Ahead of Crystal Palace’s top-flight clash with Leicester City on Saturday, Eagles’ boss Alan Pardew penned one of the oddest and bitterest set of programme notes you’re ever likely to see.
Spotted by Guardian journo Sachin Nakrani, Pardew’s pre-match words firstly had a passive-aggressive dig at Leicester’s incredible season, saying:
Unlike Leicester we have been unfortunate to lose key players for long periods.
Today’s opponents have been awarded 10 penalties this season, which is double the total of any other team.
Pardew then goes on to take a swipe as Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher, who defended Christian Benteke’s actions in winning Liverpool a late, match-winning penalty against Palace a few weeks ago. He said:
What annoyed me most were Jamie Carragher’s strong comments after the game stating that Christian Benteke was right to go down and win the penalty.
I couldn’t disagree more with those sentiments and it is a shame that so many former and current players share his opinion that diving is a valid tactic.
“Would Carragher have had the same opinion if Wilf (Wilfried Zaha) 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.
Here’s the full piece…
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
Not surprisingly, Carragher was quick to respond on Twitter…
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
Now Pardew is no stranger to aggressive (passive or not) behaviour towards both managers and players, and both he and Leicester boss Claudio Ranieir do have previous, with the Italian apparently refusing to shake his hand when the sides met at the King Power stadium earlier this season.
However, this latest bitch-fest implies that the Eagles’ boss is feeling the pressure, with his side, who lost 1-0 against the league leaders on Saturday, still without a win in 2016 and sliding towards the drop-zone.