5 Pieces Of Advice For......The Next Crystal Palace Manager
Who will be the next Crystal Palace manager? Chris Coleman? Tony Pulis? Whoever it is, today on the blog Ethan Dean Richards shares 5 pieces of advice.
Whoever gets tricked into being the next Crystal Palace manager has a job on their hands. The job will be being the Crystal Palace manager, if that wasn’t clear. But whether it’s Chris Coleman or Tony Pulis or any other anachronism associated with English football, they will have to attempt to reverse Palace’s current form: losing every week.
It won’t be easy. The reason they’re losing is that they aren’t very good and stopping them from being that doesn’t just happen, a lot has to change. Here, then, are 5 pieces of advice to the next Palace manager, precisely what to change and what to avoid when they take the job.
You’re welcome, sir, whoever you are.
#1 - Don’t sign players and then not include them in your squad
Ian Holloway is a nice guy, a useful manager with a good record in the Championship, and someone who can pull off being bald. What he isn’t, though, is a managerial genius. Proof of this came when he signed Florian Marange this summer. Traditionally, football players are signed to play for a football club – or at least with the possibility in mind – Holloway, however, flouted this convention with Marange: signing him, only to leave him out of his 25 man Premier League squad. Marange said simply: “I am disgusted.”
You want to be the good kind of maverick when you take on a new job. By all means expose the unfounded assumptions which have been holding the team back – as David Moyes has with Manchester United, where a winning culture had always been assumed to be a good thing – but don’t pull apart sensible ideas for the sake of it. When you sign a player, put him in your squad. If you don’t want to put a player in your squad, consider not signing him. If you’d quite like to have a player in your squad – you think – but aren’t quite sure about him, think about it first, for as long as you need, then decide to sign him if you really want him, or decide not to sign him if you don’t really want him.
#2 - Psych out your opponents
At the lower end of the table, signing players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale is apparently not possible. Quality football, therefore, is difficult to achieve, even on a good day. One solution to this is to attempt to bring everyone else down with you.
Mourinho’s been doing it for years. You don’t have the team to match Barcelona, so you make a lunge for a member of their coaching staff. You keep losing matches, so you accuse UEFA of a conspiracy against you. It’s textbook.
For the next Crystal Palace manager, the potential weapons of psychological warfare are clear for anyone to see. At Norwich, Chris Hughton is greying at the sides: call him ‘grandpa’ over and over again until he retires on the spot. At Hull, Steve Bruce is slightly overweight: spend your time on the touchline opposite him eating cake whilst shouting – ‘See me eating this cake? That’s you, that is’ – until he cries. At Sunderland, Lee Cattermole is always on the verge of a breakdown so any kind of provocation would be unnecessary. But you get the idea. Make everyone else rubbish.
#3 - Cheerleaders. Get more cheerleaders. And then more after that.
Another way to get your team to win, if they can’t be talented, is to get them to believe in themselves. At Arsenal, Mesut Ozil’s signing is seen as a catalyst for self-belief as much as it is seen as a useful injection of quality. At Crystal Palace, they have cheerleaders. Surely they’re capable of an equivalent, or even better job to Ozil, given that unlike Ozil they aren’t even asked to play on top of cheering everyone up: they are purely for cheer.
‘But it hasn’t worked so far, has it, Ethan?’ The answer to this is to get more cheerleaders. If one troupe hasn’t got Palace winning, the only logical extraction is that one wasn’t enough, they need two, maybe three, maybe four troupes.
Should this plan – for reasons that, as yet, cannot be determined – fail, the response should be quantitative: more cheerleaders. And after that? Simple. More cheerleaders. And after that? More cheerleaders. And after that? More cheerleaders. And after that? More cheerleaders. And after that? More cheerleaders. And after that? More cheerleaders. And so on. It would eventually either spark a win or coincide with one.
#4 - Cheerleaders.
#5 - If you can’t win, and you probably can’t, make it enjoyable.
There’s a very good chance that Crystal Palace won’t turn their season around, whoever’s in charge. It’s hard to win when you’re not very good, even with cheerleaders. Maybe the best advice to whoever replaces Ian Holloway, then, is to make the next few months a fun, life-affirming experience for all those involved.
Be self-deprecating. Smile when you can. Try and play attacking football, because losing whilst giving it a go is, ultimately, more satisfying than losing without throwing a few punches first. Be optimistic, because it’s only football, and relegation isn’t the end of the world.
Basically, be everything Ian Holloway was. In fact, the next Crystal Palace manager should just be Ian Holloway. He was good, wasn’t he? That’s the definitive piece of advice here: be Ian Holloway. Good luck with that.
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Follow Ethan on Twitter: @SurrealFootball