Why Crystal Palace should hire Bob Bradley as their new manager

Selhurst Park - Crystal Palace - 23/02/2014

With Crystal Palace currently struggling to find a successor to Tony Pulis, there are plenty of reasons why ex-USA head coach and now-Stabaek manager Bob Bradley would fit the bill.

Since Tony Pulis’s departure just two days before the start of the season, a whole host of candidates have been linked to the vacant managerial position at Crystal Palace.

However, having turned their attention away from initial favourite Malky Mackay, after the FA launched an investigation into his misconduct while at Cardiff City, it remains unclear who the new man will be.

Both Tim Sherwood and Glenn Hoddle have subsequently ruled themselves out of the running, while Steve Clarke and Neil Lennon have yet to be contacted about the role, despite their names being circulated in the media.

While those candidates are all British-based, one name from overseas who would fit the bill, and has already expressed his interest in managing in England, is former US national team boss Bob Bradley.

Bradley has been linked in the past with jobs in the English top-flight, including at Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa, but a club has yet to take the plunge in appointing the Premier League’s first-ever American manager.

Whether that’s because there is a hint of trepidation about opting for a man from across the Atlantic remains unclear, but there’s no doubt that the 56-year-old has all the qualities to succeed at Palace, or any other side outside of the top four for that matter.

After establishing himself as one of the top head coaches in MLS between spells at the Chicago Fire, the Metrostars and Chivas USA, Bradley was chosen as the man to succeed Bruce Arena with the national team in 2006, leading the side to top spot in the 2010 World Cup fourth qualifying stage, a first-ever group win during the 2010 World Cup group stages, three consecutive Gold Cup finals and the 2009 Confederations Cup final.

Sacked after the 2011 Gold Cup defeat to Mexico, the New Jersey-native then moved on to manage the Egyptian national team in September that year and, in the midst of political unrest, guided the Pharaohs to maximum points in their first six qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup, before defeat to Ghana in the third-round playoffs ended their hopes of making it to Brazil, as well as his tenure.

Now with newly-promoted Norwegian top-flight outfit Stabaek since January, the Princeton graduate has already got off to an impressive start, keeping the club well clear of the bottom of the table thus far, while also taking seven points from the top four teams in their last four games.

A smart, tactically-astute manager, who has shown that he can not only coach big egos but also get the best out of an average lineup, Bradley was never truly embraced by fans during his time at the helm of the US, mainly due to disinterest in his public image, but most look back now and appreciate the success he enjoyed.

He’s certainly never been a showman, and is not one to pander to the press, but his meticulous attention to detail and ability to adapt at short notice would make him an excellent fit for a club like Palace, where grinding out results with a conservative approach will likely be the mantra for this season at least.

Whether the Eagles would ever consider Bradley for the job is evidently far from clear but, given the club is growing increasingly desperate to bring in a new man before the close of the transfer window, he should be an option worth considering.

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