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Welcome, Paul Hart

March 3 2010

Paul Hart

Paul Hart

Never boring is it? Palace have another manager and he faces a massive problem, Jamesey reports.

Well, Neil Warnock has gone and it really makes no difference whether you think he did a great job under difficult circumstances or whether he is the ultimate Judas.

He is now manager of Queen's Park Rangers and one can certainly see why the decision to leave Selhurst was so tempting.

It was well known that he was a close friend of our former and unlamented (by this writer) chairman, Simon Jordan, and they both appeared to work in harmony as the club sank into a morass of debt.

Administration, of course, removed Mr Jordan from the picture and Neil was left with an uncertain future - an uphill fight against relegation which was no fault of his or the players, and the real possibility that he would not gel with any new owners of the club.

So at an age when most of us are at least thinking about retirement, Neil opted for the safe option - a job and a more secure future. He does still face a relegation battle and not through circumstances beyond anyone's control but because the team isn't very good.

At the Selhurst press conference (March 2), the administrator, Brendan Guilfoyle, introduced the new manager and his assistant, Dougie Freedman. (the third man, John Pemberton. was away on international duty).

Mr Guilfoyle admitted that he was an accountant with an interest in football but no expertise in the qualities needed to be a successful manager. (Does anyone really know the answers to that one?)

He said he had been advised by the Palace chief executive and other parties and the job had finally been offered to Paul Hart.

Looking at Paul's record, it is not exactly ablaze with glory. Without going into great detail, he does appear to have had some rather indifferent spells although his work with Academy players would seem to be a useful plus point for a Palace boss.

It is probably the fact that Freedman and Pemberton are the other members of the triumvirate which makes the package look more attractive from a Palace point of view.

We must always beware of attributing qualities which they don't have to much admired former players. Do the words "Taylor" and "Peter" have any resonance here?

But The Doog was a bit special and if he can emulate his playing skill and intelligence on the managerial front, we won't go far wrong.

John Pemberton is, of course, from an older era and many younger supporters won't have ever seen him on the field or even know who he is.

He will be mainly remembered for his big role in our Cup Final run in 1989/90. Anyone who was at Villa Park or in front of a TV screen for our FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool in 1990 will remember Pembo's incredible run down the wing to cross the ball that eventually led to Mark Bright's goal. It meant that the game was 1-1 and from there we staged one of the greatest comebacks in our history.

Anyhow, I mustn't get carried away and act on my own warning above. Great footballing exploits do not a good manager make.

To state the obvious, the success of Paul, Dougie and Pembo will be crucial to we supporters in the coming months. So welcome, fellers, and the best of luck.

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