Should Crystal Palace Fans Be Sceptical of Patrick Viera?

| July 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

Norwood knows Crystal Palace only too well. Being so close to Selhurst Park means that the majority of our football fraternity members are keen Eagles supporters. So, the news that Patrick Vieira has been announced as the club’s latest manager will inevitably grab the community’s attention.  

A fancy appointment such as Vieira, a former world-class player and World Cup winner, is all the rage these days, as evidenced by the likes of Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, and Steven Gerrard. But everything isn’t as it appears on the surface with this newbie. Palace fans are sceptical, and they have every right to be.  

Vieira Has a Lukewarm Managerial Record  

After joining Man City and leading their development squad, the stage looked set for the midfield maestro to take his pick of the clubs when their CEOs inevitably came calling. His progress in the MLS at New York City FC only cemented this opinion, with a move back to Nice in France appearing a match made in heaven.  

Sadly for Vieira and Nice supporters, it didn’t work out that way as the Frenchman was sacked in December 2020 after only six wins from 16 matches. Plus, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the MLS, with all due respect, isn’t the best league in the world. The bookies also seem to agree with the general cynicism, reflected by the fact that Crystal Palace is 2/1 in the football betting markets to be relegated this term. With the next manager set to inherit pretty much the same team that finished 14th under Roy Hodgson, the prospects aren’t looking so great.

Combine all the above factors and it’s pretty evident why confidence in Vieira’s abilities is minimal.  

He Wasn’t the Board’s First Choice  

Norwood may be close to Selhurst Park, yet most of us don’t have connections inside the club. So we can’t know this for sure, and it’s highly unlikely that the board will come out and admit it publicly, but Vieira wasn’t the board’s first choice. Regardless, it’s not hard to glean this particular insight by analysing Palace’s quest for a manager since the end of the season.  

At the beginning of June, for example, there were solid rumours that Nuno Espirito Santo would be named the new boss, only for the Eagles to be trumped by Spurs. Coaches also on the shortlist included Paulo Fonseca, Steve Cooper, and Frank Lampard. Palace winger, Andros Townsend, is quoted as saying that Lucien Favre was almost a done deal.  

By connecting the dots, you can easily tell that Vieira wasn’t the club’s number one target. Worse than that, he wasn’t in the top four or five candidates, yet he’ll be the man in charge come August 14th.   

Rival Clubs Are Recruiting Proven Quality  

In many ways, it’s easy to excuse missing out on Espirito Santo. Palace should have had him, but they were gazumped by a bigger club. The problem lies with the sides that the Eagles will need to compete with to take the next step.  

Everton FC is a prime example. Under Carlo Ancelotti, they finished tenth and have been struggling to break into the European places via the Premier League. Overall, Palace was 15 points off them based on last season’s positions. The gap isn’t insurmountable, yet it’s made tougher by the appointment of Rafael Benitez.  

The Spaniard is a proven manager at Premier League level, nearly winning it with Liverpool and stabilising Newcastle after years of volatile movement up and down the divisions. That’s why the Toffees are 25/1 to be relegated next May. Vieira may have what it takes, but someone of the stature of Benitez would have been welcome. So, why didn’t the board try and tempt him to London?  

It’s healthy scepticism because Crystal Palace’s fanbase only wants the best for the club. Whether Patrick Veira fits the bill will be decided in the next couple of years. 

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Category: Local News and Sport

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