There were lots of laughs around social media when Steve Parish mentioned Real Madrid in the same sentence as Alan Pardew, but it is hard to ignore the incredible job that he is doing at Crystal Palace. He has been at the club for a year and has managed to win 19 of his 37 league matches in charge, which is top four form and highlights the incredible job he is doing at Selhurst Park. He is being linked with the England job and some pundits even consider him as an option for the elite in the league. This is a man who was hounded out of his last job as Newcastle manager, but he is now emerging as the best British manager around at the moment.
As a Newcastle supporter, it is difficult for me to subscribe to the view that Pardew can manage in the Champions League or replace Roy Hodgson. However, if a foreign coach had done what he has at Palace, they would be getting linked with the biggest jobs in England as we saw with Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton.
Certain managers suit certain clubs and I think that is what we are witnessing with Pardew at Palace. They have a squad that suit his style of play and he has an excellent relationship with the fan base. His problems with the fan base at Newcastle are well known, but he also had them at Southampton, Charlton and West Ham. His character and manner when talking to the media can rub fans up the wrong way and that is one of the reasons why a bigger club would be reluctant to take him on. It’s clear he is working on the way he comes across as he knows that is something that will hinder his chances of bigger jobs. Moreover, his past behaviour on the touchline with David Meyler and Manuel Pellegrini will have stained his reputation.
Pardew was perhaps unfairly branded a defensive manager at Newcastle and his ability to oversee an attacking side is being shown at Selhurst Park. He never had the players to carry out his system at St James’ Park as he likes quick wingers capable of playing counter-attacking football. At Palace, he has Wilfried Zaha, Yannick Bolasie, Bakary Sako and Jason Puncheon, all of whom have come on as footballers under Pardew. He is also very effective at organising a defence, with only Spurs conceding fewer than his side this season.
The problems at Newcastle were deep-rooted with the club continuing to underperform since Pardew left the club. There was no question that Pardew was lucky to avoid being dismissed at St James’ Park, but Mike Ashley was always the bigger problem and that is being highlighted by Steve McClaren’s struggles at the helm. Although Pardew’s decision to leave a huge job like Newcastle for Palace will make bigger clubs question his ability to deal with high pressured situations.
Overall, I think Alan Pardew deserves a lot of credit for the work he is doing at Crystal Palace and he deserves to be mentioned as a possible England manager. However, his inability to deal with the pressure at Newcastle and his abrasive personality make him a risky choice for the FA and bigger clubs in England.