Pardew: Fans didn't push me out
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew insists his turbulent relationship with Newcastle fans had no bearing on his move to Selhurst Park but said it was the right time - both for him and the Magpies - to leave the club.
Supporters on Tyneside called for Pardew to be sacked when the team sank into the bottom three earlier this season but six consecutive victories eased the pressure on the former West Ham boss.
An online petition aimed at removing Pardew gathered more than 2,000 signatures but Pardew insists the criticism played no part in his decision to join the Eagles.
"There's been a lot of talk (about the Newcastle fans) and some of it is completely off the mark," Pardew said.
"When you lose games, there's going to be criticism from the stands but never once did I sense that outside the ground.
"I had tremendous support in my time there and I want to thank all the Geordies for their help and also to (owner) Mike Ashley and everyone at the club who helped me grow as a manager.
"My resilience and character has grown because of the nature of the club."
Pardew's time in the north east was often overshadowed by matters off the field as the club's biggest talents were sold and the manager's influence on bringing in new players was restricted.
"It's a club that's run on fairly tight financial margins," Pardew said.
"We had to really work hard at transfers because the funds for a club that size makes it difficult with the fans - for them to understand you need to build slowly.
"For me personally and professionally I think it was the right time and I think it was the right time for Newcastle too if I'm honest."
Pardew added: "Four years under that type of monetary situation and the fact they're trying to push, and the history and everything else - it's difficult for the manager.
"I've left a good club, I've left it with a good base of young players and some fantastic professionals, who I'm going to miss."
Pardew denied he left Newcastle because Ashley had indicated he was going to sell the club, a theory put forward by former Magpies striker Alan Shearer this week.
"I have not heard that, that's just a rumour," Pardew said.
"Mike never suggested that, it was never in the format, it was a simple equation really.
"Crystal Palace wanted me as their manager, they met the clause in my contract.
"Newcastle told me that that had been met, and quite simply, I had a choice, whether to stay or go."
Palace, who sit 18th in the Barclays Premier League table, find themselves in a similar situation to when Tony Pulis took over last season.
Pulis inspired a remarkable turnaround at the club, leading the Eagles to an 11th-place finish, but Pardew insists safety is his only target.
"It's a tough challenge," Pardew said.
"We find ourselves in the bottom three with 18 games to go and home form hasn't been good. We need to try turn our home situation into a positive.
"In terms of the players, they need a lift. Hopefully my arrival, and maybe a signing or two, can do that and hopefully we can go on a run that gets us at least to safety.
"Realistically this year, although it was a terrific ending under Tony last year, one place above relegation will be enough for us to build again."