Keith Millen will take charge of Crystal Palace at Queens Park Rangers tomorrow, following the sacking of manager Neil Warnock, announced just before midday today.
Steve Parish, the club’s co-owner, made the decision this morning, having seen the team disintegrate to a 3-1 home defeat to Southampton on Boxing Day, placing the club in the bottom three drop zone of the Premier League.
Tomorrow’s fixture against fellow relegation strugglers (QPR are two places and two points above Palace) was always going to be a key fixture, but it now takes on greater import after the departure of Warnock, the first managerial casualty in the Premier League this season.
The team’s performances had been deteriorating match-by-match, and Warnock, 66, seemed incapable of turning matters around. He summed up the side’s own short-comings in one of his post-match interviews on Friday when asked what his side was missing: “Clean sheets and goals”.
“Neil is a great guy and he wanted to do it at Palace,” Parish was quoted on Twitter this lunchtime. “It just hasn’t happened. It just wasn’t working.
“We need a result and we need a reaction at QPR. Let’s hope that’s what they give us.”
Warnock had begun his second spell in charge at Palace in extraordinary circumstances in August, after Tony Pulis – the Manager of the Year, no less – walked out on the eve of the new season in a dispute over the club’s transfer policy. Notably, Iain Moody, them the director of football, was soon to leave the club in controversial circumstances and Palace’s first selection as new manager, Malky Mackay, was dropped like a cold turd over a dispute involving their former club, Cardiff City.
Notably, Pulis has not yet taken another job, though even in the unreal world of Premier League football, it seems something of a stretch to imagine he will take over at Selhurst Park for a second time in 14 months to retrieve a dire situation. Clinton Morrison, the former Palace forward, interviewed on Sky Sports, called on Parish to bring Pulis back to the club.
Palace are seeking their sixth manager in less than three years – and these have been three relatively successful years, with a run into the Championship play-offs, promotion and one and a half seasons (so far) in the Premier League. Having taken over from a shellshocked Ian Holloway in November 2013, Pulis’s spell at Palace proved remarkably successful.
Under Warnock, the defeat against Southampton was Palace’s sixth game without a win.
In a statement published on the club website just after 10 to midday, Palace said, “Crystal Palace Football Club can today confirm that Neil Warnock has been relieved of his duties and is no longer first-team manager.
“The club would like to put on record its thanks to Neil for all his hard work and energy over the past four months.”
For all Warnock’s charm as an individual, reservations among the fans about his appointment – about his preferred style of football, his choice of players, and about whether he was too old-fashioned for the game in the Premier League – all quickly became to appear well-founded.
Parish said today that he has no one lined up as a replacement, but that with the January transfer window to open in four days’ time, getting someone in to take charge and re-energise a seemingly demoralised squad is a priority.
- For a backgrounder on why Tony Pulis may have felt he was being undermined at Palace when Iain Moody was “sport director” (a position where the word “sporting” was not intended ironically), click here for any article about the newspaper coverage which scuppered the Malky Mackay appointment and which may provide some insights
Coming to Croydon
- Christmas music and jam session, South Norwood, Dec 28
- David Lean Cinema, Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief, Dec 29
- David Lean Cinema, The Beat Beneath My Feet, Dec 30
- David Lean Cinema, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Jan 3
- David Lean Cinema, Mr Turner, Jan 8
- David Lean Cinema, Leviathan, Jan 13
- Norwood Society talk: Penge, the making of a suburb, Jan 15
- David Lean Cinema, The 78 Project Movie, Jan 15
- David Lean Cinema, Hannah Arendt, Jan 20
- David Lean Cinema, The Imitation Game, Jan 22
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
- David Lean Cinema, Night Will Fall, Jan 27 (Holocaust Memorial Day)
- David Lean Cinema, Kon-Tiki, Jan 29
- Norwood Society talk: Crystal Palace and Dulwich, Feb 19
- Norwood Society talk: Charlies Dickens in Norwood, Mar 19
- Norwood Society: Balloons and airships at Crystal Palace, Apr 16
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