Alan Pardew: “Managers absolutely neglect their health but prostate cancer shouldn’t be ignored”
Former Newcastle, West Ham and Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew is calling for everyone to get behind Non-League Day and show their support for Prostate Cancer UK – by wearing our badge with pride on the terraces.
The annual football initiative, scheduled during the international break, helps raise the profile of community football. And as the official charity partner, we have dozens of non-league clubs fundraising for us on the day with everything from raffles to sponsored walks.
Alan started his career as a part-time player with Whyteleafe and then Epsom & Ewell while working as a glazier, and he's revealed which team he'll be off to support on Saturday 7 October with his 'Man of Men' pin-badge emblazoned on his jacket.
"I'll probably go and watch Dulwich Hamlet, a proper team," says Alan, who played in midfield for the club a year before his big move to the professional ranks with Crystal Palace in 1987.
"Non-league football has always been close to my heart and is growing, which is great to see. I hope fans of professional clubs go and support their local non-league sides because it's all one big pyramid. We all feed into each other."
But Alan's support for Non-League Day goes beyond just football. He's also mindful of the three members of his family he knows have or have had prostate cancer.
"One was caught early and he's clear now," he says. "The second one had to have a little bit more treatment and found it difficult, and they're still suffering a little bit. And the third one, unfortunately, it's spread to other areas and is proving much more difficult. It's quite upsetting, really, for all the family."
You're so engrossed in your job that you start to ignore your health. But I don't think problems down there are a good thing to ignore, particularly for men over a certain age
He says our pin-bage being worn by so many top-flight managers – including England manager Gareth Southgate – has been brilliant in getting the message out there about the disease and knowing your risk. It's a message he thinks the wearers of the badge need to hear as much as the fans.
"Managers absolutely neglect their health," he admits. "You're so engrossed in your job that you kind of start to ignore it. And that happens, I think, in a lot of walks of life.
"You're totally busy and you think, 'Oh, I've got a slight problem there', and you put it off to the next day and start thinking about something else. But I don't think problems down there are a good thing to ignore, particularly for men over a certain age."
Since being sacked as manager of Crystal Palace last December, Alan has worked as a pundit on Sky Sports – but it sounds like the change of career is only temporary.
"It's different, I've enjoyed it," he says. "There's a similar kind of adrenaline on match days, which I like. But ultimately it's not a path that I think I'm going to stay on forever. I want to go back and be a football manager at some point."
Support your non-league club on Saturday 7 October and get your 'Man of Men' pin-badge to wear on the day: text BADGE to 70004 to donate £5*.