LONDON (REUTERS) - Alan Pardew has left Newcastle United to become manager of Premier League rivals Crystal Palace, the clubs confirmed on Saturday.
The 53-year-old has signed a three-and-a-half year contract at struggling Palace and replaces Neil Warnock, who was sacked last Saturday after just four months in charge.
His appointment was confirmed by Palace after Newcastle said they had released the manager from his eight-year contract after four years in charge.
Pardew, who played 128 times for Palace between 1991 and 1995, had been the second-longest serving manager in the Premier League at 10th-placed Newcastle but often endured a tempestuous relationship with the fans at St James' Park.
"Everyone knows my history here, what's important now is to move the club to the next level," Pardew said of Palace in a statement on the club's website (www.cpfc.co.uk).
"I believe with the backing of (chairman) Steve Parish and the board I can help achieve that and create some new exciting history for the club."
Pardew was in the stands for 18th-placed Palace's goal-less draw at Aston Villa on Thursday. The south London club's caretaker manager Keith Millen revealed that the new manager had already held staff meetings and attended training sessions ahead of the confirmation of his appointment.
Palace, without a win in eight league games, play non-league Dover Athletic in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.
Newcastle said their search for a new manager had begun and Pardew's former assistants John Carver and Steve Stone will take charge for the team's cup tie at Leicester City later on Saturday.
"During his time with us, Alan achieved two top-10 Premier League finishes, including a fifth-place finish in 2012, as well as taking us to the quarter-final of the Europa League," Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley said in a statement. "He goes with our best wishes and thanks."