Who will replace Ian Holloway at Crystal Palace?

October 24, 2013 in Premier League by Lizzi Hollis

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Yesterday, Ian Holloway became the Premier League’s second managerial victim of the season, after Palace’s almost-disastrous start to their latest top flight campaign. The Eagles have had a less than predatory start to the season, straggling in 19th place with only three points and one win against bottom placed Sunderland. Ian Holloway might have breathed a sigh of relief when Adrian Mariappa put his team ahead against Fulham after seven minutes on Monday, but the lead was not to be kept and they ended up losing their fourth consecutive game 4-1. Holloway finally resigned yesterday ahead of his team’s game against Arsenal this Saturday, and Palace are determined to announce a replacement before then.  So, who will the lucky fellow be?


The bookies favourite
Tony Pulis


Pulis is the bookies’ favourite and a key choice to take over at Selhurst Park. Although he finally lost his battle with Stoke City at the end of last season, being replaced by Mark Hughes, he kept an average team in the Premier League year after year. One of the main issues that plagued Pulis at Stoke was his lack of ability to bring players into the squad who would really revive the style of play. For all the money Stoke have spent over the last few years, you’d really expect them to have achieved better league positions, but Pulis didn’t seem to be able to put together the right combinations. However, for the short term at least, this won’t be a problem; the Eagles invested heavily in their team over the summer, bringing in 15 new signings. Pulis is a close friend of Holloway, and although looked over for the Sunderland job, he certainly has the necessary experience that Palace are looking for in this role.

Second best
Neil Warnock

I dislike Warnock as a manager; he’s the type that when his team have a bad game, he blames everyone around him – the referee, the other teams manager, some offside or foul oversight. But they love him at Palace. He is a former manager who was forced out because of financial problems, rather than managerial incompetence. Although I don’t think he will be the man chosen for the job at Palace, I can see why he is being considered – I might not like his attitude, but he certainly has the kind of fire needed in fighting a relegation battle.

The outside bet
Roberto Di Matteo

Obviously, this is never going to happen, but it has been suggested that former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo could be the man to take over at Selhurst Park. He clearly has the credentials, and although he only has a short stint as a Premier League manager, he did take the Blues to Champions League victory when acting as caretaker in 2012. But this clearly makes him over-qualified for the job, and although this role would most certainly be a challenge for the Italian, I cannot help but assume Roberto will feel that taking on a struggling bottom three team would just be too much beneath him.

Never say ‘never again’?
Steve Coppell


They say you should never go back, that it will never be the same the second time around. While true for Winston Churchill’s post-war term in office, it worked out wonderfully when the Spice Girls decided to reunite. But what about a football manager going back to his former club for a whopping fifth time? The ex-Manchester United and England player first managed the team in the mid-1980’s, then went on to complete a further three stints throughout the 1990’s, before becoming manager of a number of Championship teams included Reading - who he led to promotion in 2006 (before getting relegated in 2008). However, after becoming Bristol City manager in 2010, he quit after four months and vowed to retire from management altogether. He has been Director of Football at Crawley Town ever since. Coppell has the experience that could keep Palace in the top flight and is used to working with teams who have been through a struggle, but he hasn’t been in management for over three years and my opinion is that Palace need to be moving forward, not going backwards.

So there you have it, four potential men who could replace Ian Holloway at Crystal Palace. I believe that Tony Pulis will be the man chosen, but there have been bigger shocks already this season. However, whoever is chosen to take on this Herculean job must have the balls to inject some life into a Palace team who have shown no real conviction in the top flight and who, in all likelihood, are going to battle with relegation the whole season. What Palace need most at the moment isn’t a hothead or someone to make light-hearted quips about their team’s performance; they need a leader who will accept that even if they find themselves back in the Championship next season, they went down with courage. Because I’ve seen none of that from the team so far.