Tag Archives: Crystal Palace

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.

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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 Riedwald 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.

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 3-3 Crystal Palace (August 2014)

Goalscorers: Dwight Gayle 1, Daryl Janmaat 37, Jason Puncheon 48, Rolando Aarons 73, Mike Williamson 88, Wilfried Zaha 90

Teams:

Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini, Massadio Haidara, Daryl Janmaat (Vurnon Anita 79), Mike Williamson, Remy Cabella, Jack Colback, Moussa Sissoko, Siem de Jong (Ayoze Perez 79), Yoan Gouffran (Rolando Aarons 67), Emmanuel Riviere

Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney, Martin Kelly, Adrian Mariappa, Joel Ward, Mile Jedinak, Yannick Bolasie (Glenn Murray 83), Jason Puncheon, Marouane Chamakh (Fraizer Campbell 52), Dwight Gayle (Wilfried Zaha 70)

Referee: Mike Jones, Attendance: 49,226

This encounter in late August was between two teams who hadn’t enjoyed positive starts to the 2014-2015 Premier League campaign. Newcastle United had failed to score in their first two matches, whilst Crystal Palace had started without a manager after Tony Pulis’ abrupt departure on the eve of the campaign and two successive defeats. However, they had appointed Neil Warnock on the eve of the game for his second spell at Selhurst Park. It would be a thrilling return.

The visitors made a wonderful start and Dwight Gayle scored the opening goal after just 29 seconds. He was in the right place to finish from close-range after Tim Krul had diverted Marouane Chamakh’s effort onto the post. This followed up a midweek hat-trick for Gayle in the League Cup win over Walsall.

Managed at the time by Alan Pardew, Newcastle knew they needed to end their goalscoring drought; otherwise the natives on Tyneside would get incredibly restless. Sure enough, they levelled eight minutes before the interval. Full-back Daryl Janmaat broke into the box and when his first attempt on-goal was blocked, he followed up swiftly to defeat Julian Speroni and level the scores. It was his first Newcastle goal since joining in the summer from Dutch side Feyenoord.

Only a couple of minutes had passed in the second half before Jason Puncheon restored Palace’s lead. Newcastle backed off Puncheon and it was a fatal error. His volley took a nick off Fabricio Coloccini which was enough to leave goalkeeper Krul stranded and beaten for the second time in the afternoon. It was a nice moment for Puncheon. Doubts had immediately surfaced about his future at the club after Warnock’s appointment. The pair had fallen out the previous season over a missed penalty at Tottenham when Warnock was a TV pundit. An unsavoury post on Twitter followed from the midfielder, earning him a £15,000 fine from the FA for his actions.

Pardew responded by bringing on 18-year-old Rolando Aarons and the Jamaican added some zest to the Newcastle attack. He scored his first senior goal in the 73rd minute, heading home in the penalty area after Scott Dann had failed to clear Remy Cabella’s corner. Aarons then had a big part to play in Newcastle taking the lead. His 88th minute shot hit the bar but fell perfectly for Mike Williamson to tap home his first Magpies’ goal.

However, just when it looked like the points would be staying in the north east, Palace rallied again. In the fifth minute of stoppage-time, Newcastle failed to clear their defensive lines and Wilfried Zaha bashed home an equaliser in his first game back at the club on-loan from Manchester United.

A point apiece was a fair result. Warnock would be sacked by December and he would be replaced by…Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. He took the Eagles’ to their highest league finish in the Premier League era of 10th.

Shock Results: Crystal Palace 3-0 Arsenal (April 2017)

Goalscorers: Andros Townsend 17, Yohan Cabaye 63, Luka Milivojevic 68 PEN

Teams:

Crystal Palace: Wayne Hennessey, Jeff Schlupp, Martin Kelly, Mamadou Sakho, Joel Ward, Yohan Cabaye (James McArthur 74), Luka Milivojevic (Mathieu Flamini 82), Jason Puncheon, Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha (Damien Delaney 88), Christian Benteke

Arsenal: Emiliano Martinez, Nacho Monreal, Gabriel, Shkodran Mustafi, Hector Bellerin, Mohamed Elneny (Aaron Ramsey 59), Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 69), Danny Welbeck (Olivier Giroud 60), Alexis Sanchez

Referee: Michael Oliver, Attendance: 25,648

Crystal Palace arrived into this match in good form, despite their tricky position in the Premier League. The Eagles’ had won three matches in a row for only the second time in the campaign and had beaten league leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge nine days earlier.

By contrast, Arsenal were in a rut and had surrendered meekly in defeat on their last away trip to West Bromwich Albion before the international break. However, their Premier League record against Palace was superb. Sam Allardyce’s side hadn’t beaten the Gunners’ in the top-flight since October 1994. Even with a vocal Selhurst Park on their side under the floodlights on a Monday night, the home side went into the match as underdogs. By the full-time whistle, they had taken advantage of a lifeless Arsenal performance and increased their chances of staying up.

Although Arsenal dominated possession, they created little and deservedly fell behind after 17 minutes. Wilfried Zaha crossed from the right-hand side and ex-Tottenham midfielder Andros Townsend was in the right place to drill the ball past Arsenal’s third-choice goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, only playing because of injuries to Petr Cech and David Ospina.

Wayne Hennessey had made 11 saves in the previous game against Chelsea. He didn’t have much to do in this game and only had stops to make to deny Alexis Sanchez and Mohamed Elneny. If the Arsenal supporters were expecting a strong reaction to being behind at the interval, they got a nasty shock in the second half.

Arsene Wenger’s team didn’t even get a shot on target after the restart. They were toothless, clueless and useless. The fans showed their frustration, with more ‘Wenger Out’ banners unfurled and chants of ‘You’re not fit enough to wear the shirt’ aimed at the players.

With their usually strong opposition in freefall, Palace made the most of this opportunity and the game was basically put beyond doubt when Yohan Cabaye doubled the lead in the 63rd minute.

Cabaye, a former Arsenal transfer target, deliciously clipped Zaha’s pass into the net to score his first goal at Selhurst Park since December 2015. Five minutes later, Martinez made a rash judgement, racing out of goal and tripping Townsend in the penalty area. There was no decision for Michael Oliver to make. Luka Milivojevic made no mistake from the spot to score his first goal for the club since signing from Olympiacos in January.

It was Arsenal’s fourth successive away defeat and it would cost them, as they missed out on a top-four finish in the Premier League by two points. Crystal Palace would survive but Allardyce stepped down at the end of the season and it is now Roy Hodgson who has to try to keep them out of danger.

Great Goals: Andy Carroll – WEST HAM UNITED vs. Crystal Palace (January 2017)

This London derby was an important one for both sides. West Ham were still trying to find their feet at the London Stadium whilst Sam Allardyce was returning to one of his former clubs. He was also trying to stamp his authority on his new side, Crystal Palace.

West Ham were 1-0 ahead going into the final quarter of the match. They launched a breakaway and Michail Antonio, who had been battling the flu all week, lifted a cross into the box. Slightly behind him for a trademark header, Andy Carroll decided to improvise – in spectacular fashion.

He produced an incredible scissor kick that almost burst the net. Crystal Palace goalie Wayne Hennessey barely saw it. It was a moment of majestic skill and a wonderful way to win a London derby. This is what Carroll is capable of. Unfortunately, injuries have often interrupted a career that promised so much from the Newcastle United days.

Premier League Rewind: 17th-19th December 2016

Results: Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea, Middlesbrough 3-0 Swansea City, Stoke City 2-2 Leicester City, Sunderland 1-0 Watford, West Ham United 1-0 Hull City, West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Manchester United, AFC Bournemouth 1-3 Southampton, Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Burnley, Everton 0-1 Liverpool FC

The final round of Premier League matches before Christmas 2016 saw 23 goals and the first managerial casualty of the season.

In a London derby, Chelsea and Crystal Palace got the weekend underway, with both sides in completely contrasting form. Palace had won just one match since the end of September, whilst Chelsea were chasing a 10th successive league victory. The league leaders were in impressive form and this was one of those matches where they weren’t quite at their fluid best but still did enough to collect all three points. Diego Costa headed home the only goal in the Blues’ 1-0 victory at Selhurst Park. The Spaniard later collected his fifth yellow card of the season, so would miss the Boxing Day encounter with AFC Bournemouth, as would N’Golo Kante. It was the final straw for the Eagles’ hierarchy and five days after this result, Alan Pardew was sacked and replaced by survival specialist, Sam Allardyce.

Chelsea’s closest challengers remained Liverpool FC. Jurgen Klopp’s team protected second spot in the table after they won 1-0 in the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park, which was the final fixture before Christmas. On a chilly Monday evening, the visitors’ struck late on through Sadio Mane to ensure the red side of Merseyside would hold the bragging rights over the festive period.

24 hours earlier, Manchester City made it back-to-back victories with a 2-1 success over Arsenal, who had now suffered successive defeats in the North West. Arsenal came flying out of the blocks and Theo Walcott put them ahead inside the first 10 minutes. However, Leroy Sane’s first Premier League goal and Raheem Sterling’s effort ensured the three points would stay in Manchester.

Tottenham were quietly going about their business. They beat Burnley 2-1 at White Hart Lane and Manchester United made it three wins in six days, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic the pivotal difference in their 2-0 victory at The Hawthorns over West Bromwich Albion.

At the wrong end of the table and West Ham United collected a second win in four days at the London Stadium but there was plenty of fortune about their 1-0 win over fellow relegation strugglers, Hull City. Hull hit the woodwork three times and the Hammers’ fans were so fed up with their team’s performance, they voted for the post as their Man of the Match on social media! Mark Noble’s penalty saw them take three lucky points.

Sunderland claimed a 1-0 triumph at home to inconsistent Watford. Patrick van Aanholt scored the solitary goal. It would be the Dutchman’s last in Sunderland colours. The full-back would move acrimoniously to Crystal Palace in the January transfer window. It would also turn out to be Sunderland’s last home victory in league football in 364 days, before a recent 1-0 win over Fulham in the SkyBet EFL Championship.

Elsewhere, Middlesbrough recorded their biggest win of the season, beating hapless Swansea City 3-0 and despite losing Jamie Vardy to a red card before half-time, defending champions Leicester City came back from two goals down to rescue a 2-2 draw away to Stoke City. Claudio Ranieri’s side though still hadn’t won away from the King Power Stadium in their title defence season.

What else happened in December 2016?

  • Aged 53, George Michael died on Christmas Day. One of the best-selling music artists of all-time, he had sold more than 115 million records worldwide.
  • Andy Murray wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year for the third time in four years.
  • The remains of Tim Peake’s spacecraft are bought by the UK with the intention of installing it at the Science Museum in London in 2017.
  • After 30 years with ITN, Mark Austin presents his final news bulletin with ITV. He will join Sky News as the main correspondent for the USA.
  • Among the recipients in the New Years’ Honours List are Ken Dodd who is knighted and actress Helen McCrory, who receives an OBE.
  • Gogglebox’s Scarlett Moffatt wins the ITV reality show, I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!”
  • Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, is assassinated in Ankara.