I have to admit, I didn’t see that one coming.
This will be Neil’s final, final, final job in football… until he’s offered another job at a club in the south west of course.
Jocular thoughts aside, I’m actually looking forward to seeing Palace under Neil Warnock once again and dare I say it, perhaps more so than I was when Tony Pulis was in charge.
There is no denying that Tony Pulis did a superb job as manager at Palace, and I am full of admiration for his managerial abilities but it just never seemed right to me that he was in charge.
There just didn’t seem to be the right pieces of the puzzle slotting together perfectly throughout.
It felt to me like the edges were perfect and the puzzle began to take shape… but the inside pieces were missing.
Warnock is quite evidently a short-term appointment once again from Palace, which is a little disappointing because I am one for a long-term project; but at the same time the appointment fills me with excitement and confidence.
The Yorkshireman has an incredible ability to captivate those he speaks to, and to garner the support of most people should he seek it.
A man who is loved when he is one of you, and hated when he is one of them, Warnock’s cunning is to be admired.
What does this mean for Palace on and off the pitch though? "The gaffer" may not have the rigid defensive tactics of Pulis, and with the return of Wilfried Zaha it seems he will look to the final third of the pitch to obtain the points required to keep Palace up.
Wilfried Zaha: Welcome back
Such a drastic alteration in tactical policy will take time to reap rewards, but hopefully those rewards will come.
A 95th minute equaliser at Newcastle from Zaha of all people ensured an almost fairytale reunion for former Palace boss and former Palace winger, in what felt like a victory.
It was a feel good result, with the transfer deadline approaching, Zaha set red and blue hearts a flutter again and after the dismal showing at home to West Ham, possibly just returned a feel good factor to the club.
Injury to Joe Ledley saw Stuart O’Keefe come in to the midfield slot against West Ham, before Joel Ward was shifted into the centre at Newcastle; but it proved that there is a distinct lack of strength in depth in the central area.
Barry Bannan may have impressed in the 3-1 defeat, but a defensive midfielder he is not, likewise Jonny Williams or the unfavoured Adlene Guedioura.
Barry Bannan: Not a defensive midfielder
If Palace are to survive then signing at least one more central midfielder with an ability to pass is a must.
When it comes to midfielders who can pass, Mile Jedinak is perhaps not so blessed in that department.
The Australian has been an integral part of the Eagles’ midfield since he joined the club, but his performances have been poor this season, and his lack of passing ability simply puts pressure on an unfamiliar defensive unit.
However, his doggedness, strength and experience are crucial to the success of the team, and with a good passer alongside him, Jedinak can be the fulcrum of the side.
Palace desperately need their midfield general to stand up and be counted for the rest of the season, but what better man to do that than Warnock?
I cannot help but gush for the media skills of a man who has vast experience in football management, and as such vast experience of knowing what to say, when to say it and how to say it.
That does not mean, however, that Warnock can do no wrong, and he still has a lot to do to ease the tensions that Palace fans will feel after Tony Pulis departed.
Excited? I certainly am now; despite ambivalence to the possibility of having Warnock return as manager prior to his appointment, the return of Zaha has left me dangerously optimistic.
My delirium will not last long, because this is Palace, and Palace don’t do things the easy way.