Warnock Sacked - What Next?
Christmas came late for a majority of Crystal Palace fans today as Neil Warnock was relieved of his duties at Selhurst Park. Social networking sites and forums alike were awash with calls for his head last night as the loss to Southampton proved to be the straw that broke the camels back. Steve Parish "slept on it" and came to the same conclusion and ended Colin's second stint in charge of the club after a late morning meeting.
The appointment of Warnock was not a popular choice with many in the first place. It felt like a step backwards from Tony Pulis and it has proved to be the case in just four short months. I say "four short months" but it has certainly felt a lot longer than that having to watch us win just three times this season in the league.
It was clear from the very start that football had left Neil Warnock behind. He took no time at all to revert back to the same formation that we played under him in his first period in charge, moving away from the 4-4-1-1 that worked so well under Pulis. He even signed players that haven't played well since his last period in charge. Kevin Doyle? Really? Needless to say, neither worked out.
His entire four month tenure was littered with mistakes and delusional comments. My favourite was the post match comments after the 3-1 win against Liverpool. "That looked more like a Neil Warncok team"... er, no Neil. That was the first time that you played 4-4-1-1. It look entirely like a Tony Pulis performance.
"I'm just doing the best I can with what I've got" was one of my favourite from post match yesterday. The only difference between this last season and this season is Cameron Jerome and James McArthur. Well James McArthur has been our best player since he arrived and Cameron Jerome scored two goals in all of last season. Pulis took the same set of players to eleventh place in the league and now we are in 18th place. That shows the difference between the quality of Warnock and Pulis and how much of a step back Warnock was.
Now this is starting to sound like a bit of a Tony Pulis love in. Did he overachieve with the squad of players? Probably. Did he take a look at the squad this season and think that he couldn't do it all over again and left as a result? Maybe. However, to replace Pulis with Warnock is asking for trouble. It is a whole host of Premier League with very little Premier League experience. The strange thing is, solid Premier League experience was a prerequisite when he was employed. Zero relegations survived would suggest that Warnock did not possess the necessary experience.
We are now left with looking at the people making the decisions on who to employ. Notably Steve Parish. 'Never make the same mistake twice' is something I try and live by. It would appear that Parish does not care for this way of living. Every single transfer window is becoming a drama now. I do not want to hear again about how the window is proving difficult because of the change in manager. It's boring and self inflicted. Sure you probably employed Warnock and believed that he would see out the two year contract. Sadly I would not have shared this optimism and actually believe that the sacking has come six weeks too late. It was abundantly clear after the Sunderland game that he was sinking in at the deep end.
Based on what Parish has said this afternoon it would appear that we do not have a replacement lined up and we all know that 2010 are not speedy when it comes to employing new managers. Since the sacking of George Burley I would wager that we have spent more time looking for new managers than Warnock lasted in the job this time around. So now we will likely be dealing with yet another disrupted transfer window and they do not work out well for us. August 2013 was a joke as was August 2014. The only undisrupted transfer window since out return to the Premier League was in January 2014 and saw our most successful ever, bringing in the likes of Scott Dann and Joe Ledley. It's not rocket science that an undisrupted window leads to well thought out and achievable signings.
There is no doubt about it, we are in danger of going down this season and have been since Pulis walked out. However, we now have the chance to set this right. A lot of people were suggesting last night that it is all very well sacking Warnock but who is there to replace him? Many people suggested Tony Popovic and just as many shot the idea down. He may not be the man for the job but I know I could get behind that sort of appointment. A young and hungry manager that understands the Crystal Palace way and would not cost an arm and a leg. I would much rather see Pops come in than someone like Chris Hughton.
However, if there is no one unemployed that fits the bill, then go after someone who is in a job and splash the cash to get him. Not 'Terry Venebles splash the cash' but go after a man and get him this time. Show some ambitious intent. Going after a manager and spending more money than you would like is not like going after a player and spending a fortune. The manager is a key part of everything that goes on both on and off the field. However, the problem is, that might mean getting a man that wants more of a say than Parish would like. He want's a yes man. Pulis leaving and Warnock coming in showed that. Pulis was used to controlling it all at Stoke and Parish didn't like it which means that the appointment was never going to last. Warnock was just happy to be there and would always toe the party line. The only problem is Warnock's only weapon was motivation. When he loses that, as he did, he is always going to be in trouble.
Arguably the only managerial appointments that 2010 have got right is Dougie Freedman but that only came as a result of missing out on Eddie Howe. Tony Pulis was of course a successful appointment as he kept us up, but with hindsight it was only ever a short term appointment as Pulis' and Parish's differing mentalities meant that hit had no chance of working long term. If the season had gone on 2 more games under Holloway we would have missed out on the play offs so I cannot see that as a success, he merely just held on to what Freedman had built before him. Burley was just a disaster from the get go. What all of these appointments do mean is that they have had a lot of practice now. Is this the time to get it right or hand over the reigns to the Americans? Time will tell I guess.
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