ALAN Pardew has broken his silence on his departure from Newcastle United – and admitted it WAS time for a change at St James’s Park.
Pardew last weekend ended his four-year tenure at the club and joined Crystal Palace.
And the 53-year-old, speaking for the first time about the move, claimed that it was the right decision for him – and Newcastle.
Pardew also hinted at the issues behind the scenes that had pushed him towards the exit door, having previously insisted he would NOT break the eight-year contract he signed in September 2012.
At his first Press conference as Palace manager, Pardew – who had been keen for the club to sign a striker next month – talked about the “tight” finanances at United.
Asked why he left, Pardew said: “It’s difficult, because it’s a big club.
“It’s a club that’s run on fairly tight financial margins. Our net spend was one of the lowest.
“We’ve had to really work hard at transfers because the funds for a club that size makes it difficult sometimes, for the fans, to understand that you need to have a slow progress and build slowly, which we did during my four years there.
“I’m under no illusions, and I understand the football community having a slight concern with why that happened.
“For me, personally and professionally, it was the right time, and I think it’s the right time for Newcastle too. It was my decision.
“(Palace chairman) Steve Parish met the clause in my contract, and I therefore had a decision to make. I just thought it was the right decision for me, and I hope for Crystal Palace.”
Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley claimed last week that Pardew had improved the club during his time at St James’s Park.
For his part, Pardew feels he has left the club with a “good base of young players”.
“I think four years under that type of monetary situation, and the fact that they are trying to push, and the history, and everything else, it’s difficult for the manager,” said Pardew.
“I’ve left a good club. I’ve left it with, I like to think, a good base of young players, some fantastic professionals who I am going to miss, the staff and players have been phenomenal for me at that football club.
“We have actually punched above our weight at times.”
Pardew also thanked United’s fans for their support during his time no Tyneside, even though many had loudly called for him to be sacked.
Club owner Mike Ashley resisted calls for his dismissal last summer after a dismal few months on the field.
“Of course, when you lose games there is going to be criticism from the stands, but never once did I sense that outside of the ground,” said Pardew. “I had tremendous support in my time there, and I want to thank all Geordies for their help, and also for Mike and everyone at the club, who have helped me grow as a manager.
“You cannot help but grow as a manager there.
“My resilience and character has grown because of the nature of the club.”
Pardew was surprisingly appointed Newcastle manager shortly after being dismissed as manager of Southampton.
And the job offered Pardew the chance to rehabilitate his managerial reputation.
“I think at Newcastle I proved that I can handle a big club in difficult circumstances, and with a difficult agenda,” said Pardew.
“Sometimes you have to take a step that is best for you, personally and professionally, to bring the best out of you, and I think this will bring the best out of me.
“I’m a fighter and I fight for the team, I want to prove that I am a top manager in this division, and this is a chance for me to do that.
“It would have been easy for me, maybe, to stay at Newcastle and get a top-10 finish this season, or easier, but I decided to take this challenge.”
Asked about suggestions that Ashley is ready to sell United, Pardew added: “I have not heard that – that’s just a rumour.
“Mike never suggested that.”