As Alan Pardew prepares to make his first return to St James’ Park since leaving the Magpies in 2015, eyes are inevitably focused upon his every move by the press on Tyneside.
It is through the words of Fifield, who was there to see Pardew’s demeanour from close quarters when he addressed the press on Thursday, that we are drawn into the personal battle that the now Crystal Palace boss will face when he steps out in front of a 52,000 strong crowd in the North East this afternoon.
For all of provocative criticism Pardew has endured from the Toon Army over the years, he simply cannot be accused of fanning the flames following his departure, a point which Fifield goes out of his way to make in his musings on the hate-filled campaign that was waged against the former Newcastle gaffer prior to 2015. The deconstruction of the messages behind the well-known website sackpardew.com are particularly well written, offering an insight into the extent of supporters’ distrust of him as a man.
Rightly looked at in direct contrast to the ownership structure Pardew now works under at Palace, Dom questions whether or not the Newcastle fans simply looked upon their old boss as an easily manipulated mouthpiece of a roundly detested owner, forcing him to unfairly bare the brunt of every frustration they had with their beloved Magpies throughout his time in charge.
With an FA Cup Final on the horizon, Palace and Pardew are on the verge of achieving something truly special; a feat which, should they manage it, would eclipse Newcastle’s record in the tournament during the last 60 years, given the fact that their last triumph came in 1955.
Whilst today isn’t a time for aggression from Pardew’s side of the fence, Fifield’s piece gives the impression that the Eagles manager would take great satisfaction in reaching that milestone on a number of levels.