The final twelve months of Alan Pardew’s stay in SE25 may not have been the most enjoyable for the Palace faithful but we did have our fair share of emotional high points during our former boss’ reign, remembered beautifully in the video attached below.
For many, the promise created by Alan’s first year in charge only served to contribute to a sense of lost opportunity by the end of 2016, questioning what might have been if things had panned out in a slightly different pattern. To go from a confident squad flying high in fifth to one that needed late points to avoid relegation to the second tier in a matter of just four months was a shock; to see it continue into the current campaign was downright frightening.
Admittedly, Pardew tried and in some ways succeeded in altering our team’s style of play, working desperately to “remove the handbrake” that he felt we as a club had engaged since winning promotion back into the top flight. Whilst he did get us scoring far more freely from all over the pitch, he took his eye off the ball defensively; a choice which soon had disastrous consequences.
Others may disagree but for me, Pardew’s time in charge at Selhurst Park felt similar to the job Ian Holloway did, albeit with a touch more panache thrown into the mix. For all of the talk of transition into a passing and moving side, we eventually came up short in our own defensive third, proving for the second time in just three years that the simple things must be right from a defensive standpoint before jumping two footed into an entirely new tactical approach.
Now, we have enlisted the help of a manager who is keen to return to a rigid and heavily drilled set-up, altering the focus away from the one favoured by his predecessor in characteristically blunt fashion. Whilst it may not be as aesthetically pleasing, it has been known to work for Crystal Palace FC time and again over the years, given the comfort zone we reside in amongst the wide and varied fabric of the English game.
Things may not have ended well for Pardew at Palace but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the happy memories associated with his tenure for what they were at the time.