Sources close to the deal suggest that the former international centre half with the most Yorkshire of Irish accents could be named as the new Eagles boss on Tuesday.
Palace are bottom of the Premier League with just four points from 11 games, and they have been without a permanent manager since Ian Holloway quit following the demoralising 4-1 home defeat to Fulham last month.
Since then, as one of the jokesters on Five Year Plan fanzine has said, Palace have been turned down more often than the bed sheets at Downton Abbey.
After a flying visit to Russia last week, it had looked as if Palace co-chairman Steve Parish was set to announce Dan Petrescu as the new boss today. But no press conference was called, and it was suggested that Dinamo Moscow, the Romanian’s current employers, wanted to keep him at their club for at least another three games.
Palace’s need, as outlined by Inside Croydon last week, is increasingly urgent. They had wanted the new man in place a week ago, and they certainly want someone in charge before this weekend’s relegation six-pointer with Hull.
McCarthy, with his strong Millwall connections and a reputation for playing no-nonsense, Route 1 football, is unlikely to be a popular choice with Eagles fans. He is halfway through a two-year contract at Ipswich Town, currently mid-table in the Championship but where transfer funds are in even shorter supply than at Palace. McCarthy is known to own a house in Bromley and is said to be keen to return to south London.
Sources – and not the bloke with the Palace scarf and the Andy Johnson team shirt who drinks Stella in the Bull’s Head – suggest that the appointment is based on the recommendation of Alan Pardew, the current Newcastle manager, who was sounded out for the job at Selhurst Park last week.
Pardew, a member of the 1990 Palace FA Cup final side, turned down the chance to return to his old club, but gave a strong recommendation for McCarthy.
McCarthy had nearly seven years as manager of the Republic of Ireland between 1996 and 2002, most notable for the row with Roy Keane on the eve of that year’s World Cup which saw the former Manchester United captain sent home before a ball was kicked.
Some say that McCarthy would be a good choice as the new Palace manager, because he already has a resemblance to the club mascot…
McCarthy’s agent tonight said that there had been no approach – the niceties of clubs not going directly to players or managers without first seeking the permission of their current employers may be the reason for this.
At club level, McCarthy has had his fair share of managing clubs peering into the abyss of Premier League relegation, and he has not always been successful at keeping them up.
But after taking over at doomed Sunderland, he led them back with immediate promotion as Championship champions the following season. It may be, given the parlous position of the club today, that any managerial appointment is made with a view to performances next season.
Tonight, bookmakers had cut McCarthy’s odds to be the next Palace manager from 80/1 to 6/1… It is beginning to look like if it isn’t McCarthy, then Steve Coppell could be asked back, for a fifth time.
Coming to Croydon
- Library’s Dr Who day: Nov 23
- Much Ado About Nothing: Nov 25
- Sex in the Cronx, Nov 26-29
- Future Tech City: Nov 30
- Follow in the footsteps of Pirie: Dec 1
- Comedy in Music show: Dec 1
- The Lives of Stanley Halls community entertainment: Dec 4
- Steve Knightly at Stanley Halls: Feb 5
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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