Time for the next in our series of potential new managers. Here's Tom Wellman who wants Pompey's Michael Appleton as the new Eagles gaffer.
Since his arrival into full-time management, Michael Appleton’s burgeoning reputation and charisma has marked him out as the Championship’s wanted man amidst the managerial departures at Blackburn, Ipswich and Palace. His spell in charge of a troubled Portsmouth side has been shrouded in difficulty yet he remains one of the exciting, fledgling managers in the Football League.
He’s overseen a miserable year at Fratton Park but Appleton has endeared himself to fans and media alike largely thanks to his brutal honesty and consistent integrity shown in times of severe worry. Appleton has endured administration, a familiar feeling at Palace, and is now beginning to bring wins to a team devoid of any sort of budget.
The general consensus across the footballing oasis is that Appleton’s likeability is the chief contributing element to his high profile, rather than his tactical nous. Whilst possibly agreeable, the situation Appleton has been forced to endure has resulted in an entire overhaul of the squad which suffered relegation last season. Already this season Pompey has fielded 31 players; very few of whom played at all prior to joining in the summer. He has sifted through enough players to fill a rugby squad and recently guided Pompey to 4 wins in their last 6 games. Whether Appleton’s orders of a 4-4-2 formation are suitable for the game ahead, simply winning at all with the deck of cards at his disposal is impressive enough.
Appleton’s position at Portsmouth makes comparison challenging and therefore uneasy to judge whether he is capable of handling a stable side. However, Appleton accumulated 31 points in the Championship last season – the exact amount that Dougie managed here during the same time. Mind you, we did have to deal with a draining cup run as opposed to the serious issues of bankruptcy.
Simultaneously, Appleton has been left with no option but to implement raw youngsters into the side to field a full XI. Albeit his choice or not, Appleton has readily turned to youth this season, playing Adam Webster and Ashley Harris regularly despite their ages of just 17 & 18 respectively. Previously academy coach too at West Brom, Appleton has ample knowledge of the effectiveness a strong youth system can have on a team, which is why he would make a perfect candidate for Steve Parish to monitor.
Under his guidance, players such as Kyle de Silva, Kwesi Appiah and Reise Allasani could prosper as previous generations have done at Palace. You would feel that Appleton could slot straight into the system that has become an integral part of the current Palace squad. If our own youth isn’t enough then Appleton has a wealth of contacts ready to delve into. He’s worked under Roy Hodgson and Roberto di Matteo at West Brom, gaining valuable experience from two wise heads, both of whom can recommend astute signings or loanees.
Finally, Appleton is a fighter. A serious knee injury curtailed his career, increasing his desire to succeed in management. His defiance to Pompey’s woes earned respect from many and his likeability will soften the blow of being let down by the formerly-popular Dougie. Here at Palace, fighters have been revered and their values adored. Much maligned former bosses Dowie and Warnock were both of the ilk and enjoyed modest success at Selhurst.
Appleton has been a shrewd appointment for the Portsmouth faithful, who fondly think of him as their shining light. Often seen interacting closely with the Supporter’s Trust, it is thought that Appleton’s principles would be upheld at a club like Palace where the fans are enormously involved during matchdays.
He’s recently stated that he wants to continue to rebrand Portsmouth from the bottom upwards but if the past week has taught us anything it is that talk is cheap. Money matters and a consistent wage at a Championship club currently 4th in the league could sway his mind should Parish wave a contract under his nose.