Alan Pardew set to commit to Palace after Eagles secure Premier League status
Alan Pardew will sign a new contract with Crystal Palace after the south London club secured their Barclays Premier League status following a 2-1 victory over Stoke.
Palace were as high as fifth at Christmas, but their league form has derailed in dramatic fashion since the turn of the year. Indeed their win on Saturday, inspired by a second-half brace from Dwight Gayle, was only their second in 20 matches.
Pardew has maintained that he will not sign a new contract until Palace's survival had been secured, but with their top-flight status now in tact, the former Newcastle and West Ham manager is ready to commit his future to the club.
Pardew said: "The contract was agreed some time ago but I know this football club and it was very important that our status was secured for me to warrant that contract in my opinion.
"Now it is, I will happily sign it.
"There has been no question of me not signing it unless we went down, then I would have to ask them if they wanted to do it if I am honest.
"So, there is no problem with my commitment to this football club."
Referring to the takeover of the club by NBA owner Josh Harris, which is reportedly set to be completed before the opening of the transfer window, Pardew added: "We have a great opportunity.
"I don't think in the history of this club we have had four years in the top division, and I am in a privileged position in that we have investment from America.
"Steve Parish is on the rudder steering us to hopefully becoming a bigger club, and the biggest in south London, and that is what we want to be."
Palace, who will face Manchester United in the FA Cup final later this month, fell behind after Charlie Adam struck with 26 minutes gone. But Gayle equalised for the hosts shortly after the restart before doubling his tally with a delightful set-piece midway through the second period.
"We were really struggling in the first half," Pardew said. "We didn't really have our focus, but in the second half we sorted it out and we were very good. That is the sort of display we are going to need to do at Wembley if we are going to win."
For Stoke, now winless in their last six league matches, manager Mark Hughes took aim at referee Kevin Friend.
"The referee gave them an easy free-kick, which seemed to be what he wanted to do today, to be perfectly honest," Hughes said. "I thought his performance was very poor - he is an experienced referee - and I thought from start to finish that was arguably the worst I've seen him referee a game.
"I felt he was reluctant to get clear decisions right and he has had a bad performance. I have had games where I have had bad performances and I would like to think he'd be honest and admit that he had one as well."