Crystal Palace will name the club’s new manager tomorrow afternoon, with George Burley, the former Scotland national team boss, now rated as the leading contender.
CPFC2010, the consortium that has bought the club out of administration and also purchased the Selhurst Park ground earlier this month, is staging its first formal press conference at 3.30pm on Thursday, when the manager to take over from Paul Hart will be in attendance.
Burley, 54, has had spells managing at six clubs in England and Scotland, most successfully for eight years at Ipswich Town, where he’d spent most of his playing career as a tough-tackling midfielder under Bobby Robson’s management.
Since managing Ipswich, Burley has had spells in charge at Derby, Southampton and Hearts before a torrid 23 months with the Scotland national side.
It was being reported this afternoon that Burley had already been holding talks with Dougie Freedman, himself a candidate for the Selhurst Park manager’s job, over the Palace legend’s future with the club. It is suggested that Freedman may be asked to stay on as assistant to Burley, a role that the player filled under Paul Hart.
Burley’s personal agent is Athole Still, who also manages Sven-Goran Eriksson and whose offices are in Norwood.
The CPFC2010 consortium has been conducting interviews over the past two weeks, and appears to have eliminated a couple of leading candidates with strong Palace links.
Chris Coleman, the former Palace centre back, was last night confirmed as being in Pretoria on World Cup commentary duty. With another leading candidate for the post, Gareth Southgate, also in South Africa working for ITV, both would seem to be eliminated from the reckoning.
Last week, in an extraordinary piece of openness and frankness with the fans, Steve Parish, a leading figure in the CPFC2010 consortium, held a Q&A session for supporters on the Holmesdale website where he said it was “really pleasing to see how many people want the job”.
Perhaps significantly, Parish said, “We would rather have someone ‘right’, than someone ‘right now’, if that makes sense.”
If the owners do appoint Burley, they may be pleased to note a poll of Palace fans conducted by Inside Croydon over the past week.
Only one-third of fans wanted Southgate, who was sacked by Middlesbrough last season when the north-east club was still in a promotion slot in the Championship, while 26 per cent of respondents rejected all the candidates, opting for “none of the above”.
Coleman, after a disappointing spell in charge at Coventry, polled just 13 per cent.
In his Q&A, Parish said, “There is so much to do and we want to do as much of it as well as we can obviously, but its an interesting change from our other business as its so fast moving.
“It’s a steep learning curve, but we have some great people at the club, also all the ideas and suggestions are being taken on board and discussed, we will get round to looking at all of them and coming back to you on if we will make changes in each area, or not and if not why not.
“Priorities at the moment along with manager are getting season tickets out there, we have been looking at the pricing etc today. Clearly we want as many at Selhurst as possible.”
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