Millen’s in charge, as Palace’s search for a manager continues

Here we go again.

Moody and Mackay: not re-united at Palace

Moody and Mackay: not re-united at Palace

Crystal Palace fans who recall the month-long hokey-cokey managerial appointment “process” at Selhurst last November will have despaired yesterday afternoon, as it emerged that Malcolm “Malky” Mackay was not going to be appointed as the club’s new boss in a relatively smooth and efficient matter.

Matters are worse than that, though. Much worse.

A week ago, Steve Parish, the Palace co-chairman, was having a lengthy meeting with the Manager of the Year, Tony Pulis, about whether he could be allowed to run his own transfer policy. This morning, Parish must wondering whether the “high regard” he is supposed to have for his “sporting director” Iain Moody, a former Cardiff City employee, is well-founded.

It is reasonable to assume that when reviewing the separate job applications of first Moody and then Mackay, Parish will not have obtained any references from their previous employer, Vincent Tan.

Earlier this week, the FA handed down a seemingly insignificant £25,000 fine to the south London club, up-holding Cardiff’s complaint that Palace had obtained their opposition’s starting line-up ahead of their league match last April. That ruling took on far greater importance yesterday.

Vincent Tan, Cardiff’s owner – who dismissed first Moody and then Mackay in some acrimony last year – has now filed a dossier of complaints against Palace, including a legal claim for lost earnings as a consequence of his club’s relegation from the Premier League which could be worth £20 million (never mind the legal costs of contesting it).

Today’s Daily Mail reports many of the dossier’s more lurid claims, which centre on the conduct of Moody and Mackay while working together at Cardiff as “head of recruitment” and manager respectively. Central to the investigation is £50-million-worth of transfer business conducted last summer. The pair have been reported to the FA. Palace appear to have had sight of the Cardiff dossier just before they signed a three-year contract with Mackay to become their club manager.

Much is to be revealed over the coming days and months, but what we do know for certain now is:

  • caretaker manager Keith Millen is taking the session at the Beckenham training ground this morning, will front up today’s press conference ahead of Saturday’s home game against West Ham, and that he will be in charge for that fixture.
  • Tim Sherwood, the former Spurs manager, despite being so thoroughly discarded as second-choice to Moody’s mate, Mackay, earlier this week, remains the bookies’ favourite to get the job at Selhurst Park.
  • Glenn Hoddle says he doesn’t fancy the job much now.
  • There’s now only nine full working days before the close of the transfer window for a new manager to secure any signings.
  • That £25 million transfer fund? It might be needed for other things.

Parish has to start his search for a new manager all over again. Whoever gets the job will be Palace’s fourth manager inside 10 months. Parish may now be considering other senior appointments at Selhurst Park, too.

Questions over Palace’s appointment of Mackay, and Moody’s role in it, began to arise almost as soon as it was being presented as a done-deal, with some close to Cardiff flagging up the remaining issues between City and their former, and previously generally well-regarded, manager.

Centre of attention: Keith Millen continues to be in charge of Palace playing matters, including today's pre-match presser

Centre of attention: Keith Millen continues to be in charge of Palace playing matters, including today’s pre-match presser

Moody’s career in football began as a translator for the Italy team at Euro 96, and saw him work for a spell as a website football reporter before joining the south London management agency run by Athole Still.

Through the agency’s work with international opera stars, Moody’s fluent Italian would have been very useful, as it would in working with the various footballers on Still’s books, including Gianluca Vialli and the former Selhurst favourite, Attillio Lombardo.

In 2005, Moody moved to Watford to become the club’s press officer, which was where he first worked with Mackay.

After Mackay’s dismissal by Cardiff in December last year, the Scot started a £7.5 million legal claim against club owner Tan for compensation and wrongful dismissal. In May 2014, Mackay abandoned the action. “I did not want to be in litigation and believe that it is in the best interests of all parties to have a clean break and move on,” Mackay said at that time.

Mackay will have known by then that, in March this year, Cardiff’s lawyers had obtained a High Court search order to gain access to the Balham home of Moody. There they seized thousands of documents, phone and computer records as part of the investigation into eight transfers carried out by the club last summer, following their promotion to the Premier League.

Given that, the second part of Mackay’s statement six months ago when he dropped his own legal action against Tan takes on a different context: “The club’s owner Mr Vincent Tan invested heavily in the club and supported our decisions in our push for promotion to the Premier League. Without him this would not have been possible. If I have caused any offence to anyone during this time, especially to Vincent Tan, then I apologise without reservation.”

Keith Millen is 6/1 with Ladbrokes to be the next permanent manager of Crystal Palace.

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1 Response to Millen’s in charge, as Palace’s search for a manager continues

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