When Chris Hughton was surprisingly fired in early December six years ago, captain Kevin Nolan was not happy and neither were the players, who had worked hard with Chris to get the team promoted the season before.
Kevin had talked with the oncoming manager Alan Pardew to try to help sort things out at the time.
Alan Pardew seemed very keen to settle the Newcastle players down and of course it was not his fault that Chris was so unfairly fired by Derek Llambias, the Managing Director at the time.
Kevin Nolan and Alan Pardew at Newcastle
Newcastle saw out that season OK although we were short of strikers after we sold Andy Carroll to Liverpool for £35M on January 31st, 2011.
But Kevin didn’t stay around under Pardew and left for West Ham in June of 2011 after he couldn’t get Newcastle to give him a five year deal to stay on Tyneside.
So Kevin didn’t play a long time under Alan, but he seems to have been impressed with what he saw in those seven months under the now Crystal Palace manager.
Kevin has been speaking on talkSPORT on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show and he had this to say:
“They’re just lingering above that relegation zone now.” “Before that I think they’d won three and drew one, so he needs to get on that kind of run again.”
“Alan is a fantastic manager, what he did at Newcastle was brilliant you know, I saw that for myself.”
“His man-management skills are really good but technically, tactically, everything about him, he looks at everything.”
“He’s recruited really well but I think he’s had a few injuries here and there, Yohan Cabaye hasn’t been firing on all cylinders.”
“I don’t want to see him lose his job, Crystal Palace have got to stick with him… he’ll get it right.”
Alan did great in his first 18 months at Newcastle and in his first full season with Kevin gone and Yohan Cabaye in the side, we finished in 5th place.
Pardew was Manager of the Year, the first and only time a Newcastle manager has won the award.
But Alan then ran into difficulties mainly because our squad was too small and he labored for the remaining 30 months of his tenure, before he left at the end of 2014 when the fans turned against him.
One of the things about Alan is it’s either feast of famine and he goes on long successful runs but they are followed by (often long) poor runs.
When Alan joined Palace he saved them from relegation by putting together a number of wins in early 2015 but last season they finished 6th bottom on 42 points, just 5 points above us.
Crystal Place are on a bad run at the moment with four straight Premier League defeats and Palace are 5th bottom on 11 points – just one point above the drop zone.
And Alan is under the kind of pressure he had at Newcastle in those final two years.
To be fair to Alan he got little support from people like Chief Scout Graham Carr who seemed to bring in players he liked with little regard to the strengths and weaknesses of the Newcastle side.
We expect Pardew to be able to get Palace out of their current slump, but it’s something that seems to happen with the manger – he’s either on a good run or a bad run – and there seems little or nothing in between.
But a surprise is how much Kevin Nolan rated him as a manager in the seven short months they were at Newcastle together