Opinion

List Of Candidates For Palace Hotseat Grows Ever Longer

Crystal Palace’s almost bi-annual search for a new manager is underway following the shock resignation of Sam Allardyce last week.

The 62-year-old, who justified his departure as ‘personal reasons’, guided the Eagles to fourteenth in the Premier League having succeeded Alan Pardew three days before Christmas.

The former England manager is reportedly willing to retire from football management and his successful six month spell at Selhurst Park means he would quit the sport on a high.

Palace were just a place above the relegation zone when he arrived and although a short stint in the bottom three followed, a remarkable run which included victories against Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and, most importantly, Hull City propelled the club towards safety.

Once talk of Allardyce’s departure and, inseparably, its reasons were put aside, rumours of his successor began to escalate. The early consensus was that Palace fans preferred a foreign boss with a fresh sense of innovation, which fits the current trend in English football. Although Marco Silva’s seeming U-turn from being close to signing a deal with Palace to being announced as Watford’s new head coach within a matter of hours has left many Eagles fans wishing for anyone other than Garry Monk.

Monk, who recently resigned as Leeds United manager, remains the favourite to succeed Allardyce according to most betting companies. The former Swansea City boss adopted a free-flowing passing style while in charge of the South Wales club and his Leeds side challenged for automatic promotion last season before capitulating towards the end of the campaign, eventually finishing outside the play-off places.

However, Monk’s personality makes him stand out as a younger Pardew. The 38-year-old is often criticised for using lines akin to Pardew’s own press conferences which ultimately saw him lose the trust of Palace fans. Monk’s sacking as Swansea manager was undeserved after he finished eighth in his first full season but struggled in his second, despite attracting a couple of marquee signings such as Andre Ayew. It could be argued that his early success at Swansea could be down to him knowing the club well having spent ten years as a player at the Liberty Stadium and despite his good work at Leeds under difficult circumstances, it could be too early for Monk to take on a role with a new Premier League club.

Current Burnley manager Sean Dyche appears to be Palace fans’ favourite to succeed Allardyce. The former Watford manager has worked well with a limited budget at Turf Moor and guided the Clarets to top-flight safety last season – completing the double against Palace in the process. Burnley resemble the Palace side that played under Tony Pulis in 2014, primarily set up to defend with a deep 4-4-2 formation before swiftly breaking away on the counter-attack with Ashley Barnes, Sam Vokes and Andre Gray offering a goal threat.

However, Burnley’s away form was atrocious and their only victory away from Turf Moor was at Selhurst Park in April. Palace have often relied on impressive away results in recent campaigns while also struggling to arrest poor form in South London under the last three managers. A continuation of the inconsistency at Selhurst and the addition of Dyche’s struggles on the road could spell trouble for the Eagles.

Slavisa Jokanovic has been the catalyst for Fulham’s revival over the past eighteen months and is another reported candidate to be appointed at Palace. The 48-year-old was appointed at Fulham in December 2015 after winning promotion with Watford seven months prior, only to be sacked before his Hornets side had even kicked a ball in the top-flight. Jokanovic guided the Cottagers to safety in the second tier before a run to the play-offs in his first full season was unfortunately ended by Reading in a narrow 2-1 aggregate semi-final defeat.

The former Yugoslavia international has favoured youth in his brief tenure at Craven Cottage, most notably providing opportunities to 16-year-old wide-man Ryan Sessegnon and he could break a recent tradition of  Palace managers being reluctant to give the club’s homegrown players a chance should he be given the job. Midfielders Luke Dreher and Nya Kirby and winger-turned-full-back Aaron Bissaka have come close to breaking into the first team but have all failed to accumulate any senior minutes so far, with their best chance potentially being under the guidance of Jokanovic.

However, just like Monk and Dyche, Jokanovic’s potential appointment could be hindered. The Express reported early on Sunday morning that Palace would have to pay as much as £5 million to prize him away from his contract at Fulham. Steve Parish reportedly paid Newcastle United £2 million for Pardew in December 2014 and eventually paid a further £5 million to cover his compensation last December and could perhaps be unwilling to spend any more on managers in the near future with transfers and Financial Fair Play on the agenda.

Roberto Mancini has been linked with the Palace job following the last three managerial departures and Allardyce’s exit is no different. The former Manchester City manager has been without a club since leaving Inter Milan in August 2016. Mancini has never managed a club of Palace’s calibre and money has been available in vast quantity everywhere he has been, which would provide him with a new challenge should he be willing to return to the Premier League. However, any potential discussions between the Italian and Parish could be scuppered if the former Leicester City midfielder’s wage demands fail to appease the Palace chairman, who has been renowned for – often correctly – not throwing money at people.

From a former Leicester player to a former Leicester manager, Claudio Ranieri has expressed his desire to return to the Premier League after being sacked by the Foxes in February. The Italian famously guided Leicester to the top-flight title in 2016 which papered over several cracks in his managerial career. The 65-year-old has an unwanted record of frequent sackings and has failed to last longer than four years at a single club, making him nothing more than a short-term fix in a time when Palace are desperate for longevity.

An outside candidate to become Allardyce’s successor is Argentine Mauricio Pellegrino, not to be confused with neither Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino, nor former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini. The Argentine guided an unfancied Deportivo Alaves side to ninth in La Liga, ahead of Malaga and Valencia, and embarked on an extraordinary run to the Copa Del Rey final where they were beaten by Spanish giants Barcelona.

Pellegrino’s contract at Alaves ends this summer and MARCA reported that the 45-year-old has already made a decision about where he will manage next season, with Sevilla and Inter Milan likely destinations along with Palace who the Spanish news site also linked him with in a separate article. Pellegrino has experience in the Premier League having played for Liverpool in 2005 and he went on to become a coach at Anfield where he worked alongside current Palace assistant Sammy Lee, who Palace fans are desperate to keep at Selhurst.

Other potential managers include either David Wagner and Jaap Stam, who face each other in the Championship play-off final in charge of Huddersfield Town and Reading respectively. Both favour an outscore-the-opposition approach which failed to work for Pardew in his latter months in the Selhurst dugout and saw the Terriers and the Royals finish with low goal differences, with the former even dipping below zero. Meanwhile, managers who can stay well away from South London include Wilfried Zaha-hater Roy Hodgson, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Allardyce’s personal, yet slightly strange, suggestion of Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder.

Apart from the maiden appointment of George Burley in 2010 and the arrival of Neil Warnock four years later, Parish and the board have generally made sensible appointments. However, the latest search for a new manager is the most important in the seven years since the CPFC2010 consortium bought the club.

The Eagles have been lucky to survive relegation in the previous two seasons and must now aim towards a mid-table finish next season, particularly if key players such as Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke are to be persuaded to remain at the club for the long-term future.

 

 

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Sam Smith

Sam Smith

Sam is a Palace supporting student with an affection for football and writing. Football coach at Selsdon Little League.

1 Comment

  1. May 29, 2017 at 7:28 am — Reply

    Excellent article

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