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3 January 2015, 12:27 | Updated: 3 January 2015, 12:36
Newcastle have finally confirmed one of the worst secrets in football.
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is seeking a new head coach, with Alan Pardew swapping Tyneside for London and taking over at Crystal Palace.
Pardew was released from his Newcastle contract this morning and signed a three-and-a-half-year contract to return to the club he served for four years as a player.
His departure signals the end of an eventful era at St James' Park during which he took the club to fifth place in the Premier League and the quarter-finals of the Europa League, but also came in for concerted criticism from some fans.
In a statement released earlier by the club Pardew said: ``It's been a privilege to manage Newcastle United and I want to thank my captain, Fabricio Coloccini, and all the players, John Carver, Steve Stone, Andy Woodman and all the staff, all of whom have been outstanding servants to Newcastle United.
``A special thanks also goes to the fans for all their support over the last four years.
``I must also thank Mike Ashley and the board for their unwavering support during my tenure at the club.''
The list of those who could replace him is ever-changing, with Tony Pulis joining West Brom and Steve Bruce having ruled himself out.
Some of the contenders to replace Pardew in the St James' Park hot-seat include Pardew's faithful assistant John Carver, Christophe Galtier and Thomas Tuchel.