Alan - Firm But Fair

Tony Gale welcomes the arrival of Alan Pardew as the 10th manager of West Ham - and says he is "firm but fair."

Reacting to the appointment of Alan on Thursday afternoon, Tony says:

"I quite often bump into Alan when he is working on the media and things and he is a real nice guy - but I don't mean that as in he is a soft touch.

"He has obviously proved himself as a good manager at Reading where he got his chance with Terry Bullivant who he was with at Barnet.

"He got the manager's position from there and has done a very good job.

"I would say he is firm but fair and the players I have spoken to seem to have a lot of respect for him; I don't think he is a ranter and raver, he is quite calm about it and a very enthusiastic young manager as you have to be these days.

"I also know Alan from playing against him in his Palace days, obviously, and quite a bit further than that he played for a team that a friend of mine managed, Billy Smith, called Corinthian Casuals - but he might be a bit embarrassed me remembering that...

"So he was a latecomer into professional football but he made good - he was a very hard working player and a fit lad with no little skill as well - players like that tend to get underestimated.

"I am not sure what age he was when he got into professional football, but it was late.

"I bumped into him again at West Ham when Alan was playing at Barnet where I was doing a bit of training and it was there that I saw at first hand that Alan wanted to get into coaching and managing and he was going to take his badges then.

"Good luck to him; he is a nice fellow and I wish him well in his new job - from the Corinthian Casuals to West Ham!"

Tony reckons it will be a time consuming task, though, and adds:

"I think Trevor has gone on record as saying it just takes up all your time, and this is what Alan always wanted to do, and now here he is at one of the biggest clubs around."

Tony is confident, if he does steer West Ham to promotion, that he can do a good job in the Premiership as well, and adds:

"When and if we go up of course he will know the Premiership but first things first, we have to get out of the first division and Alan knows the terrain of that as good as anyone I would say," he reckons.

"But if we do go up it then obviously it becomes a test of Alan in the transfer market because I don't think what we have got now necessarily would be good enough to stay up in the Premiership because we have had to sell a lot of our players.

"He had a very good record at Reading where he went from one division to another and stepped up a grade and he would have to show that same kind of acumen stepping up from the first to the Premiership.

"The answer will be 'I don't know until he gets there', but if you asked me on the spot, I think the answer would be 'yes, he can do it.'

"The good thing about it is he is going to have Trevor there who has got the lads' confidence up a bit with the good results he has had since he took over.

"He is not taking over a club that is in turmoil, shall we say, and now the object is to pull away from the other sides.

"Alan is taking over a team full of confidence, and I hope he really takes it on from there - as I am sure he will.

"Normally you take over a team that is in a bit of trouble; we were when we went down but now he is taking over a team that is top of the league and has to keep that going.

"Trevor obviously got them in a good frame of mind but from here Alan will want to put his own blueprint on the team as well and get them going in the style that he wants the to play."