Should Crystal Palace still be found lording it over Newcastle come the season’s final whistle then the wryest of Alan Pardew smiles may just be picked up by satellite.
Unless you are a hardened Newcastle supporter, but moreover one to leap freely on the ‘Pardew Out’ bandwagon earlier in the campaign, it will be difficult to begrudge the former Magpies gaffer such a grin.
After four years fighting searing temperatures in the St.James Park hotseat, Pardew finally slipped out the fire exit as 2014 became 2015 and returned to one of his spiritual football homes south of the Thames instead.
However, despite escaping the Tyneside heat to take charge of Crystal Palace, the ex-Eagle was hardly jumping into a bed of roses at Selhurst Park.
Palace were firmly ensconced in a relegation battle, 18th in the table and a full ten points behind Newcastle, whom Pardew had steered into the safety of tenth despite a terrible start to the campaign.
How the men in black and white have suffered since, while under their FA Cup hero of yesteryear the Eagles have taken flight.
The two clubs are now going in opposite directions, with Palace up to 11th and hot on Stoke’s heels in 10th, separated by only three points.
Four Premier League wins in five have catapulted Pardew’s mob up the standings and all of a sudden bwin.com’s 5/2 offering about a first top-half finish in the Premier League era looks mint.
Pardew’s pacy Palace side have just added champions Manchester City to their list of victims too.
Backed up by one of the most passionate crowds in the division at Selhurst Park, home games still to come against West Brom, Hull, Manchester United and Swansea look like heaping plenty more points onto Pardew’s plate before the season concludes.
Conversely, his old club are willing the finishing post to arrive a heck of a lot sooner than it is due.
Knowing the club inside out was John Carver’s trump card, but following their fourth consecutive league defeat, which just so happened to be another derby loss to Sunderland, it looks as if his days as manager will be short.
Still nine points clear of the red zone in 13th, it’s difficult to see them dropping out of the top flight, but for Palace and Pardew it seems, as the 80s anthem goes, that the only way is up.