ALAN PARDEW last night admitted he would hate to see Sunderland relegated at the end of this season.
A win for Newcastle United in tomorrow’s noon kick-off at St James’ Park could be a decisive blow to their old rivals’ hopes of staying in the Premier League, if they do eventually go down.
Pardew would love nothing more than to win this derby match, but in a perfect world that would not mean Sunderland falling into the Championship even for just one season.
Asked if wanted Sunderland to stay up, Pardew said: “Yes, 100 per cent. This fixture would be a big miss for the Premier League.”
Pardew believes Di Canio has what it takes to be a top-flight manager and predicted the Italian would do well on Wearside – which would be a good thing.
“I do expect him to be a success,” Pardew revealed. “I hope he is a success at Sunderland because North East football is important to me.
“As someone from the outside, I do not say that lightly. I have been here long enough to know how important football is to the communities of both cities.”
Pardew spoke yesterday about how this derby is “just a game of football” – although whether that message will get through to all is highly debatable.
However, the message that he hoped to get across is that if the managers – who are two of the more passionate and outspoken in the game – can get along then the fans should be able to keep their emotions in check.
Pardew will even have a bottle of red wine ready for his counterpart when they sit down with each other after a match Steven Taylor should start with Hatem Ben Arfa a substitute. The United
manager said: “Paolo might have to do with rioja because that’s my choice. I don’t know Paolo very well if I’m honest, but I admired him as a footballer and have always loved that type of player.
“Peter Grant, who was my assistant at West Ham, gave me a testament about what he was like on the training ground, how professional he was at Celtic, how long he would stay out while British players were missing.
“I think the only other player in that era like that was Eric Cantona. Sir Alex Ferguson talked about how he changed the mood of British players at that football club
“I think Paolo did that at Celtic and West Ham, and will take that into his managerial career.
“He has started his managerial career very well. Paolo will bring that enthusiasm to the Sunderland training ground. He hasn’t got much experience as a manager and he is learning all the time. He will have learned a lot in the last two weeks.
“But I think he is intelligent enough to put that in the right context. I’ve welcomed him to the area and I’ll shake his hand and look forward to meet him before the game and after, but during the game obviously I’ll be doing everything to try and win.”
Di Canio is the more inexperienced of the two managers and is still in the phase of trying to do everything himself.
Pardew was once like that, but revealed those days are behind them and they will be soon for Di Canio.
“All managers, when you first get your chance, want to make sure everything is right and you try to tick every box,” Pardew revealed.
“As a manager you suddenly realise as you get a bit older, you don’t have to tick every box. You need your staff to tick some of those boxes.
“But Paolo has good people there, such as Kevin Ball, and hopefully that will help him settle in.”