Whilst no-one was surprised to see the news that Crystal Palace sacked their manager Alan Pardew after a quite simply horrendous 2016, the timing of the actual decision was probably more surprising than the sacking itself.
Palace, to put it bluntly, have been awful this year. They are ranked amongst the worst teams for form in 2016 out of any side in the whole of England in any league. Even after a considerable outlay on Christian Benteke and Andros Townsend in the summer, their form has never really shown any signs of improving as the season has progressed and the board, in their own words, declared that the expansive, more attacking style which they decided to adopt at the beginning of this season has not worked and that the “dial needs to be wound back the other way” under new leadership. Does this show a lack of ambition by the Palace board, or are they just petrified of losing their Premier League status and the riches that come with that title?
The man they have chosen to “wind the dial back” appears to be Sam Allardyce. Seen at Palace’s training ground today, Allardyce, who boasts a 100% managerial record for the England national team, will be tasked with keeping Crystal Palace in the Premier League this season. Whether you like him or loathe him, he has a fantastic record at club level, with his work at Sunderland underlining just how perfect an appointment he is for Palace to get them out of the rut they find themselves in.
Of course, there will be the inevitible questions surrounding the morals of hiring a man who was sacked for going behind his employers backs and embarrassing the FA a few months ago, but the majority of Palace fans seem to be pleased with the appointment on Social Media. In my opinion, whilst he will keep them in the Premier League, I believe his name has been tarnished and it would be better to try someone different who are looking to make big steps in their career, such as Eddie Howe or Gary Rowatt, who was ludicrously sacked by Birmingham earlier this month. However, I can see why the Palace board have gone for Big Sam and I am very interested to see how he gets on.
Talk of a transfer budget and backroom staff have yet to be released, but it cannot be argued that Palace have enough to stay up this year. In Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend, they have a front 3 which will be perfectly suited to the style which Allardyce has become famous for throughout his career. Behind the front three is where the new boss will surely look to improve. Whilst Yohan Cabaye is a top class playmaker, a solid defensive midfielder or two will be one of the first names on the new manager’s shopping list.
The press conference is going to be very interesting. It doesn’t take a genius to guess what will be the main talking point.
Bring on the Christmas matches!