It has now nearly been three weeks since Ian Holloway left Crystal Palace, and this particular supporter is of the belief that a new manager now needs to be implemented pretty quickly. I fully trust CPFC 2010, they rescued Palace from the brink of extinction, and have proven in their three years at the helm that they have the very best interests of the club firmly within both their hearts, and their minds.
So, as far as I see it right now, the question is this. Go for broke, and pay over the odds for a manager who wouldn’t be committed to the long term – but at the possible risk of more financial pain for the club, if and when it all went wrong. Or, as co-Chairman Steve Parish has already discussed plans of a promotion push next season – plumping for perhaps a younger coach, with a long term goal, and somebody who would also be content to work under our new Sports Director, Iain Moody.
The early odds on favourite, Tony Pulis, has to all extents and purposes, distanced himself from the Palace vacancy. Perhaps, ironically, he was waiting for a call from the Welsh FA to replace another favourite for the Palace role – Chris Coleman – who was expected to leave his post as Wales Manager. As a proud Welshman, you couldn’t really blame Pulis if this was his motive. Or perhaps he felt that the Palace job was a lost cause, a blot on his CV that wasn’t worth the herculean effort he felt it would take to drag us out of the mire. And then there’s the salary question – Pulis allegedly wanted at least two million pounds per annum, plus a bonus, should we retain our Premier League status come next May. If this was the case, I don’t want Pulis anywhere near my club. In my opinion, the salary should not be the defining issue for any top level Manager, they earn enough through pay outs alone when they get fired (and fail) – so should a reduced salary really matter to Pulis?
There is then the age old debate about his “style” of football. I must admit, I never enjoy watching Stoke play – and can recall attending a Palace v Stoke match back in around 2008, where Stoke beat us at Selhurst Park by literally kicking lumps out of the Palace lads, and “hoof ball” was definitely the Pulis way that night. Personally, I don’t really want to watch Palace play in that style, so am more than happy for Pulis to “not be interested”.
Palace have then since been heavily linked with one of our “old boys”, the afore-mentioned Chris Coleman. At the time of writing though, he looks set to sign a new contract with the Welsh FA, which appears to be a relief to most Palace fans. I have covered this in another blog, but Coleman has never been looked upon as a “Prodigal son” type of ex-player, and his previous behaviour and sour departure from Palace as a player in 1995 obviously still holds a bad taste in the mouth for many of us.
On a more optimistic note, there has been a flurry of other “decent” options bandied about in the press over the last few days. With the arrival of the multi-lingual Moody, the main assumption has been that we will be appointing a younger, foreign coach, with a senior figure at the club (Moody) able to communicate with our foreign players. Moody’s arrival certainly points to either an attempted Malky Mackay reunion, or another manager in the Mackay mould. Which would suit us perfectly, and “long term plan” of probable relegation this year is all taken care of.
I am in favour of this idea, and for me, from a list of favourites that contain the likes of Burnley’s Sean Dyche, Karl Robinson of MK Dons, and Jose Mourinho’s ex-number two from Real Madrid, Aitor Karanka, the Karanka option looks the most likely. Being he is currently a free agent, and no compensation needed, himself or the very highly regarded Dutch Coach, Rene Meulensteen (again a free agent), and the former Assistant Manager of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, would, in my belief make both popular and sensible choices for CPFC 2010.
The mere fact that both Karanka and Muelensteen have experience of being at the very top is hugely attractive to me. With their contacts from their previous clubs, I am very sure that Palace could utilise this to its’ full extent, and we may even see some of their better younger players turn out in the red and blue in the future. Being that this would represent their first jobs in management too, neither appointment should “break the bank”, which has got to be a very good thing too.
Palace were unlucky not to win against Everton on Saturday, had some great chances, but also contrived to miss a couple of “sitters” too. But the self-belief looked there a bit more, and the players seemed to look like they could gel, which is something to feel very positive about. The future is definitely brighter, but I would hope that Palace can use this international break to get that new man in, and get his ideas across to the players as soon as possible – we have some “winnable” games to come – Hull City (away), Norwich City (away), Cardiff City (home), and West Ham United (home). Personally, I think these four games will shape our season, and if we can have the right man in, we have a good chance.