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Forget about Pulis, Crystal Palace should go for a continental manager
10:31am Thursday 24th October 2013 in Latest Sport
Tony Pulis in the Selhurst Park away dug-out with Stoke for last season's FA Cup tie. PICTURE BY EDMUND BOYDEN.
EAGLES columnist WILL TAYLOR believes the club’s owners should ignore bookies favourite Tony Pulis and appoint a foreign manager as Ian Holloway’s successor.
I HAVE never been Ian Holloway's biggest fan.
He was a manager I enjoyed appreciating from afar - the wise cracks, the bizarre metaphors and the all-out attacking philosophy which helped turn Blackpool into Brazil.
I greeted his arrival at the club with muted applause but I probably would have shunned whoever had come in to replace former-idol Dougie Freedman, such was the state of my broken heart and new-found disdain for the 'beautiful' game.
I believed there wasn't much to be found if you peeled away Holloway's comical curtain of theatrics, maybe a wafer-thin tactical playbook and a cassette of history’s most memorable motivational speeches.
Thankfully, Holloway proved me wrong when it mattered most - during the play-offs.
To overcome two clearly superior sides, first at the home of our fiercest rivals and then under the arc at Wembley, is a memory I will treasure forever.
Life in the Premier League was always going to be tough, but the manner in which we embarked on a new, exciting season - displaying an agonising lack of confidence and final third fragility – prompted immediate cause for concern.
Slowly but surely the fire in Holloway's eyes faded.
The charming smile was gone, replaced with a snarl every time he was forced to rebuff unfounded media speculation.
Monday's crushing 4-1 defeat at home to Fulham proved to be the final straw.
Holloway's brutal honesty confirmed rumours he had lost the dressing room and his team talks no longer had the desired, or indeed any, effect.
To use his words, he had “run out of energy”.
I am caught in two minds over his departure.
On the one hand change was desperately needed, but considering the options currently available, it's difficult not to pine for his return.
I am also relieved to see the club continued to conduct itself with dignity and integrity, organising an open press conference to make it clear this was not just another mindless swing of the axe.
Holloway can certainly leave with his head held high.
He may have achieved only a fraction of what he wanted, but it was more than anyone expected.
The new manager will be tasked with breathing life into a deflated squad currently plummeting towards relegation.
He will need experience, enthusiasm and the ability to command respect within a clearly divided dressing room.
I find myself asking whether such a mythical creature even exists?
The early bookies favourite is Tony Pulis - and for good reason as the cap-wearing crusader transformed Stoke into a resolute unit who were fuelled by a formidable group of supporters.
Chairman Steve Parish has already confirmed he wants to speak to Pulis, but whether he wants to listen remains to be seen.
On paper he is the perfect remedy to a team in defensive disarray, but at what price should we value points on the board over performances on the pitch?
I can't help but feel appointing Pulis on a long-term contract would jeopardise everything we value as a football club.
How many youth products burst through onto the scene under his guidance at Stoke?
We have a wonderful array of talent at a crucial stage of their development, which leaves me shuddering at the thought of Pulis locking them in the gym and throwing away the key.
Pulis was sacked not for results but for his unsightly brand of aeronautical football.
Our squad certainly isn't the tallest, or even the strongest, plus it contains the once permanently-benched Cameron Jerome.
There really isn't a lot for Pulis to work with.
We need to look for a happy medium, rather than simply panicking and seeking out the polar opposite of the outgoing manager, a mistake we arguably made in appointing Holloway in the wake of Freedman’s departure.
Both Parish and Holloway repeatedly spoke about striving to emulate the likes of Southampton and Swansea, and I for one hope this is still the plan.
Perhaps now is the perfect opportunity to cast their recruitment net into European waters.
Both the aforementioned Saints and Swans have been richly rewarded for appointing foreign coaches who favour high-tempo football within a ruthlessly effective counter-attacking mindset.
The club could go a step further and declare their Premier League ambition by appointing a Director of Football.
Parish even admitted he had considered bringing in somebody upstairs to assist Holloway but decided it would merely serve to undermine his position.
Why not bring in a young, hungry manager with a wise companion at the same time rather than risk unsettling one or the other further down the line?
As with any new sacking, I have seen many bizarre names popping up all over social media.
Avram Grant seems to have sprung up from nowhere, despite not having managed in nearly 18 months.
I dare not consider the prospect of Neil Warnock, with many supporters having already forgotten he jumped ship rather than walked the plank in one of our greatest hours of need.
Parish insisted he would appoint “the best man for the job”.
On Monday it was Holloway. Who knows who it'll be this time next week?
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