The names listed as potential replacements for Neil Warnock in the Crystal Palace hotseat went from the sublime to the ridiculous yesterday as the tabloids desperately grapple for readership by dismissing the truth in favour of sensationalism. Neil Warnocks sacking after only four months in charge is surprisingly the Premierships first managerial change of this year and whilst not unexpected, his role looked more secure than others like Sean Dyche at Burnley or Alan Irvine at West Bromwich Albion. Even good old Harry Redknapp must have been concerned when he was summoned to Malaysia just before Christmas for a face to face with QPR owner Tony Fernandes. But in the end it was Steve Parish who was first to swing the axe after Palace edged closer towards relegation. A change needed to be made by Parish, even Warnock would admit that but who would take on such a challenge? The last time Palace found themselves in such a pickle they turned to Tony Pulis who quickly gave the team the self belief it needed and eventually rescued them from despair. He even managed to destroy Liverpool’s hopes of its first Premiership title but that is another story. Pulis would stay beyond the summer months before spectacularly leaving just before the new season under a cloud of mystery, eventually replaced by the happy go lucky Warnock. Now the search is on once again and for a tabloid industry that has been starved of managerial drama so far this season, it was the exact catalyst it need to unleashed a beast so hideous that its beyond belief. Speculation has begun with some quite remarkable stabs in the dark being made by some papers to sell extra copies.
Former boss Pulis is an option being mentioned, a name linked to almost every opening in football as if he had now inherited the role of the messiah but a return to Palace and in particular Parish is very unlikely. In the eyes of the tabloids, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is a shoe in for the job given that he once played for the club. Granted it would seem to an outsider to be a silly move by Pardew to leave a club who could with a bit of luck be challenging for a European spot for a relegation dog fight but the tabloids are convinced its in the works. Their proof came when John Carver, Pardews assistant manager at Newcastle spoke to the media after their 3-2 win over Everton instead of Pardew himself. That was all the evidence that they needed to show that Pardew was packing his bags and about to make a sensational return to Selhurst. They even threw in a quote from the man himself who said that he would love to manage there one day. Of course given the recent departure of Warnock this quote looks to be further proof except for the fact that it was said by Pardew several years ago after he left West Ham and was looking for a job. On the same note if the Barnet (another club Pardew played for) job was up for grabs he would have probably said the same thing. Whilst he may be the dream choice for many a tabloid journalist, Palace parting with £6million to break his contract is likely to be a deterrent to this becoming a reality. Pardew will manage Palace in the future im sure but it will likely happen after he has been sacked by Newcastle and is once again proclaiming his affection for all his former clubs.
Another strange name on the tabloid list is Hull manager Steve Bruce. Having already been in the Selhurst Park hotseat before quitting for Birmingham of all places, something that still irks a section of the home support, why Bruce would return is unknown. Yes things in recent weeks have not been going quite to plan at Hull but the club is in a somewhat stronger position that Palace given the investments made over the summer. In fact Hull have suprised many by their squad transformation. Its only a matter of time before they strat to click and play better football. So why would Bruce leave now? Unfinished business at Selhurts? Not really. The third name touted is Victor Pereira, the former FC Porto manager who seems keen to move to the Premiership sooner rather than later. But with no pedigree in the UK nor a grasp of the speed of the game especially in the Premiership, his appointment would be risky. That is if he was ever interested or could tell a jounalist where exactly Crystal Palace was in the UK anyway. Palace would be better to look elsewhere than this speculative trio.
Old boys Tony Popovic or Dougie Freeman would be easier appointments than the three listed above. Or perhaps the tried and tested Chris Hughton or Steve Clarke could come in to save Palace. But none of these names sell papers or create sensational headlines. Palace fate lies in the hands of one man only, owner Steve Parish who will make the final decision on who replaces Warnock. Lets just hope he doesn’t read the tabloids.