Alan Pardew has further blurred the distinctions between himself and his namesake Alan Partridge with a fairly extraordinary set of programme notes ahead of Crystal Palace's clash with Leicester City this afternoon.
Shades of Steve Coogan's hilariously underachieving and irrationally bitter character echos throughout Pardew's programme notes. Pardew is extremely committed to not letting go of the penalty decision that went Liverpool's favour at Selhurst Park a fortnight ago. The residual bitterness is similar to Partridge's anguished claims for a second BBC series.
Behold them below:
This might be the angriest, most bitter manager comments in a matchday programme I've ever read: pic.twitter.com/FiR9CKFNZ5
— Sachin Nakrani (@SachinNakrani) March 19, 2016
There are a number of things to flag. The first of all is the heavily caveated praise of Leicester City. Most folk are finding it rather difficult to undermine the most bewilderingly brilliant storyline in the history of the Premier League, but Pardew has had a pretty good shot here. He does give Leicester "unbelievable credit", but then there is little surprise that they are flying so high, given that they have had much more luck with injuries and refereeing decisions than Palace.
Unlike Leicester we have been unfortunate to lose key players for long periods,while the fine margins that decide games in this league have also gone against us too often in recent months.
Today's opponents have been awarded 10 penalties this season, double that of any other team.
Pardew then uses that as the jumping off point for a diatribe about the awarding of that penalty to Christian Benteke. Most surprising about this is the fact that he is most annoyed most by Jamie Carragher's comments on Sky, showing a Partridge-esque obsession with what other people in the media are saying:
What annoyed me most were Jamie Carragher's strong comments after the game stating that Christian Benteke was right to go down to win the penalty.I couldn't disagree more with those sentiments and it is a shame so many former and current players share his opinion that diving is a valid tactic.
Would Carragher have had the same opinion if Wilf had gone down in the box in the 94th minute of a massive game at Anfield? I suspect not, but loyalties can blur opinions at times.
We would counter that Carragher was more influenced by the objective video proof that Benteke was fouled by Damien Delaney in the penalty area. Pardew then admits that they were given a soft penalty decision in the FA Cup against Reading, but this was him being an unfortunate victim of circumstance rather than a violation of his staunch principles:
Not for one second do I subscribe to the theory that any touch is enough to send anyone down in search of a penalty and my players would never be encouraged to do that.
A noble stance by Pardew, although perhaps he should have a word with Wilfred 'Wilf' Zaha, who said the following following Palace's most recent clash with Leicester, on October 25:
They put their legs out and I felt a touch so I went down.
The entire tone of Pardew's comments remind us of Partridge's bitter feud with the Norwich farmers:
We do like Pardew, really, and we hope Palace give him a second (full) season.
UPDATE: Carragher has responded with the confidence of a man with a successful television career:
Wow! Also what's the time of the game got to do with whether it's a penalty or not? No answer on the pen at reading! https://t.co/HrcGWuj5ZS
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) March 19, 2016