Alan Pardew could only sit and wait for the phone call. There was nothing more to do because the fate of ADO Den Haag’s season was debated and then fixed in a series of videoconferences involving the Dutch football authorities.
Friday, the ax fell in his favor. Den Haag was spared the ignominy of dropping the Eredivisie despite his safety drift as the league was declared null and void – ending without promotion or relegation and without champion.
There was no sense of celebration. “We’re not partying about it,” said Pardew as he reflected from his home in Surrey on an emotional fate in Holland that started with a victory in January and included a workout interrupted by furious fans.
Alan Pardew says he’s not “celebrating” the survival of ADO Den Haag in Eredivisie
“The decision was excellent for us and we must now react to it. It’s hard to say if I think it was good or bad. “
No athlete wanted to have a sports competition decided in a meeting room, he wanted to emphasize this, and he was also not sure that the Dutch solution could be considered a precedent for football in England.
“The television rights situation is much more problematic in the Premier League,” said Pardew, 58, director of seven different English clubs since his beginnings in Reading in 1999. “If you bring the same model, you will end up with d ‘huge court cases.
“There may still be some in the Netherlands because promotion is important and everything is relevant to wages.
“According to the managers, presidents and general managers I spoke with in the Premier League, it looks like they are determined to finish the season, subject to government approval. Some believe that it will be definitely over and that it is more important than starting next season, as the financial implications are probably too great to consider. They will go at the very last moment to try to recover it.
Dutch football season declared void Friday with ADO Den Haag seven points behind
One of Pardew’s training sessions in February was interrupted by angry supporters
Even though English football got the green light from the government to end the campaign behind closed doors, the Dutch have identified two key problems.
“One is the strategic medical side,” said Pardew. “Coming back to a time when coronavirus is still in society, what if someone catches it in a team structure? What if the whole team has to stay away for 14 days?
“And the other real problem that continued to surface in Holland was the significance of June 30.
“What happens to all players who have contracts ending June 30? Some may have movements already arranged. Will they put themselves in danger? Are they on the team? Or they may think they are not necessary.
“Are some players going to leave?” Are you going to renegotiate with some but not with others? Will the presidents say, “You don’t use it, so I won’t renegotiate with it”? Will players accept no funding for this period?
Hakim Ziyech is expected to join Chelsea from Ajax on July 1, and Pardew added: “There will have to be a decision for players like him as he can join the Chelsea group, but I guess he will not be registered for to play .
These are difficult questions for presidents, general managers, footballers and agents.
Pardew won his first charge match at ADO Den Haag before going seven without a win
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has declared that there will be no football until September
“Whether or not someone thinks that the Dutch league has made the right decision, I don’t think that is the case in the Premier League. “
Also in the Netherlands, there was no leader on the run with a strong claim to be champion since Liverpool are here, with 25 points ahead and nine games to play.
“It would be very difficult not to recognize Liverpool’s great performance,” said Pardew. “People say it would be fine in Manchester. I don’t think it would be, actually. Most football communities recognize that they deserve to be champions.
“It makes the Premier League a little more embarrassing. In Holland there were two teams at anchor level. Ajax led the goal difference, but the AZ had already beaten them twice, so was it really fair?
“I would have thought that the top of the league was at least part of the decision in Holland. “
In Belgium, the season ended with one regular season match remaining and the title awarded to Club Bruges without the usual play-off system, although this decision is yet to be ratified.
In Germany, Bundesliga clubs are working on a possible closed-door restart early next month.
In the Netherlands, the initiative was seized by the government when Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last week that there would be no football until September.
With AZ Alkmaar and Ajax separated by a goal difference at the top of the Eredivisie table, the governing body of the league has decided that the title will be vacated this season.
Pardew says approaching Eredivisie shouldn’t set precedent for Premier League
“We were on videoconference and kept our guys mentally and physically ready for the break-in,” said Pardew.
“Although we were a few points behind, we had a good streak. So we thought we could do it if we went back. But when the Prime Minister said what he had done, we knew we were missing it.
“Athletes never want to be in this position, whether you are a golfer, tennis player or footballer, because someone has to suffer.
“Unfortunately, this time, it was the two clubs from the below league who suffered mainly. “
Pardew has rejected reports in the Netherlands that he should be rewarded with a £ 100,000 bonus for Den Haag by avoiding relegation.
“I did not expect any bonuses and if there is one, I am sure it will be far from the number we are talking about,” he said.
“I certainly don’t intend to take it. If it has to be paid because of a contract, I will return it to the club and they can pay it to their employees during these difficult times, or pass it on to The Hague Health Service.
Pardew dismissed allegations that he received a bonus from ADO Den Haag for avoiding relegation
The next step for Pardew will be to discuss his own future with the Chinese owners of Den Haag. He and his assistant Chris Powell were appointed in December on the basis of short-term contracts which expire at the end of June.
“It’s a great club and when the opportunity arose I wanted to take advantage and try to get them out of the trouble,” said Pardew.
“I knew it would be difficult, they were really struggling.
“We enjoyed the city – it’s a beautiful city with a bohemian atmosphere and a liberal attitude towards life – and we appreciated the professional challenge and the learning experience.
“I have been a Premier League coach for many years and you become conservative when you are in this lower section. There is so much stress because it is so important and there is so much control.
“There aren’t that many in Holland. Even the bottom teams will play in the back and take risks, the full backs will end up like wingers. It’s very ambitious football and it’s a compliment for them.
The attackers are all very good technically and Dutch football is in good health. I was impressed with the youth structures and they have a very good generation to come, AZ competing with the Ajax academy.
“AZ captain Teun Koopmeiners, a left center back who can sit in midfield, is probably the best player from the Netherlands in the defensive zones. “
Teun Koopmeiners (L) is one of the best defensive players in the country, according to Pardew
There was artificial ground and Den Haag’s life without a training ground for Pardew to get used to. And a well-deserved victory in his first game, when his arrival was announced by a Ghostbusters banner, was followed by a streak of seven without a win before last month’s season suspension.
They were training at their stadium in February when the session was interrupted by a group of supporters asking for answers.
“They had a clipboard with all the devices written on it,” said Pardew. “It was, ‘Okay, where are you going to get the victories?
“It was never about tactics to play with two attackers or anything like that. It was quite threatening because you only need one word out of a player or fan’s turn and you are in a combustible situation.
Pardew and assistant Chris Powell (L) with discuss their future with the Chinese owners of the club
“I was not comfortable with that, and the club, unfortunately, had no security that day and it was something that we had to change. Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t expect this to happen in another workplace.
“There is a hard edge at the fan base, but that edge makes the club what it is. We talked to them and we were civilians. I wouldn’t say they went into ecstasy, but they left happy enough.
Whether he extends his stay in Den Haag will depend on these conversations with the owners.
“We will talk to them, but we need to hear that there is a little money to spend,” said Pardew. “The team needs help. Whether Chris and I stay will not depend on our personal financial situation, but on what is available to us to strengthen the club.
“If I’m going to work in the Netherlands, I would like to have a better chance of doing something in the league, because a place in the Europa League might be slightly easier to target than in England. “