Alan Pardew is adamant that there will be no bad blood between him and Crystal Palace during today’s game between the Eagles and West Brom.
The new Baggies boss was sacked by the south London outfit after amassing the worst record of any English league side in 2016 but will return to football full of his trademark self-confidence in the hope of provoking an immediate reaction from his players at The Hawthorns.
Whilst Palace’s form was truly dreadful during the last 12 months of Pardew’s reign, I don’t think he’s too far wide of the mark when suggesting that a fair few of players still feel a degree of fondness towards him. Indeed, earlier this week, Wilfried Zaha told the Croydon Advertiser about the ways in which his former gaffer improved him as a player, sounding as though he was truly grateful for his influence on his mental approach.
Pardew will of course look back on the run which saw us reach an FA Cup Final under his guidance as a high-point but for supporters, the sight of him suggesting that he deserved more time to turn things around at Selhurst Park was always going to grate a little.
Alongside our dismal run of results was a style of play that appeared to place little to no importance on the defensive side of the game, culminating in contests which saw us throw away a 4-3 lead at Swansea in injury time to lose 5-4 and concede three goals in calamitous fashion when travelling to face a Hull City side who we subsequently beat 4-0 to secure our Premier League status later in the season.
I have no doubt that Alan’s arrival in the Midlands will put an immediate spring in the step of his players but as fans of Palace, Newcastle, West Ham and Charlton know, it’s what comes after a year or so with him at the helm which should give them pause for thought.