Richard Hercock: Lucky Pardew handed another chance to deliver at Palace

Alan Pardew.
Alan Pardew.
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There are three types of football manager in my vocabulary: good ones, bad ones – and the lucky ones.

You know the type, they seem to go from club to club, never really winning anything, just ticking along, but they never seem to be without employment for too long.

Maybe they are the safe pair of hands every chairman craves, not wanting too much money to spend on high-profile new signings but doing enough with the current playing staff to stave off relegation each year.

One of the guys I would have to include in that latter category is Crystal Palace’s new manager Alan Pardew.

Now Pardew has a decent track record in his early years, taking both Reading and West Ham to promotion, but had mixed fortunes at both Charlton and Southampton.

So when he was appointed manager of Newcastle United in December 2010 – and handed a whopping long-term contract – it came as a massive surprise to most football observers.

A doubting Geordie public were particularly unimpressed.

He never really won them over, and Pardew always seemed just a couple of poor results away from another crisis in that corner of the North East.

Some fans launched a website and online petition aimed at 
removing Pardew.

Six successive wins pulled the Toon out of the bottom three, but you always got the feeling the 53-year-old Londonder was fighting a losing battle at St James’ Park.

It certainly forced the manager to grow a thick skin, in a footballing city with lofty ambitions.

So when the call from his former club Crystal Palace came, Pardew could see the writing on the wall and was quick to jump in his car and head back down the A1. Not that he blamed the complaining Geordie fans for his decision.

“There’s been a lot of talk (about the Newcastle fans) and some of it is completely off the mark,” said Pardew.

“When you lose games, there’s going to be criticism from the stands, but never once did I sense that outside the ground.

“I had tremendous support in my time there and I want to thank all the Geordies for their help and also to (owner) Mike Ashley and everyone at the club who helped me grow as a manager.

“My resilience and character has grown because of the nature of the club.”

And that gets me back to why I think of Pardew as a lucky manager.

He has had a modest managerial record, never delivering success and silverware on a regular basis.

Yet, after being so unpopular at Newcastle, with the safety net of a lucrative long-term contract, he was head-hunted by another Premier League club.

It must be galling for young, aspiring managers in the Championship and below to be overlooked as Premier League chairmen chase foreign coaching talent or tried-and-tested British staff.

Palace entertain Tottenham in the tea-time kick-off tonight, as Pardew takes charge for his first Premier League game as Eagles boss.

If he can deliver safety for Palace this season, maybe he will graduate in my eye from being a lucky manager to a good one.