How will Palace cope without Tony Pulis?
News has broken that Tony Pulis has left Crystal Palace apparently due to “relationships breaking down” and “lack of transfer activities”.
It was clear that Pulis wasn’t very happy in the hot seat at Selhurst Park in pre-season, but with only 48hrs before the big kick-off it came as a shock that the man that ‘steadied the ship’ at Palace has gone. Social media is rife with reports that Pulis wasn’t happy with the transfer fund and failure to capture his main targets, but are people forgetting the stature of this club?
Crystal Palace a typical ‘yoyo’ team normally struggling in the second division of English football before finally getting into the holy grail of the premier league, only to be relegated again, the fact Pulis guided them to an 11th place finish was nothing short of miraculous (raising their win percentage from 17% under Holloway to 42%) and whilst we’re talking miracles we could also mention his Christ-like work turning water into wine with players like Jedinak looking like a world beater, Bolasie turning out performances that wouldn’t look out of place in a top 4 team and even Chamakh looking like he could be a top-class forward unlike his days under Arsene Wenger. So we could agree that Pulis took a, mediocre at best, team and turned them into a club looking to break into the top half of the league.
However, that doesn’t stop the teams around them having more money to spend in the transfer window and some also having managers with strong links with big clubs, you only have to look at Mark Hughes at Stoke signing Bojan for a pittance or Steve Bruce using his Man Utd ties being recently linked with Danny Welbeck (although he has publicly stated he ‘doubts’ that deal will come off) it’s the calibre of players that palace can only dream of attracting, especially with Pulis at the helm. The signing of Frazer Cambell showed that they aren’t going to be able to compete with the other clubs around them when it comes to the front line, Southampton have just spent 12m on Shane Long, Stoke as mentioned have bought in Bojan and Diouf, Villa already have Benteke, QPR with Remy, Sunderland looking to close Borini, West ham have Carroll it leaves the rest of them, and in my eyes, the one’s who are going to struggle…. Swansea, West Brom, Leicester, Burnley and back to the topic at hand Crystal Palace, there’s a reason that the bookmakers are (in some cases) making them new favourites for the drop, and it’s those 1-0 wins that Pulis was so accustomed to grinding out that could easily turn around this season and send them into freefall down the league.
But let’s look at who could be the man to turn Palace’s fortunes around again, the man who is set to become the 3rd manager in 10months, well online polls suggest that the fans want David Moyes, but let’s be honest he isn’t going to go to Selhurst Park. Moyes has said that he wants a Champions League job, but with Martinez at Everton showing just how average Moyes is/was I think it would be a bad move for both parties especially with no transfer kitty, Chris Houghton? The yes man to any premier league chairmen, a man that has tried and failed in a relegation dog-fight and a massive backwards step in my opinion. Malky Mackay? More of a chance with this one I think, the Scotsman was looking very good with Cardiff and if Vincent Tan hadn’t had a funny 5 minutes and sacked him then I believe they would still be in the league. Mackay is a good coach that will get the players playing to the best of their ability. Tim Sherwood? Seems to be a fans manager, likes to talk alot and is pretty realistic when it comes to football, could use Palace as a step into bigger things. Neil Lennon? The man who has had the easiest job in football (I think a toddler could probably guide Celtic to Scottish league title) in the last few years has made no secret of his desire to manage in England and I think he could count himself lucky to be handed a respected club like Crystal Palace without proving himself in the championship first, my bet would be Lennon and Mackay, 50/50 but I think no matter who takes over, Crystal Palace are going to find themselves in or around the relegation zone for much of the season.
How do you think Crystal Palace will manage this season in the Premier League without Tony Pulis; the man who many see as responsible for keeping them up last year? Will they be involved in a relegation fight or will the new manager have similar success and guide them to a mid-table finish. Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on twitter @TBRFootball .