Tag Archives: Crystal Palace

Memorable Matches: Crystal Palace 2-3 Manchester United (March 2018)

Goalscorers: Andros Townsend 11, Patrick van Aanholt 48, Chris Smalling 59, Romelu Lukaku 78, Nemanja Matic 90

Teams:

Crystal Palace: Wayne Hennessey, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Patrick van Aanholt, Martin Kelly, James Tomkins, James McArthur, Luka Milivojevic, Jeff Schlupp (Jairo Riedewald 80), Andros Townsend, Christian Benteke, Alexander Sorloth

Manchester United: David de Gea, Antonio Valencia (Luke Shaw 67), Ashley Young (Juan Mata 67), Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay (Marcus Rashford 45), Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez

Referee: Neil Swarbrick, Attendance: 25,840

Crystal Palace’s 2017-2018 season had been one of contrasting fortunes. Pointless and goalless after seven matches, they had reached the dizzying heights of 12th position in the table when they defeated Burnley 1-0 in mid-January. Now, they were in a tailspin of alarming results. Five games without a win, Roy Hodgson’s side kicked off this match against Manchester United back in the relegation zone.

The home side looked sharper, quicker and hungrier than their opponents and deservedly hit the front after just 11 minutes. Andros Townsend’s shot from distance deflected in off the unfortunate Victor Lindelof to put the Eagles into the lead. Palace’s front two of Christian Benteke and Alexander Sorloth were working hard to give United’s defenders problems. Paul Pogba was sloppy in possession and youngster Scott McTominay struggled in the central midfield battle.

If Mourinho had tried to motivate his team in the half-time team talk, his defenders clearly weren’t listening. Three minutes after the interval, Jeff Schlupp took a quick free-kick and the visiting defence were caught completely off-guard. Full-back Patrick van Aanholt exposed this horrendous miscommunication and smashed a shot beyond David de Gea to put Crystal Palace into a deserved 2-0 lead.

If the scoreline stayed as it was, Hodgson’s side were going 13th in the table. The hosts were missing 10 first-team players due to injury and suspension and one of those missing was their influential winger, Wilfried Zaha. As soon as Chris Smalling pulled a goal back, heading home from Antonio Valencia’s cross, Zaha’s presence was clearly missed.

United started to gain a grip on proceedings and moments after Benteke had cleared a Nemanja Matic effort off the line, Alexis Sanchez had a shot that deflected onto the crossbar. The ball landed back into the path of Romelu Lukaku and despite having no fewer than five players around him, the Belgian stayed composed and squeezed in the equaliser with 14 minutes left to play. Mourinho still need another wonder save from De Gea though. The Spaniard produced a remarkable stop to keep out a powerful headed attempt by Benteke.

In the first minute of stoppage-time, Palace hearts were to be broken. From nearly 30-yards out, Matic tried his luck. The Serbian, who has shown his capability of finding the net from distance during his time in English football, did it again. His dipping volley beat Wayne Hennessey, winning the game for Manchester United with a stunning strike.

The Red Devils had shown great resilience to comeback from 2-0 down but you had to feel for Hodgson and his team, who put so much effort into this contest and were left with nothing to show for it. The season had a happy ending for Eagles supporters though. They lost two of their next three matches but then went on a six-match unbeaten streak at the end of the campaign to finish 11th. Manchester United wound up second but a record-breaking 19 points adrift of their city rivals.

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Shock Results: Leicester City 0-3 Crystal Palace (December 2017)

Goalscorers: Christian Benteke 19, Wilfried Zaha 40, Bakary Sako 90

Teams:

Leicester City: Kasper Schmeichel, Ben Chilwell, Harry Maguire, Wes Morgan, Danny Simpson, Vicente Iborra (Shinji Okazaki 77), Wilfred Ndidi (SENT OFF), Marc Albrighton (Andy King 77), Demarai Gray, Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy (Leonardo Ulloa 85)

Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni, Scott Dann, James Tomkins, Martin Kelly, Jeff Schlupp, Yohan Cabaye (Jairo Riedewald 85), James McArthur, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke (Bakary Sako 88)

Referee: Martin Atkinson, Attendance: 31,081

After their truly abysmal start to the 2017-2018 season that yielded no points from seven matches, Crystal Palace were starting to recover by the time Christmas arrived. The Eagles had found some form at Selhurst Park but were still without the magic formula on their travels. They hadn’t even scored away from home by the time they travelled to The King Power Stadium.

They faced a rejuvenated Leicester City. Two months earlier, the former Premier League champions had dispensed with the services of Craig Shakespeare as manager after just one win in their first eight matches. Now, Claude Puel had steered them to four successive victories and just one defeat in seven matches, which had come against Manchester City. With Palace’s pompous away record, this looked like a home banker on many of the weekend’s accumulators.

However, Roy Hodgson’s team were about to tear up the formbook, producing a dazzling display that left the Foxes in a Saturday lunchtime daze. Palace took control of the game from the opening moments and deservedly took the lead after 19 minutes. Christian Benteke showed some of his old form to power a header past Kasper Schmeichel after he met Andros Townsend’s deep cross. It was the perfect response from Benteke, who had taken a spot-kick against AFC Bournemouth a week earlier and missed having gone against team instructions from his manager.

Only a yellow card which led to a suspension would temper Benteke’s afternoon. The Belgian was a menace throughout and so was the ever-increasingly influential Wilfried Zaha. Five minutes before half-time, he doubled the advantage for the south-east Londoners, producing a lovely stepover to beat Ben Chilwell, then producing a devastating finish past Schmeichel. Leicester looked shell-shocked. This was almost a completely different team from the one that had just dismantled Southampton 4-1 in their own backyard less than 72 hours earlier.

Puel’s side did rally after the break. Vicente Iborra had the ball in the net but it was rightfully disallowed for a foul in the build-up, whilst veteran goalkeeper Julian Speroni was at full stretch to deny Riyad Mahrez from distance. Any realistic hope Leicester had of getting back into the match though was ended by Wilfred Ndidi’s dismissal just past the hour mark. On his 21st birthday, Ndidi went down cheaply in the penalty area looking for a spot-kick. Martin Atkinson wasn’t falling for this trick and booked the Nigerian for simulation. That was his second bookable offence, leading to an early bath and a dressing-down from his manager. It wasn’t a birthday to remember for Ndidi.

Crystal Palace saw the game out comfortably with the extra man advantage and Benteke was slightly unfortunate not to win a penalty for his side late on when it seemed like Marc Albrighton had tripped him. In stoppage-time, it was his replacement, Bakary Sako who added the gloss to an almost perfect away performance with a fine finish.

There were still nine points between the sides on the full-time whistle but this win and a resounding 5-0 victory at Selhurst Park in April made Leicester a very favourable opponent for Crystal Palace in the 2017-2018 Premier League season.

Premier League Rewind: 24th-26th November 2017

Results: West Ham United 1-1 Leicester City, Crystal Palace 2-1 Stoke City, Manchester United 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion, Newcastle United 0-3 Watford, Swansea City 0-0 AFC Bournemouth, Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 West Bromwich Albion, Liverpool FC 1-1 Chelsea, Southampton 4-1 Everton, Burnley 0-1 Arsenal, Huddersfield Town 1-2 Manchester City

By the end of November 2017, Manchester City were looking absolutely unstoppable. Eight points clear at the start of the weekend, that figure remained intact for Pep Guardiola’s men but only after they survived a major scare away at Huddersfield Town.

A month earlier, Huddersfield had defeated Manchester United at The John Smith’s Stadium and for a few moments, it looked like a shock double was on the cards when Nicolas Otamendi headed the ball into his own net on the stroke of half-time. Sergio Aguero did quickly equalise in the second half via the penalty spot but it looked like the points would be shared until six minutes from full-time. Through a bit of fortune and persistence, Raheem Sterling scored the winning goal to extend City’s winning run in the Premier League to 11 games.

24 hours earlier, Manchester United also required a big slice of fortune to defeat plucky Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 at Old Trafford. Ashley Young’s shot deflected off Lewis Dunk and looped over a stranded Mat Ryan in the 66th minute to give the Red Devils three points. It was a weekend where the established elite all generally struggled.

For the second season running, Arsenal needed a stoppage-time goal to claim all three points at Turf Moor against Burnley. In the second minute of stoppage-time, James Tarkowski was adjudged to have fouled Aaron Ramsey in the penalty area. Alexis Sanchez made no mistake from 12-yards out to score the only goal of the game and took Arsenal into the top four, having won four of their last five games.

They replaced north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the top four after Tottenham stumbled to a 1-1 home draw with West Bromwich Albion at Wembley Stadium. West Brom had sacked Tony Pulis earlier in the week and caretaker manager Gary Megson’s side put in a stoic defensive display to earn a hard-fought point. Since beating Liverpool FC 4-1 a month earlier, Tottenham had picked up just four points from four games.

At the wrong end of the table and Everton’s horrific season continued. Despite Gylfi Sigurdsson’s first Premier League goal for the club, the Toffees succumbed to a heavy 4-1 defeat away at Southampton. Charlie Austin scored twice for the home side, as the Saints climbed into 10th spot off the back of this handsome victory. Wayne Rooney was an unused substitute for Everton who sat just two points above the relegation zone and were still without a permanent manager since sacking Ronald Koeman a month earlier.

Crystal Palace recorded a second victory of the season, coming from behind to defeat Stoke City 2-1. Mamadou Sakho scored the winning goal deep into stoppage-time to extend the Eagles’ unbeaten run on home soil to four games and took them to within three points of safety. David Moyes achieved his first point as West Ham United boss as the Hammers drew 1-1 in the Friday Night Football encounter against Leicester City but it wasn’t enough for the home side to escape the bottom three.

What else happened in November 2017?

  • After 37 years of ruling Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe resigns after being placed under house arrest. The military take control of the country.
  • Prince Harry announces his engagement to American actress Meghan Markle.
  • Ratko Mladic is found guilty of genocide committed in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War. He is sentenced to life in prison.
  • Sir Michael Fallon resigns as Defence Secretary following allegations of inappropriate previous behaviour. He is replaced by Gavin Williamson.
  • One of Leonardo da Vinci’s finest works, Salvator Mundi, sells for $450 million at Christie’s in New York. It becomes the new record price for any work of art produced.
  • Ex-Czech tennis player and winner of the women’s singles title at Wimbledon in 1998, Jana Novotna dies after a battle with cancer, aged 49.
  • A huge new leak of documents known as the Paradise Papers is reported, revealing how wealthy and powerful the rich really are with offshore investments. The Queen’s private estate is included with tech giants Apple and Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton also facing tough questions following the leak.

Great Goals: Jermain Defoe – Crystal Palace vs. AFC BOURNEMOUTH (December 2017)

AFC Bournemouth had two Carling Goal of the Month winners in the 2017-2018 season. Whilst Charlie Daniels scored his thunderbolt against Manchester City in August, Jermain Defoe rolled back the years against Crystal Palace in December.

Now 35, Defoe is not afraid of scoring spectacular goals and this effort on a chilly Saturday afternoon in south-east London is among the best in his career. With half-time drawing closer, Bournemouth had just suffered a double blow, conceding goals in quick succession to Luka Milivojevic and Scott Dann. It looked like the Eagles were going to head into half-time leading 2-1. Defoe though, had other ideas.

There didn’t seem to be much danger when Defoe made an angling run to chase down Lewis Cook’s pass. Dann didn’t seem too worried to allow Defoe to get to the ball but the experienced forward swivelled suddenly and hit a sumptuous shot over a rattled Julian Speroni from almost an impossible angle.

It was the 201st goal of Defoe’s glorious league career and has to rank among his top 10.

Iconic Moments: Palace’s gamble backfires (September 2017)

After guiding another club to survival in May 2017, Sam Allardyce elected to step down as Crystal Palace manager, insisting his time as a club manager was over. Of course, ‘Big Sam’ wouldn’t be finished just yet. Owner Steve Parish turned to Frank de Boer to fill the vacancy at Selhurst Park.

As a player, de Boer’s CV is really impressive. He won league championships with Barcelona and Ajax and was part of Louis van Gaal’s squad at the latter that won the UEFA Champions League in 1995. In management, he’d enjoyed title success at Ajax too but had a dismal time in Italy, lasting less than three months in the Inter Milan job in 2016.

His appointment at Selhurst Park was a gamble that spectacularly backfired. The Eagles were woeful on the opening day, being heavily beaten 3-0 by Premier League newcomers Huddersfield Town. Further losses followed to Liverpool FC and Swansea City and the pressure was already on the Dutchman. His ambitious style of football he wanted his players to play wasn’t working. They had been used to Allardyce’s style and the methods between the pair were vast to say the least.

After the August international break, Crystal Palace tumbled to a 1-0 defeat at Turf Moor against Burnley. With four games played, no points and not even a single goal scored, Parish decided to admit to his error in judgement. De Boer was dismissed after just 10 weeks in the job. His reign is the shortest in Premier League history. Jose Mourinho later labelled him as “the worst manager in Premier League history.”

With statistics like de Boer achieved, it’s hard not to disagree with this sentiment but the story had a happy ending for Eagles supporters. Roy Hodgson came in and steered the club comfortably to safety. They finished a commendable 11th, considering they lost their first seven matches without scoring a single goal.

Shock Results: Crystal Palace 2-1 Chelsea (October 2017)

Goalscorers: Cesar Azpilicueta 11 OG, Tiemoue Bakayoko 18, Wilfried Zaha 45

Teams:

Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni, Scott Dann, Mamadou Sakho, Patrick van Aanholt, Joel Ward, Yohan Cabaye (Jairo Riedewald 86), Luka Milivojevic, James McArthur (Timothy Fosu-Mensah 85), Jeff Schlupp (Jason Puncheon 75), Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha

Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Victor Moses (Davide Zappacosta 39), Tiemoue Bakayoko, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Willian (Charly Musonda 65), Michy Batshuayi (Pedro 57)

Referee: Andre Marriner, Attendance: 25,480

Crystal Palace looked in dire straits at the start of October 2017. Seven games into their campaign and the Eagles had made the worst start ever in Premier League history. Seven defeats, no points earned and not even a goal scored. Their situation seemed hopeless already. Frank de Boer had been sacked just four games into his reign, replaced by Roy Hodgson. Hodgson had a reputation to repair himself. He had been out of work since England’s humiliating exit in the 2016 European Championships at the hands of Iceland. The chance to revive Palace’s fortunes and put himself back on the managerial map was too good to turn down.

After the October international break, Selhurst Park was packed to welcome the visit of league champions Chelsea. Antonio Conte’s side had recovered well from a shock opening day loss at home to Burnley and were boasting a 100% away record following fine victories away at Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and Stoke City. The Blues were widely anticipated to keep that record going.

After 641 goalless minutes at the start of the season, Crystal Palace finally registered a goal to take a surprising early lead. Andros Townsend picked out Yohan Cabaye who showed great persistence in the penalty area, causing havoc which Chelsea’s defenders couldn’t deal with. David Luiz panicked and the ball eventually came off his teammate Cesar Azpilicueta and rebounded into the back of the net. It set the tone for an uncomfortable afternoon for the reigning champions.

Conte’s side were missing the energy of N’Golo Kante, who had been injured playing for France during the international break and it showed. However, his replacement did provide the equaliser. Tiemoue Bakayoko escaped his markers to guide home a corner from his central midfield partner, Cesc Fabregas. However, Chelsea’s front three of Michy Batshuayi, Willian and Eden Hazard failed to seriously test Julian Speroni on a regular basis.

It was another Palace returnee who would ultimately score the winner. Wilfried Zaha had been out of action since the opening day of the season but he returned with perfect timing. On the stroke of half-time, he escaped Azpilicueta’s challenge and slotted the ball beyond Thibaut Courtois.

Despite enjoying 60% of possession and piling the pressure on in the second half, Conte’s side couldn’t find a way through. He experienced back-to-back defeats for only the second time as a Premier League manager. Palace were finally off the mark for both goals and points. Their season finally had lift-off, thanks to the management guile of Hodgson and the skill of Zaha, who proved to be their integral matchwinner throughout the 2017-2018 season.

Great Goals: Pajtim Kasami – Crystal Palace vs. FULHAM (October 2013)

Now playing for FC Sion in Switzerland, there are two things Pajtim Kasami is probably known for. One is a brief fling with X-Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger, the other for this amazing long-range volley in October 2013 against Crystal Palace.

It was a London Derby which both sides needed to win as both teams had made slow starts to the 2013-2014 season. Palace had scored early on but this goal from Kasami completely shifted the momentum away from the home side. Sascha Riether claimed the assist as his long ball found Kasami. The Swiss international controlled his pass superbly on his chest and with his second touch, produced an outstanding volley that Julian Speroni had simply no chance of saving.

Fulham won 4-1 and Ian Holloway left his position as Crystal Palace manager two days later. It didn’t quite win Goal of the Season for 2013-2014 but it was a strike that was talked about all over the country.

Memorable Matches: Charlton Athletic 2-2 Crystal Palace (May 2005)

Goalscorers: Bryan Hughes 30, Dougie Freedman 58, Andy Johnson 70 PEN, Jonathan Fortune 82

Teams:

Charlton Athletic: Dean Kiely, Talal El Karkouri, Jonathan Fortune, Radostin Kishishev, Paul Konchesky, Luke Young, Matt Holland (Lloyd Sam 67), Bryan Hughes, Danny Murphy (Dennis Rommedahl 76), Shaun Bartlett (Jerome Thomas 79), Jonatan Johansson

Crystal Palace: Gabor Kiraly, Danny Butterfield (Dougie Freedman 55), Danny Granville, Fitz Hall, Mikele Leigertwood, Tony Popovic, Tom Soares (Aki Riihilahti 86), Michael Hughes, Ben Watson (Darren Powell 89), Wayne Routledge, Andy Johnson

Referee: Mark Clattenburg, Attendance: 26,870

It was the final day of the 2004-2005 season and ‘Survival Sunday.’ None of the bottom four clubs were safe. By the end of the day, only one team from Norwich City, Crystal Palace, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion would be celebrating another season in the Premier League with the other three sides having to face up to the agony of relegation.

Iain Dowie’s Crystal Palace side travelled to The Valley to take on a Charlton Athletic side that hadn’t won in the Premier League since mid-March. Despite winning just once on their travels all season at Birmingham City, Dowie must have been confident that a victory would be enough for the Eagles to avoid relegation for the first time in their Premier League history.

Given the circumstances, they made a very nervous start and were punished by their more experienced opponents after 30 minutes. Played in by Radostin Kishishev, Bryan Hughes made a run from his wide position, shrugged off the attentions of Danny Butterfield and used the post to guide the ball into the back of the net. It was the home side’s first notable attack of the match and it had led to the opening goal. At half-time, Palace were going down. Defeat would condemn them to the drop, no matter what was happening elsewhere.

Having started with just one lone forward in Andy Johnson, Dowie knew he needed to take a risk now. 10 minutes into the second half, he withdrew Butterfield and threw on a second forward in Dougie Freedman. The change had the desired early impact. With only his second touch of the match, Freedman exposed a missing Charlton backline and bought Palace level, calmly lifting the ball over Dean Kiely. Incredibly, it was his first Premier League goal of the season and what a time to get it.

Results elsewhere were generally going for the south Londoners too. The dream was over for Norwich, who would lose 6-0 at Fulham whilst Southampton’s 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United saw their top-flight run come to a shattering end. Maybe unknown at the time to the players but it was now a straight fight between West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace.

West Brom were leading Portsmouth 2-0 but another goal for Dowie and his troops would put them in pole position to survive. They got their opportunity with 20 minutes to go. A long goal-kick from Gabor Kiraly found Freedman. As he attempted to cut inside Jonathan Fortune, the defender stopped him with his hand. Mark Clattenburg awarded a penalty. In such a tense scenario, Johnson stepped up and sent Kiely the wrong way to put the visitors 2-1 ahead. It was his 21st goal of the season.

However, heartache would follow. A rash challenge from Mikele Leigertwood gave Charlton a free-kick in the 82nd minute. It was delivered into the back post by Jerome Thomas and Fortune made up for his earlier error by powering the Addicks level. The draw meant Crystal Palace were relegated and West Brom survived. It had been a nail-biting and ultimately, heartbreaking afternoon for the Eagles.

Premier League Files: Julian Speroni

Premier League Career: Crystal Palace (2004-PRESENT)

Julian Speroni is Crystal Palace’s all-time record appearance maker and a club idol. He had a testimonial with the club in 2015 and although he is very much an understudy nowadays to Wayne Hennessey, the Argentine has seen some first-team action in the Premier League during the 2017-2018 season. This is Speroni’s 14th season on the books at Selhurst Park.

Born in Buenos Aires, Speroni made just two professional appearances in Argentine football before moving to British shores by signing for Dundee in 2001. He had three seasons at Dens Park and played over 100 times for the Dark Blues. He was a consistent goalie who won rave reviews from the experts in Scottish football and was on the radar for selection to the Argentine national team. That call-up didn’t arrive and hasn’t throughout his long career.

He moved to Crystal Palace in the summer of 2004 that had just enjoyed the euphoria of promotion to the Premier League. Palace paid Dundee £750,000 but he made a poor start as first-choice goalkeeper. Some sloppy errors in a home defeat to Everton cost him the regular spot in-goal to Hungarian Gabor Kiraly after just six matches of the campaign. He would play second-fiddle to Kiraly until he departed in 2007.

Speroni became the undisputed number one and in some tough times for the club who constantly struggled in the lower reaches of the Championship, he regularly delivered some excellent displays. For three seasons running, he was crowned Player of the Season.

In May 2013, he was in unstoppable form in the Championship play-offs, as the Eagles saw off Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford to earn themselves promotion back to the Premier League. This gave Speroni a second chance at Premier League football, nearly a decade after his first appearance in the division.

In 2013-2014, Speroni took his chance with both hands and played an integral part in the club achieving their highest-ever Premier League finish at the time of 11th place under Tony Pulis’ stewardship. His high-levels of performances saw him start 37 of the 38 Premier League matches and win his fourth Palace Player of the Season award.

By now, his contract was running down and both Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion made offers to end his Palace career. In June 2014 though, Speroni stayed loyal to the club and signed a new contract. He again remained no.1 despite the arrival of Hennessey from Wolverhampton Wanderers. In February 2015, he equalled John Jackson’s league record for the club of 347 appearances for a goalkeeper in the south Londoners 2-1 loss to Arsenal.

Alex McCarthy’s arrival from Reading in the close-season added to the competition and naturally, the younger goalkeepers were given their chance by Alan Pardew ahead of the 2015-2016 season. McCarthy started as the no.1 but Hennessey had usurped him by the season’s conclusion. Speroni seemed happy to fill in now as a deputy.

Against Watford in 2017, he made the magical mark of 400 matches in Palace’s colours and remains a cult hero with the club supporters. A solid and reliable presence, Julian Speroni has been the heartbeat of Crystal Palace for over a decade.

Premier League Files: Dean Gordon

Premier League Career: Crystal Palace (1992-1993, 1994-1995, 1997-1998), Middlesbrough (1998-2002)

Left-back Dean Gordon is a perfect example of a journeyman footballer who represented a host of different clubs during his career. In his 18-year stint as a footballer, he played for no fewer than 20 teams with spells in England, Cyprus and even New Zealand. To be fair to Dean, a lot of this movement came after his prime days in the game which were spent in the top two divisions with Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough.

Born in Croydon, Gordon made the breakthrough professionally at his local club, Crystal Palace. Starting as a trainee, he turned professional in July 1991 and would eventually make over 200 appearances for the Eagles across seven league campaigns. Gordon was part of the Palace team that won the First Division championship in 1994 and won promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs three years later. Unfortunately, all three Premier League campaigns he took part in ended in relegation from the top-flight. Strong in the tackle, Gordon loved to fly forward from the left-flank and also had a tendency to score some spectacular goals from distance. One of his best came in his penultimate match as a Palace player at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium – although it ended in a 5-2 defeat.

Following Palace’s third Premier League relegation, he left in July 1998 and joined Middlesbrough for £900,000. In his first season on Teeside, he started every single Premier League match, as Boro finished ninth in the table. He was one of the goalscorers too in December 1998 when Bryan Robson’s team went to Old Trafford and beat Manchester United 3-2.

His next three seasons at The Riverside Stadium were a real struggle though and he was limited to a meagre 20 further games with his final appearance coming in a 1-0 victory over local rivals Sunderland in January 2002. He was released at the end of that campaign by Steve McClaren and joined Coventry City.

It was from here when Gordon’s constant club changing happened. Some of his previous sides include Grimsby Town, Reading, APOEL Nicosia, Torquay United and Auckland City. Following his retirement in 2009 after a spell in non-league football, Dean now lives in Sunderland and runs Futsal Sunderland, providing competitions and other Futsal events for all ages.

Premier League Rewind: 7th-8th May 1993

Results: Arsenal 3-0 Crystal Palace, Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry City 3-3 Leeds United, Ipswich Town 2-1 Nottingham Forest, Liverpool FC 6-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City 2-5 Everton, Middlesbrough 3-3 Norwich City, Oldham Athletic 4-3 Southampton, Sheffield United 4-2 Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Aston Villa, Wimbledon 1-2 Manchester United

The final weekend of the very first FA Premier League season would be a record-breaking one with the highest total of goals scored ever during a top-flight weekend since the formation of the division. Incredibly, 53 goals found the back of the net in the 11 matches that took place. It was clear that some defences were already on holiday on this evidence!

With Manchester United already crowned as the maiden Premier League champions, the main attention was focused on the bottom of the table. Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough were already relegated, so just one spot was up for grabs and it was a straight shootout between Crystal Palace and Oldham Athletic.

The odds were in Palace’s favour. They only needed a point from their final match at Highbury against an Arsenal side who might have had one eye on an FA Cup final appearance in a week’s time. However, it all went wrong for Steve Coppell’s side. Ian Wright opened the scoring against his former employers after just nine minutes. Further late strikes from Paul Dickov and Kevin Campbell consigned Palace to a 3-0 defeat. They now required help from Southampton.

The Saints were at Boundary Park to play Oldham. Oldham had looked dead and buried a week earlier but shock wins over Aston Villa and Liverpool FC had given them genuine hope of beating the drop. Another win here and they would be playing Premier League football in 1993-1994. It looked very good after 64 minutes. Goals from Neil Pointon, Ian Olney, Andy Ritchie and Gunnar Halle had Oldham 4-1 ahead. Matt Le Tissier was not going to make it easy though. He almost single-handily dragged Southampton back into the match with a hat-trick. Oldham manager Joe Royle was racing upstairs and downstairs every couple of minutes as the tension increased during the afternoon.

Oldham held on though for a priceless three points which ensured they stayed up on goal difference. Crystal Palace were relegated and Coppell resigned soon afterwards.

Another manager under pressure was Liverpool FC’s Graeme Souness. He was a mysterious absentee from the club’s final home match of an underwhelming season against Tottenham Hotspur. The official reason given by the club was he was on a ‘scouting mission.’ Ronnie Moran took control on the day and the players responded well, thumping Tottenham 6-2. There were two goals apiece for John Barnes and Ian Rush. Teddy Sheringham’s consolation meant he would win the Golden Boot in the first Premier League season. Tottenham would change managers in the close season, with playing legend Ossie Ardiles appointed that summer, whilst Liverpool did stick with Souness until January 1994.

Manchester United closed their season out 24 hours after the majority of the other teams had played. They beat Wimbledon 2-1 at Selhurst Park, with skipper Bryan Robson scoring their final goal of the league season. They would finish 10 points clear of Aston Villa, who lost 2-1 at Queens Park Rangers to ensure they lost their final three games of the season. That win for QPR ensured they would finish in fifth spot and were London’s top club. This was a marvellous achievement for Gerry Francis.

One manager bowing out completely was Brian Clough. His final game in management was at Portman Road and he exited with a defeat. Despite a penalty from his son, Nigel Clough, Nottingham Forest lost 2-1 to Ipswich Town to ensure they finished bottom of the table. Elsewhere, Peter Beagrie scored twice as Everton finished a lacklustre season on a real high, winning 5-2 away at Manchester City and Tim Sherwood’s header beat Sheffield Wednesday at Ewood Park. Blackburn Rovers finished fourth in their first season after promotion from the Second Division.

What else happened in May 1993?

  • Kenneth Clarke is appointed as the new Chancellor of the Exchequer after Norman Lamont’s sacking following Black Wednesday.
  • Ireland wins the Eurovision Song Contest with “In Your Eyes,” performed by Niamh Kavanagh.
  • Eritrea gains independence from Ethiopia and becomes a member of the United Nations.
  • Inflation in the UK reaches a 29-year low of 1.3%.
  • After 10 years, ITV drops the popular teatime gameshow ‘Blockbusters.’ It will be revived on four separate occasions by Sky One, BBC Two and Challenge before disappearing for good in 2012.
  • Matthew Kelly becomes the new host of the ITV programme, ‘Stars in Their Eyes.’ He will continue to front the show for the next 10 years.

The Managers: Alan Pardew

Premier League Clubs Managed: West Ham United (2005-2006), Newcastle United (2010-2014), Crystal Palace (2015-2016), West Bromwich Albion (2017-2018)

Life has been very tough of late for Alan Pardew. The 2012 LMA Manager of the Year hasn’t been able to arrest the slide at West Bromwich Albion and the Baggies’ relegation looks set to be confirmed in the coming weeks. A run of eight successive defeats saw him part company with the club in April 2018.

Pardew has attracted headlines for the wrong reasons and got himself into trouble with the senior authorities on a number of occasions. He is a confident manager who has always believed he can turn around difficult outcomes. He’s often been able to string together a lengthy run of successive victories but at the same time, can be in control of teams who go on worrying runs of consecutive losses too.

His best achievements as a player and manager have been to reach the FA Cup final three times. However, it has been a case of three times unlucky as he has lost on all occasions.

Wonderful winner against mighty Liverpool

Born in the Wimbledon area of London, Pardew started his career as a part-time player in non-league football whilst working as a glazier. His most prolific spell came with Crystal Palace. He joined them in 1987 for a fee of just £7,500. Two years later, he helped them win promotion to the First Division and in 1990, came the greatest moment of his career.

The midfielder scored the winning goal in extra-time of a fantastic FA Cup semi-final against mighty Liverpool FC at Villa Park. The Eagles won 4-3, just seven months after losing 9-0 to the same opposition in a league fixture at Anfield. They were through to the final where they played Manchester United. Despite leading, the game ended in a 3-3 draw and Alex Ferguson’s side won the replay to earn their first major honour as a partnership.

In 1991, Crystal Palace finished a surprising but deserving third in the First Division table before Pardew moved to Charlton Athletic in November 1991. He was the Addicks top goalscorer in the 1992-1993 season with 10 goals and was part of the squad that made a triumphant return to The Valley after several seasons playing at neutral venues across the capital.

He played four times for Tottenham Hotspur during the 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup, being part of a squad that lost 8-0 to German side 1. FC Köln which remains the club’s heaviest-ever defeat. After a spell with Barnet, he ended his playing career on the books of Reading in 1998, although he never played a first-team game for the Berkshire outfit.

A controversial departure

It would be Reading where Alan would make his first steps as a manager, taking over in a couple of caretaker spells before getting the job permanently in 1999. Reading were toiling in the Second Division at the time and often fighting off relegation but he managed to guide them to serial play-off contenders during his time with the Royals. The likes of Jamie Cureton flourished under his management and in 2002; he won promotion to the First Division automatically.

There were no issues with stepping up to a higher level. In his maiden season as a boss in the second-tier, Pardew’s Reading side finished a stellar fourth but were beaten in the play-offs by Wolverhampton Wanderers. His impressive time with the club attracted the interest of West Ham United and it would be a controversial departure too.

In September 2003, West Ham approached Reading for permission to speak to Alan. Reading rightly refused but Pardew decided to force the hand by tendering his resignation. A compromise was eventually reached and he would take over at Upton Park but it was a sour ending to an excellent first job in management.

Denied by Gerrard

Having been relegated from the Premier League on the final day of the 2002-2003 campaign, West Ham United were firm favourites to make an instant return but the going was much tougher than anticipated. The Hammers had to settle for a place in the play-offs as Norwich City and West Bromwich Albion won the two automatic promotion spots. The play-offs ended in defeat in the final to his old club Crystal Palace.

The 2004-2005 season was just as hard proving that no matter how talented your squad is, getting out of the Championship is very tricky. Yet again, West Ham had to settle for a spot in the play-offs. Pardew was coming under scrutiny from some sections of the Boleyn Ground faithful and failure again would probably cost him his job. This time he prevailed, as Bobby Zamora’s strike defeated Preston North End 1-0 in the final. After two seasons in the wilderness, West Ham were back in the Premier League party.

Their first season back was very impressive. Pardew’s side always posed a threat on the counter-attack and played some enjoyable content which pleased the supporters. They finished ninth in the Premier League and beat Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the season to deny Spurs a chance in the Champions League. There was also a 3-2 success on the club’s final trip to Highbury – Arsenal’s iconic ground.

The main highlight though was a run to the FA Cup final with the likes of Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City and Middlesbrough being defeated on the road to Cardiff. In the final cup final to be played in the Welsh capital, West Ham took on red-hot favourites Liverpool FC and came within a few moments of winning the cup for the first time in 26 years. They led 2-0 and 3-2 but Pardew was to be denied by Steven Gerrard’s stoppage-time heroics with an exhilarating equaliser. Liverpool would win the penalty shootout leaving the Londoners heartbroken.

It felt like the cup defeat had a negative effect on the dressing room dynamics and despite signing world stars Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, West Ham went on an alarming run of defeats which was their worst run in 70 years. This included a shock League Cup exit at the hands of Chesterfield and UEFA Cup failure at the first hurdle to Palermo.

The new Icelandic owners gave their public backing but a horrible performance and 4-0 loss to Bolton Wanderers in mid-December was the final straw. Pardew was sacked two days later but he would be back in management just over two weeks after this axing.

Charlton woe

On Christmas Eve 2006, Pardew returned to Charlton Athletic, succeeding Les Reed in the job. The Addicks were in the bottom three and struggling to maintain their grip on their Premier League status. Pardew’s first match nearly drew instant success late equaliser from Fulham in controversial circumstances. It would be the story of his reign at The Valley.

Charlton’s form improved, including a 4-0 victory over his former employers in February but it wasn’t enough to avoid the drop. A 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur in the club’s final home match of the season saw Charlton’s seven-season stay in the top-flight come to a sudden end.

The spark seemed to have gone from Pardew. He couldn’t motivate the club to a sustained push for an instant return to the Premier League. Charlton finished a distant 11th in the Championship in 2007-2008 and after slipping into the bottom three of that division in November 2008, he parted company with the club by mutual consent.

His next role was down in League One as he tried to revive Southampton’s fortunes. Despite a points deduction for entering administration, he did bring in plenty of firepower with the likes of Lee Barnard and Rickie Lambert arriving on the south coast. Southampton did win the Football League trophy under his stewardship in April 2010 but with low morale within the staff, he was sacked five months later by owner Nicola Cortese.

It looked like his top-flight days were numbered until Newcastle United came calling.

Defying the critics

In December 2010, Chris Hughton was dismissed as Newcastle United manager and three days after his departure, Pardew was confirmed as his successor. Many Magpies supporters did not want him as their manager and a poll on the Sky Sports website confirmed this. He received just 5.5% backing.

He won his first match in-charge though, defeating Liverpool FC 3-1 and was manager when Newcastle produced one of the greatest comebacks in Premier League history, storming back from 4-0 down at half-time to draw 4-4 with Arsenal in February 2011.

Newcastle finished 12th in 2010-2011 and that summer; they recruited very well, using contacts from France to bring in the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Sylvain Marveaux and on a free transfer from West Ham United, Demba Ba. Ba’s goals in the first half of the season, combined with a solid defensive line-up and the qualities of Cabaye meant he would defy the critics throughout the 2011-2012 season.

Newcastle remained unbeaten until mid-November and were a fixture in the top seven all season. The January arrival of Papiss Cisse from Sport-Club Freiburg added more firepower to the striking ranks and the club enjoyed their best season since Sir Bobby Robson’s final full term in 2004. The Magpies were in the mix for a UEFA Champions League qualification place until the final day when defeat at Everton ensured they’d miss out on a top-three spot. Nevertheless, fifth place in the final table, ahead of Chelsea and Liverpool FC was a stunning achievement. Pardew’s work was recognised and he was awarded LMA Manager of the Year honours.

Crazy moments

In September 2012, he signed an eight-year contract extension but the 2012-2013 season was a major disappointment. Newcastle finished 16th in the table and suffered some damaging defeats, including a heavy 3-0 loss to local rivals Sunderland in April 2013. They did reach a UEFA Europa League quarter-final before losing to Benfica.

The 2013-2014 campaign went better and Alan won the Manager of the Month award for November after four successive victories. The club won at Old Trafford in December and sat sixth in the table going into Christmas. However, Cabaye was sold to Paris Saint-Germain in January and he got into hot water twice in quick succession which put his position in severe jeopardy.

First, he was caught by television cameras using foul and abusive language towards Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini during a 2-0 home loss in January. Two months later, he was sent to the stands after head-butting Hull City’s David Meyler following a touchline confrontation. It was an extraordinary incident which saw him fined £160,000 combined by the FA and his own club and given a seven-match ban, three of these games saw him barred from entering the stadium.

There was a tumultuous start to the 2014-2015 season and the relationship between manager and supporters seemed to be at an all-time low. Newcastle sank to bottom in the Premier League after four games and disgruntled fans set-up a website called SackPardew.com in an effort to convince Mike Ashley to dispense with his services. He survived this storm and a run of five successive victories saw the club rocket up the table from 20th to 5th. However, there was always a feeling in the closing weeks of his reign on Tyneside that his time was coming to an end.

After not fulfilling media commitments following a 3-2 home victory against Everton, speculation grew on whether Pardew would leave Newcastle to take the vacancy at Crystal Palace. Two days later, compensation was agreed between the two clubs and Alan was leaving the north east behind to return to a club that was still dear to his heart.

A sound start at Selhurst

When Pardew took over at Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace were in the relegation zone but immediately showed a revival in fortunes. In his first match in-charge, Palace beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 and would beat both Manchester City and Liverpool FC before the season’s end. Crystal Palace finished the 2014-2015 campaign in 10th place which remains their best-ever Premier League finish. In doing so, he became the first manager to take over a side in the drop zone and guide them to a top-half finish.

It was a sound start and the first half of the 2015-2016 campaign went swimmingly too, helped by acquiring Cabaye again after he fell out of favour at Paris Saint-Germain. After 19 games, Palace sat in fifth position and looked set to launch a serious challenge for a European spot in the most unpredictable Premier League season.

However, a dismal run followed. Crystal Palace went 14 league games without a victory and plummeted down the table into the bottom five. Late season victories over Norwich City and Stoke City removed any late threat of a relegation battle but finishing 15th at the end of the season was not what anyone hoped for. Alan’s salvation was another excellent run in the FA Cup and another final which ended in another agonising defeat. Manchester United came from behind to defeat the Eagles 2-1 after extra-time in the Wembley showpiece. It was the third time he’d experience FA Cup final heartache as a player/manager.

The poor league form continued throughout the first half of the 2016-2017 season. Despite a three-game winning sequence in September that did have them briefly upto seventh and above eventual champions Chelsea, another dire sequence of results followed. One win in 11 saw the south Londoners slip down to 17th in the table and a few days before Christmas 2016, Pardew was sacked after a 1-0 loss to Chelsea.

After a stint working as a TV pundit for Sky Sports, Pardew returned to the managerial dugout at West Bromwich Albion in November 2017. He replaced Tony Pulis at the helm but his record was nothing short of disastrous. He won just three matches in all competitions from 20 games, earning him a grim win ratio rate of just 15%. West Brom won only once in the Premier League during his reign – a 2-0 success over Brighton & Hove Albion in January and a run of eight successive losses means relegation from the Premier League at the end of the campaign is now just a mere formality. In early April, he parted company with the Baggies by mutual consent.

Alan Pardew has always tried to play football the right way and encourage an expansive style but his recent spells in management since leaving Newcastle United haven’t gone to plan. With the nightmare he has recently experienced at West Bromwich Albion, it is more likely he will be a TV pundit than a manager in future seasons to come.