When Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 went tits up at the hands of lowly Iceland, one of the men linked with the role was current Crystal Palace manager, Alan Pardew.
Granted, there wasn’t the usual obvious candidate to take over from Hodgson – especially after Gary Neville’s shocking spell as Valencia manager – but Pardew was most certainly in the mix.
What has Alan Pardew ever done to warrant being considered as a potential future England manager? Or even cement a status as one of the Premier League’s best?
At the time of writing, Pardew’s Palace have won two out of 20 games in 2016, and made a total cock up of the 2015/16 season, when they went from sixth at Christmas, to a final league position of 15th.
Palace were being tipped as an outside bet for the Champions League (something that Pardew himself believed), but added just 13 points in the next five months to narrowly avoid relegation.
That kind of form would get most the sack, but Pardew hung on to his job and was given the chance to rebuild his squad this summer. So far, only James Tomkins, Andros Townsend and Steve Mandanda have arrived.
When ‘Pards’ left Newcastle United in December 2014, there were no happier set of fans than the Toon Army.
They’d grown sick of his bullshit post match interviews, where he’d praise the players for trying their hardest despite losing 3-0, and acting as a blatant yes man for hated owner Mike Ashley.
The media quickly branded the Newcastle fans crazy for wanting Pardew to leave, and pointed to him being in charge of the club when they finished fifth in the 2011/12 season.
Granted, that was an achievement, but when you follow it up with a season where the same side fought relegation, and it totally negates the previous season’s efforts.
And now, the Crystal Palace fans are turning on their former midfielder, as it dawns on them that he’s a fraud.
The biggest problem he has, is that when the going gets tough, he’s so fantastically unlikeable that no one wants to see him turn it around. Watching him fail pleases the neutral audience.
Take a look the FA Cup final last season for example. Pardew’s side went into the game as underdogs against the much hated Manchester United, and would normally have had the support of neutrals around the world.
However, once he performed that ridiculous dance on the touchline, even the biggest United hater found themselves praying that Louis van Gaal’s ‘philosophy’ came good.
A quick scan through Twitter is all you need to realise that Eagles fans are sick of the 53-year-old, and want a new manager who can match their ambitions.
It's taken me a little over 18 months to come to this conclusion but I'm now convinced…
The Geordies were right all along.
— HLTCO (@HLTCO) August 16, 2016
They have an owner willing to spend to target a top half finish, and currently a manager who is way out of his depth.
One of the final straws for many Palace fans was the sale of club legend Mile Jedinak, who was stripped of the captaincy before being offloaded to Aston Villa. If there was a popularity contest between the long serving Australian and Pardew, there’d only be one winner.
Apparently, that’s pissed off some of the senior players too, meaning Pardew could be losing faith in the one place he really can’t afford to – the dressing room.
He’s also being frustrated in the transfer market, with a drawn out move for Liverpool’s Christian Benteke not looking like coming to fruition.
The asking price for the Belgian is £30 million, with Palace’s first bid of £25 million rejected by the Reds.
Doesn’t sound too much of a difference, right?
Palace went back with a second bid of £23 million, with some ridiculous add-on’s eventually pushing the price up to the desired £30 million.
It genuinely wouldn’t surprise me if Palace’s third bid was £20 million and a signed, framed picture of Pardew himself, such is his oversized ego.
Obviously, it’s Steve Parish doing the negotiating on the Eagles’ part, but that kind of deal stinks of Pardew’s approach.
His other targets are Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko and Chelsea’s Loic Remy – both former players of his at St James Park.
Fantastic imagination there, Alan, just sign some of the limited players you know from your time in management – how about a loan move for Johnnie Jackson from Charlton while you’re at it?
Should those targets turn him down, it’s hard to see Pardew lasting the season, especially with Connor Wickham leading the line up front.
And that’s where he belongs, sat in the job centre wearing a training top emblazoned with the word ‘Pards’ printed on it, rather than the usual manager’s initials. Because that’s not enough for an ego that size.
When Pardew does get sacked, there won’t be much sympathy coming from south London or even the north east – just relief that one more fraud has been found out at the highest level.