Crystal Palace sacks manager Alan Pardew

Thursday December 22nd, 2016

LONDON (AP) — Crystal Palace fired manager Alan Pardew on Thursday after a miserable run of results in 2016, with the club lying one place above the relegation zone in the English Premier League.

In a short statement, Palace said the club asked Pardew to step down from his position and has thanked him for his services.

Pardew had been in charge at Palace, a club he also played for, since January 2015.

Palace is in 17th place in the 20-team league with nearly half the season gone. The club has the fewest points per game (0.72) in 2016 than any team in England's top four divisions.

"Personally, I have a lot of good feelings for this football club and am sad that my time there has ended," Pardew said in a separate statement. "I feel that I have a special bond with the club and hope that hasn't been affected."

British media reported that former England manager Sam Allardyce will hold talks with Palace regarding the vacancy. Allardyce was fired by England in September after just one match in charge, over unguarded comments to undercover reporters posing as businessmen.

Palace only won six league games in 2016, leaving Pardew's position increasingly fragile. It's the first big decision made by the club since American businessmen David Blitzer and Josh Harris joined the board in December last year.

Pardew may not have helped his case by saying after a recent win against Southampton that Blitzer and Harris "perhaps don't know a lot about football."

Pardew joined Palace after quitting Newcastle, where he made headlines because of his frequent flare-ups in the coaches' technical area—including head-butting an opposing player as they jostled for a ball at a throw-in. He is calmer on the touchline now.

Palace finished in a club-record 10th place in the Premier League in Pardew's first season in charge, then started last season well before a drastic dip in form saw it narrowly avoid relegation. A run to the FA Cup final, where Palace lost to Manchester United, spared Pardew from more scrutiny.

Palace broke its transfer record twice in the offseason to sign England winger Andros Townsend and then Belgium striker Christian Benteke. Scoring hasn't been a problem for the team nicknamed "The Eagles," who are the sixth-highest scorers in the league, but they have the third-worst defense.

Palace's next game is against Watford on Monday.

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