Alan Pardew believes the trust Crystal Palace have given him this summer has vindicated his decision to leave Newcastle United.
The 54-year-old manager surprised many when he left the North East club, comfortably positioned in mid-table, to succeed Neil Warnock at Palace in January as they battled to remain in the Premier League.
He then unexpectedly led them to a 10th-placed finish while Newcastle were instead almost relegated but, although Pardew is already a far more popular figure at Selhurst Park than he ever was at Newcastle, it is the control the club have given him that he is most enjoying.
“I’ve been pretty frustrated (at Newcastle) in the last two or three years in the transfer market, so I’m pretty pleased this year,” said Pardew.
“I said to Steve Parish, the chairman, that it was an important year for us to make a statement. It’s all well and good having those conversations but you need the backing.
“This is the first time, and one of the reasons I came to this football club, I have full control with the chairman over transfers. I’m really pleased with the business we’ve done.
“The thing about a football manager is he has a philosophy and a way of playing. At Newcastle, at times, it was difficult for me to implement the transfers into my agenda because the agenda was different.
“Here the agenda is much easier for me. The chairman says I can buy to my philosophy, so we’re buying players like (Bakary) Sako and (Patrick) Bamford, Connor Wickham because I want us to go forward, I want us to be an exciting team.”
In addition to the arrivals of Sako, Bamford and Wickham, Pardew has also spent £10million on Yohan Cabaye, whom he worked with at Newcastle, and recruited goalkeeper Alex McCarthy from Queens Park Rangers.
The arrivals of each are significant by Palace’s standards, but Pardew believes the fact they beat several others to the signatures of Sako and Bamford, and broke the club’s transfer record with Cabaye, says most about their ambitions, particularly when that is something Newcastle are regularly said to lack.
I’ve been pretty frustrated (at Newcastle) in the last two or three years in the transfer market, so I’m pretty pleased this year.Alan Pardew
“Sako and Bamford, in particular, had lots of options,” he said. “One (Sako) was a free transfer so he had clubs queuing up; Bamford, of course, was a massive success at Middlesbrough and he had four or five Premiership clubs interested in him.
“What I hope to do with Bamford is harden him up. He’s had a bit of a soft run in my opinion, everything’s gone his way. Well it’s not going to go his way here, he’s going to have to fight to get into the team. I think that will be good for him.
“You can’t underestimate his talent, he’s a real talented striker and one we’re really hopeful for. They could have easily chosen other Premiership sides.
“Maybe the signing of Cabaye has impacted on those two transfers. They might not even be here without him and that’s the kind of statement that Cabaye is.”