Filed: Friday, 17th October 2003
By: Graeme Howlett
Hammers 'manager in waiting' Alan Pardew has spoken of his desire to restore past glories to West Ham United Football Club - whilst adding that he can't wait to start his new job.
42-year-old Pardew has spent the last month on an enforced sabbatical as a condition of the agreement signed between him and former employers Reading in September. However the former Crystal Palace midfielder - and part time glazier - revealed that his time on 'gardening leave' had been far from wasted.
Having taken in a dozen or so matches during the last month Pardew also claims to have been looking at possible signings from all over Europe - which should no doubt give him a head start when he takes over - officially - on Monday.
And it is a task that he appears to relish.
"I'm not claiming I was a West Ham fan, but I've always been aware of how important the club is to the people of East London," he said. "West Ham is a real working-class club - and proud of it.
"It was a real wrench leaving Reading, but I couldn't turn down the chance to go to West Ham."
In recent weeks much has been made of Pardew's impeccable managerial record which, on record, is second only to Manchester United's Alex Ferguson (who, of course, has had just a little more money to help him along the way).
It has been cited by West Ham's board as one of the reasons they made Pardew their priority target - and, unlike Glenn Roeder before him appears to have the support of the majority of supporters.
Going some way to explaining his managerial philosophy, Pardew said:
"People think winning trophies and promotion is simply about having the best team, but it isn't. It's about everyone pulling in the same direction.
"It's the thing we call team spirit. Things like that are important and that's why I've tried to educate myself in matters outside coaching.
"I had a classroom built for the players at Reading with a lot of good books and videos and information about fitness and diet. I wanted them to understand what we were trying to achieve. I'll explain the same things to the West Ham players.
"If they understand what you're trying to achieve and they've got a good spirit you've got a chance," he continued. "My job is to help create that, to build a positive atmosphere and have the knowledge on match day to change things quickly if they don't look right on the pitch. I want to give them a sound base from which to attack.
"I expect them all to attack, all to defend and all to shut down; I like a high-tempo game. I don't want too much possession if there's no purpose to it.
"But I always go for the win."
Positive stuff indeed - and something that should immediately endear Pardew to a Hammers crowd starved of such stuff in recent years.
Meanwhile, Pardew expects to make his first appearance at Upton Park on Saturday alongside Trevor Brooking in the dugout - and has promised to greet the crowd before the game.
"I will probably go on the pitch and say hello," he said. "Hopefully the fans won't boo me off!"
Once the Burnley game is out of the way Brooking will hand over the managerial reigns to Pardew - and West Ham's 10th manager will begin his campaign to continue the hugely successful - albeit temporary - run of results achieved by Brooking.
"I'm looking forward to that," says Pardew. "Being back where I belong with football people. Stepping back has been quite enjoyable but seven or eight
days ago I did start to miss the training ground. That's where I'm at my best.
" Presumably I'm free to take the job from midnight on Friday but I couldn't really do a coaching session at 2am on Saturday. I don't think the players
would have liked that ... but I'm looking forward to working with them. There's a lot of quality there."
Despite the inherent quality Pardew will be inheriting he accepts that the squad - as it stands - falls short of that required to take one of the two guaranteed promotion places come next May.
And he revealed that he won't be shy in approaching Chairman Terry Brown in times of need - something which his predecessor Glenn Roeder was accused of.
"I'm going to be knocking on the Chairman's door pressing him to buy or pleading with him not to sell," he said. As for the here and now?
"Trevor has already said that the squad needs strengthening. We're a bit short of power and pace."
That relationship with Brooking is clearly something that Pardew is keen to develop. Far from attempting to remove Brooking from the picture Pardew maintains that he will be seeking Brooking's advice wherever necessary.
"I'm going to do my utmost to keep him off the golf course so he can help me," he said. "I'm moving into an institution more than a football club and I will need his help.
"Trevor has done a great job; I hope I can do the same. He might think he should leave me alone - but I won't let him."
An opportune moment perhaps to wish Alan all the very best of luck ...
Underchuffed: Carlton Cole leaves West Ham [21st May 2013]
Decision on Cole and O'Neil due tomorrow [19th May 2013]
McDonald on... Newcastle Utd [5th May 2013]
West Ham Utd 0-0 Newcastle Utd [4th May 2013]
West Ham Utd v Newcastle Utd: live [4th May 2013]
Hammers aiming to heap further misery on Pardew [2nd May 2013]
Top ten on the cards [27th Apr 2013]
50 years of hurt [5th Apr 2013]
Carlton Cole set for foreign challenge? [28th Mar 2013]
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