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Alan Pardew: WhatsApp groups have created 'toxic' dressing rooms

After his unhappy spell at the Hawthorns, the former West Brom manager has a left-field theory on football’s supposedly increasing volatility.

Alan Pardew (file pic).
Alan Pardew (file pic).

ALAN PARDEW HAS claimed that WhatsApp groups are partly responsible for “toxic” dressing rooms in modern football.

Pardew has been out of work since he was sacked by West Brom in April 2018, four months after he took over as manager. By the time he left, the Baggies had suffered eight consecutive Premier League defeats and were rock bottom of the table.

Pardew’s time at the Hawthorns was blighted by low morale in his squad, not least after ‘Taxigate’. During a trip to Barcelona, Jonny Evans, Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill were accused of stealing a taxi during a night out and were forced to apologise.

Speaking to Eamonn Holmes on the podcast ‘A Pint with Eamonn and the Gaffers‘, Pardew admitted that his spell at West Brom had not gone to plan. “My last job didn’t go very well, because I didn’t manage to achieve the turnaround that I had at other clubs,” he said.

Reflecting on how management has changed in the modern era, he said: “When I was a player, and you’re at the training ground, and you think the manager has picked on you… you’d finish training, you’d talk in the shower maybe to a fellow player [and say]: ‘I’m not sure about the gaffer there, what was he going on about that for? That was out of order’. Blah, blah, blah.

“[Then] you’d get in your car and you’d go home, and actually by the time you’d had a sleep and everything else [and] you’re back to the training ground, you’re over it. In football you’ve got to move on quickly, so you’re okay again.

“Now, when players are leaving the training ground, they’re not leaving the training ground, they’re WhatsApp-ing each other… the guy that’s really toxic is now being very toxic to the whole group and he’s bringing people in.

Suddenly, you arrive at the training ground and there’s a strange atmosphere… they’ve all made a different outcome to what you as a manager perceived would be the outcome.

“And it’s completely out of your control, of course. You can’t infiltrate it, you don’t want to infiltrate it really because then you’re asking for even more problems I would guess. The senior players and toxic players now have a bigger control over the dressing room.”

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