Alan Pardew doesn’t know which cheeky blighter hung a pair of boxing gloves on the wall inside his office.
Yet he’s glad someone – my money is on John Carver for what it’s worth – attempted to lighten the mood as the Newcastle United manager himself attempted to get back to some sort of normality.
If there were any fears regarding the reaction he might get from his players, these were soon allayed.
There would have been some far from happy by what Pardew did.
However, footballers are by their nature selfish beings. There will have been far more important things in their own little world.
Pardew, to his credit, was full of contrition yesterday. He had little choice in all fairness. His mood would have been helped by getting back to work this week and preparing for the visit to Fulham tomorrow.
Plus the fact football people don’t try to take the moral high ground in such matters.
They prefer to take something else. Pardew said: “The players were funny because it was a typical training -ground reaction, a bit of gallows humour. They are quite pleased the gaffer has got it in a nice way, but not without concerns as well.
“A few of them told me they thought some of the press reaction was over the top. So it was a mixed feeling. I had a pair of boxing gloves in my changing room. I don’t know who is responsible for that and I’ve not even tried to find out.
“I will ask my new management consultant to get to the bottom of that. When all is said and done, though, it is not a laughing matter and I haven’t come in here to make jokes about it.
“You can’t get away from the fact that is how players cope with these things, we’d all go mad otherwise.”
It’s how Pardew copes with the next three games which will be interesting.
He will speak to the players at the team hotel in London tomorrow morning before they head to Craven Cottage – and that will be that.
There can be no mobile phones. No secret messages. He won’t be doing a Jose Mourinho and hiding in the laundry basket. He will from about 1pm onwards have as much effect on his team as the average punter.
Actually, those in west London will have more. At least they can get to cheer on the team. Pardew added: “The bottom line is I’m banned from the stadium so my input to the game can’t be what it was. That is the rule and that is what I am going to abide by.”
Asked whether he could speak to the team at half time by phone, Pardew admitted he didn’t know if that was allowed – but this wasn’t a path he would go down.
Pardew said: “I’m going to think about it between now and Saturday. The game plan will be delivered in the hotel and the guys and John know exactly what I except on that pitch for the game. Interfering from outside, watching it on the TV, I’m not sure that is the right thing to do.
“I’m genuinely telling you I’m not going to communicate anyway.
“I will deliver to them, I think, probably on Tuesday, my reflections on the game. So, you could almost say I’m adopting a technical director’s role in terms of I will have all the facts in front of me and I can say this is what I felt, this is what we didn’t get right in the game plan and this is what we take in to Crystal Palace.
“It will be no different for me in terms of what I delivered at Hull. The only problem I have is I’m not getting on the bus.
“I did think about going on the bus and having a hot dog outside but I don’t think that’s going to go down too well, so I will say goodbye at the hotel. I will watch the game with a video analyst. There will be two of us in a room watching.”
Pardew is trying to find some positives from this. He came close to losing his job. Many people, Alan Shearer included, believe that’s what should have happened.
So he will use this time to have a think about things.
He said: “Maybe it’s a period of redemption for myself. One thing I said after the game, even on reflection is an obvious one, is to sit down. Whether it is in the stand for the first half, which is something I might look at if, in the seven games, I can deal with that.
“I feel for the last period of the game I will be on the bench and it’s my time out on the technical area I need to manage better. As I say, I will look to bring out in myself a better manager because of this situation.”
It could work out in a way. There are some, not many, managers who sit in the stand for matches.
Pardew added: “I’m certainly going to know in seven games’ time. I’m not making light of the issue.
“I want to be in the stadium on Saturday. Fulham is close to my heart for a lot of reasons, but I’m not and I have to try and find a positive in it. That is how my brain works.”
So what has been the hardest part of all this? Pardew revealed: “I don’t know, other than it is difficult when you have an incident like that. You can’t turn the clock back, for example. You have to find a way to accept it.
“That has probably been the most difficult thing, accepting it, not shying away from it or burying my head in the sand.”