in the behind once the inevitable injection of goals and thrills is over and the reality of employing Adebayor sets in. That is to say, Pardew, is your head in the sand here?
Palace fans have little reason to fear, though, for the last time “Pardiola” was put in charge of a notoriously combustible character, Hatem Ben Arfa, during their time at Newcastle United, it went so swimmingly well and there were no clashes of personalities whatsoever. Pardew, all on his own, is a volatile figure; Adebayor, all on his own, is a volatile figure; Pardew and Adebayor, together, could produce enough fireworks to light up the London sky.