Crystal Palace chairman publicly supports manager Alan Pardew

But Steve Parish says club’s manager ‘knows what he has to do’ to keep his position

Alan Pardew has received public backing from his chairman at Crystal Palace, Steve Parish.

But the manager will go into the critical fixture at Hull City this weekend acutely aware he still faces a battle to convince the club's investors he is the right man to remain in charge.

Palace checked a run of six successive defeats with a fine win against Southampton on Saturday to thrust them back into mid-table, three points clear of the cut-off, and ease the immediate pressure on their manager of almost two years.

Pardew had expressed his thanks to Parish in the immediate aftermath of that victory, only to muddy the waters by suggesting the chairman had spent the week defending his manager in talks with his fellow “serious investors at the club who perhaps don’t know a lot about football”.


That was perceived to be a criticism of the American major shareholders David Blitzer and Josh Harris who, a year ago, each purchased an 18 per cent stake in Palace to match that owned by Parish.

The chairman has now insisted Pardew’s comments, while unwise, had actually been directed at other minor shareholders who bought into the club in December 2015.

“We’ve got smaller shareholders and we went to a dinner with them the week before [last] , and a lot of them kept saying to Alan: ‘We don’t know anything about football,’” Parish said to TalkSport.

“It wasn’t the smartest, [the] lack of differentiation between Josh and David who we deal with all the time and are close to everything all the time, and some of the other guys. I think [Pardew’s] intention was to thank me, Josh and David, but unfortunately that has been twisted out of shape.”

Binary industry

Parish admitted the co-owners “were not happy” in the build-up to Saturday’s game but, when asked if Pardew’s position was now assured for the short-term, said: “Look, it’s ‘totally safe’ in that every manager is under pressure. You need to win football matches. It’s a very binary industry. And we’re all under pressure. You can’t lift that pressure from people.

“That’s no more constructive than putting it on them. We don’t have to have those conversations because Alan knows the game, he knows where he is and he knows what he has to do.

“The most important thing is we want him to succeed and all the things around the club are geared towards making him succeed. He’s a positive force in everything around the football club. So everybody is geared towards making Alan a success at the club.

"Hull is an important game because we have Manchester United and Chelsea after that, not too easy [games] , so we need to get points on the board. That's what is important, and everyone is behind Alan in doing that."

Both Blitzer and Harris, along with the minor investors, had grown alarmed by the club's slide into trouble to prompt scrutiny of Pardew's position – not least after the dismal recent 5-4 defeat at Swansea – and had been made aware of Sam Allardyce's desire to return to top flight management after his 67-day stint with England.

It is understood the 62-year-old, if under consideration, would want to take up the reins sooner rather than later to allow him to prepare properly for the January transfer window, when tweaks could be made to the squad.

Clean sheet

Yet Pardew remains intent on making a success of his time at the club he represented as a player and, having resisted the option of adding another defensive coach to his back-room staff, may have to reassess the pace at which he wants this team to transform their style of play.

Palace, with the likes of Damien Delaney and Joe Ledley restored to the starting line-up, had been far more pragmatic against Southampton, taking fewer risks going forward as they sought to secure a first clean sheet in the league since April.

Delaney subsequently suggested the players had met without the manager in the wake of the loss at the Liberty Stadium and pushed to revert to a style more akin to the rugged approach which had secured a fourth successive season in the top flight.

“We’ve got to find the right balance on the pitch with the squad we’ve got,” said Parish. “Sometimes if you turn the dial a bit too far, and try and go toe to toe with some of these teams, you can make it difficult for yourself. Albeit very exciting.

“We’ve scored 24 goals, which is the most we’ve ever scored at this stage in the top flight in our history. So there’s plenty [going] right. We just have to fix the things that are wrong ? But if we’re in crisis then there are a lot of clubs in crisis.”

Guardian Service