The 2014-15 Premier League campaign begins on Saturday 16th August but already the first managerial casualty has emerged. Tony Pulis has left Crystal Palace by ‘mutual consent’ after an apparent dispute with chairman Steve Parish concerning new recruits. Pulis had guided Palace to 11th position last season after inheriting a team which seemed destined to be relegated to the Championship and as such he was barely mentioned as a candidate to be the first Premier League manager to leave his post.
Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew were among the favourites to leave their positions in the coming weeks as they are considered unpopular among the home support and need a favourable start to the season to counter any suggestions that they may be dismissed.
In contrast, Crystal Palace had won nine Premier League matches during 2013 including beating Chelsea 1-0 at Selhurst Park and had overturned a 3-0 deficit to draw 3-3 with Liverpool in their final home match of the season. Pulis was considered a hero among the home support despite his alleged direct style of football and he could also claim that he had never been relegated as a manager.
However, it has been interesting to note that while several Premier Clubs have been quite busy in the transfer market this summer with a select few dominating the back pages, Palace have been relatively quiet with their transfer dealings. Fraizer Campbell and Brede Hangeland arrived in late July while Martin Kelly was signed from Liverpool just prior to the departure of Pulis.
It may be that Kelly was signed without the knowledge or approval of Pulis especially as Parish and ex-Cardiff City sporting director Iain Moody are in control of signing new recruits. Pulis appears to have been able to secure his desired personnel in the January transfer window when Scott Dann, Joe Ledley and Jason Puncheon among others arrived at Selhurst Park and were instrumental in helping to preserve the Premier League status of Crystal Palace.
After the efforts of last season, it seems logical to assume that the governing hierarchy at Palace would have been more than eager to retain the services of Pulis as manager especially as he has a proven pedigree at this level and can almost guarantee top flight football and the ensuing financial rewards for the foreseeable future.
Yet the world of Premier League football is a complicated business and there are always surprises around the corner. No doubt there will be candidates nominated to fill the role vacated by Pulis, but come December or January, when one or two clubs are facing the threat of relegation, the idea of recruiting the former Stoke City boss may appear to be a wise move.