Here starteth the lesson
It has been said by perhaps me and certainly others that we have the 'best' manager in the Championship. Of course this is very subjective. Why do some of us think that? Is it his manner and the way he projects himself? Is it the way he prepares his team and his tactical ability. Is it because he is brave and confident in his decision making. Is it his record in the transfer market and ability to not only spot a player but then incorporate him with 10 others? Is it his commitment to play decent football, even in this division of hackers? Is it his past accomplishments? Or is it potential?
Whatever it is, I like Alan Pardew as our manager and I cannot think of anyone else that I would realistically want. In fact there are times, and yes my memory is fading with the onset of middle age, that I much prefer him to Curbishley. I think my memories of Lennie Lawrence are still golden, even though I did once join in with the old "Lennie Lawrence has f*ucked it up again."
However I'd like to leave Lennie on his pedestal if that is alright?
So Pards is great isn't he? Well hang on he did sign Paddy McCarthy? And once or twice last season he was a bit negative in games, Man City away comes to mind, and should he have taken Semedo off Saturday and against QPR? Oh, and he did play for the Nigels.
To be honest it was difficult to think of many negatives in what will be 42 games in charge on Saturday.
I specifically like Pardew for his bravery in making decisions, a lot of which have handsomely paid off during games and his outstanding man-management skills. Another less-lauded quality is that of his relationship with the fans. This doesn't come easy at many clubs and normally only develops following success. However I believe he has worked really hard at this, and his ability to say the right thing and act in the right way has also rubbed off on the players, producing a connection rarely seen under the reign of Curbishley.
However sometimes confidence in one's own conviction and judgement can backfire. Not to the extent of Chris Coleman's tactical undoing of Iain Dowie last season, but a couple of times this season I think Pards has been thwarted.
Rather embarrassingly a certain Bryan Robson was one example this week and equally I thought the experienced Mick Harford picked him off in October at The Valley. Mind you Harford was rewarded with the boot shortly afterwards. Another perhaps was Nigel Adkins in our first game of the season but it has been rare and I hope it continues that way, nonetheless if we prefer cavalier to cautiousness, and I know I do, then it will no doubt happen again.
Saturday brings another new
manager to The Valley in Owen Coyle
. Another in the endless line of Scottish managers. Pardew admits that he doesn't know him but does know that he oversaw his new charges easily beat Aidy Boothroyd's league leaders on Tuesday night. Another test for Pardew then and his assistant Phil Parkinson but let us not underestimate how much of a test it will be for Owen Coyle and his new Burnley team.
I once remember sat at home 'watching' teletext and listening to LBC as Burnley gave us a football lesson at Turf Moor 7-1. If anyone is giving lessons tomorrow, let us hope it is Alan Pardew and his red and white army.