Football: it’s a funny old game. You can go from hero to zero and back again in the blink of an eye, and all seemingly based on the balance of public perception. Because, after all, the customer is always right.
That’s the quandary facing the Crystal Palace board of directors as they mull over the future of Alan Pardew. The silver fox is as short as 4/6 in the Next Manager to Leave Post market covering the Premier League, and for a man touted as a future England manager at one point (stop laughing at the back) that is quite the comedown.
So can Pardew’s Palace connections save his job, or is he the next of the English top flight gaffers to collect their P45?
It Was a Very Bad Year
W5 D7 L20 is Crystal Palace’s record in the Premier League in 2016, so perhaps the more pertinent question is should Pardew have been sacked already?
A manager’s path to glory, or otherwise, is inextricably linked to a club’s expectations. What do we want to achieve this season? How do we want to play? How much are we willing to spend? Taking on that latter point, you would assume after handing over a cheque in excess of £40m for summer signings, the Eagles board would be looking for more than their side’s current seventeenth position in the table.
How a manager spends their loot is, ultimately, a key factor upon which they are judged, and actually forking out £30 million on somebody like Christian Benteke makes perfect sense for Pardew and Palace. They play in an attacking manner with genuine wide men, and so clearly the Belgian is going to thrive in such conditions.
But when your team is riddled with the defensive inefficiencies that Palace have – and remember, this dates back to early 2016 (61 conceded in 32 matches this calendar year) -again can their supporters point the finger firmly at Pardew for not investing that bounty more wisely in more pressing areas of his team?
The case for the prosecution is all-encompassing, and in reality the only two arguments in defence – Pardew used to play for Palace, and he took them to the FA Cup final in 2016 – are both fairly redundant. In a world where people actually made the effort to leave their homes, visit a polling station and vote for Donald Trump, despite him admitting he doesn’t pay income tax, amongst other things, it’s amazing that Pardew hasn’t been shown the door already in this modern era of ‘f*** it, let’s try somebody else.’
His price of 4/6 is apt, and assuming the talk of Bob Bradley’s demise at Swansea is untrue/ridiculous, an excellent investment opportunity.
The Other Contenders
Depending on which media you read, Bob Bradley was approximately 90 minutes from the sack at Swansea – or make that three minutes considering his side were 3-4 down to Palace in Saturday’s encounter with just three minutes to go.
That late Fernando Llorente brace could have conceivably saved his bacon then; bacon which, realistically, should not have been in any peril to start with. Since taking charge the Swans have lost narrowly to Arsenal, Manchester United and in-form Stoke, while taking points off decent operators in Everton and Watford. But of course, in the modern game, that simply isn’t enough….
Maybe it’s his American accent that the footballing fraternity can’t get their heads around. Either way, if the Swansea board aren’t willing to give him a chance to guide his side through a more agreeable set of fixtures, then the game really has gone to the dogs.
And David Moyes? Well, it appears his methods are slowly working up at Sunderland. Consecutive wins were followed by a spirited defeat at Liverpool on Saturday, and really that’s all long-suffering Black Cats supporters want from their side: a bit of effort. The Scot has bought himself some more time in the Stadium of Light hot seat, and will probably tuck into his Christmas turkey whilst still in full time employment.