Newcastle manager John Carver has admitted not many managers would have stood firm in the face of the tide of criticism which threatened to engulf former Magpies boss, now at Crystal Palace, Alan Pardew during the final months of his reign at St James’ Park.
The 53-year-old ended a stay of more than four years on Tyneside last month, to the delight of his most vociferous detractors, when he decided to take up the offer of the job at Selhurst Park, the club with which he had made his name as a player.
His departure ended a torrid few months for the Londoner, who found himself the target of the Sack Pardew campaign, which saw disaffected fans launch a concerted broadside against him despite the continued backing of owner Mike Ashley.
He then left for the Eagles, but under his own steam and intriguingly, will welcome his former employers to Selhurst Park on Wednesday evening having guided Palace to five victories in six games since his move and desperate to prove a point by extending that run.
“It was tough, but how he dealt with it, I’m not sure there are many people out there who could have dealt with it like he did,” Pardew’s former assistant and now Newcastle head coach Carver said of the criticism, as quoted by BT Sport.
“How he dealt with it is invaluable to me, and I learned from it and it can only stand me in good stead in the future.”
“He taught me it’s important not to be around the training ground all the time, about spending a bit of time with your friends, trying to make time for a round of golf.”
“It’s about not believing everything you read in the newspapers, don’t listen to the radio, don’t watch the TV. Yes, watch football matches, but don’t get yourself tied up reading online blogs and things like that, which was something I did when I was at Toronto, and it does affect you psychologically. It’s valuable information.”
“I thought some of the treatment he received was harsh. I don’t have a problem with people protesting, as long as it’s done the right way. If it affects the team, then that’s the only thing I object to.”
“But I know for a fact if I was sitting in the stand paying good money and I wasn’t very happy, then I’d be saying something. Every manager is going to take some criticism.”
“Alan was no different, but he was honourable and he stood up to it.”
Carver owes Pardew a huge debt of gratitude for bringing him back to his home-town club, and is confident his former boss could one day manage England.
He said: “Alan can definitely be a future England manager because he has the temperament.”
“The England manager gets criticised by everyone! He only has two competitions he can win – the World Cup and Euros, and they’re only every two years. There would be big pressure on, but he could deal with it.”
Carver’s men will play Pardew’s Palace on Thursday in where there are three priceless English Premier League points to fight for at Selhurst Park, and while there will be friendly handshakes before and after the game, no quarter will be asked or given in between.
“I’ve spoken to him a few times since he got the job, and we exchange texts. Listen let’s not forget putting the football aside, we had a really good friendship. We’d often go out for a drink together and there’s a mutual respect for each other,” Carver said.
“Obviously, there’s a game to be played on Wednesday night, so all that goes out of the window. We’re both professionals. We both want to win. We’ll be competitive and toe-to-toe in the technical areas, don’t worry about that.”
“Afterwards, it’ll be one big cuddle.”