2.15pm UPDATE (see below): So it’s to be Malky Mackay. Which it was always going to be from the moment Iain Moody was made “sporting director”, or whatever vacuous title he was given when appointed last year, and after Mackay fell foul of the strange goings on in Cardiff’s boardroom that ultimately consigned that club to relegation.
Crystal Palace were expected today to name Mackay, the former Celtic (not many matches), Norwich (not many more matches) and West Ham (a few matches) player and ex-Watford and Cardiff boss, as their successor to Tony Pulis, who left Selhurst Park in a bit of a rush last week. Mackay’s footballing CV is about as thin as… well, Jose Mourinho’s, but the Scot’s working relationship with Moody – who is “highly rated” by Palace co-chairman Steve Parish, by all accounts – has counted for much.
At the weekend another leading candidate, Tim Sherwood, flew into London for talks from Spain, where most out-of-work English football managers are to be found, apparently, but has heard nothing more since he returned to his sun-lounger.
Paper-thin newspaper speculation that Glenda Hoddle, the former England, Chelsea and Spurs boss with an odd penchant for faith-healers in the dressing room, turned out to be just that. Rather than being sounded out, Hoddle, in the the first month of a new job as Harry “The Bet” Redknapp’s assistant at Loftus Road, is said to have made the call to ask about the job. Wonder how that’ll go down at QPR?
And as for Martin Jol, well…
Mackay, if confirmed, will be the club’s fourth boss (if you include two brief stints as caretaker by steadfast Keith Millen) in 10 months. The one concern* might be that, despite being widely trailed as a done deal overnight, no formal press conference had been announced by the very efficient Selhurst Park comms team by lunchtime today.
A well-informed report in the Mirror today says that Mackay has agreed a three-year contract, but one lacking the generous staying-up bonus which eventually lured Pulis to south London last November. Obviously, that’s because the Scot is taking over an established mid-table Premiership club.
He and his preferred coaching team should be in charge in time for Saturday’s West Ham game, surely one of the crucial fixtures in the campaign. Arsenal away? A point at best in your wildest dreams. The Hammers at home? A six-pointer if ever there was, essential to keep Palace out of the mire while shovelling more discomfort on direct rivals.
And 42-year-old Mackay will have 10 days in which to spend the unused £25 million transfer fund that was burning a hole in Pulis’s tracksuit pockets. If Pulis, with the aid of Moody and Parish, was unable to sign his transfer targets from May to August, you have to wonder what sort of deals, and importantly what sort of players, might be attracted to Selhurst Park before the shutters go down on the transfer window.
Wilf Zaha appears to be a hot contender for the return to Palace which he craves, which as we reported last week is a decent barometer as to where some of the differences may have lain between Pulis and Parish.
The name of Connor Wickham as a new goal-getter has also been mentioned, which could be the ultimate twist. Pulis had wanted to sign the Sunderland striker since January, but was frustrated.
Mackay’s also seeking a central midfielder (Wigan’s James McArthur?) and a new left-back (Martin Olsson), though Palace might want to lure Chelsea’s unsettled England international, Ryan Bertrand, who despite out-playing Ashley Cole for much of last season at Stamford Bridge has now been loaned out to Southampton, apparently unwanted and unloved by The Special One.
And then there’s the immediate problem of who’ll replace the suspended Jason Puncheon on Saturday…
* Just after 2.15pm today, Palace’s press officer was in touch to state that, “On Thursday 21 August 2014 at 1.30pm, our caretaker manager, Keith Millen will be holding a press conference as a preview of Saturday’s Barclays Premier League match against West Ham United.”
Might there be a glitch in the negotiations with Mackay after all?
- Palace fans in shock as Pulis walks out on eve of season
- Zaha pleads for a return to Palace to help revive his career
- Play the Game football sessions, Thornton Heath
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Coming to Croydon
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 20
- David Lean Cinema: Stop The Pounding Heart, Aug 21
- Mythical Maze stories, Crystal Palace Maze, Aug 27
- David Lean Cinema: Frank, Aug 28
- Upper Norwood Library well-being groups, Aug 30
- David Lean Cinema: The Two Faces of January, Sep 4
- David Lean Cinema: Fading Giglolo, Sep 6
- Thornton Heath Festival, Sep 7
- Stop the Incinerator Quiz Night, Sep 8
- David Lean Cinema: Camille Claudel, Sep 11
- Warlingham rugby dinner with international Richard Hill, Sep 12
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- David Lean Cinema: Chef, Sep 18
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Sep 20
- Open House London weekend, Sep 20-21
- David Lean Cinema: A Night At The Cinema in 1914, Sep 22
- David Lean Cinema: Jimmy’s Hall, Sep 25
- Streatham Common 6M race, Sep 27
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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