Woosie's Words: New season, new staff

Epsom Guardian: Fresh faces both on and off the pitch at Selhurst Park Fresh faces both on and off the pitch at Selhurst Park

With the new season, come new personnel.

Scottish coach Des Bulpin has been appointed as Crystal Palace U18s manager. This change is significant at both first team and academy level for the club.

Outgoing U18s manager Ben Garner will certainly be missed, having done a great job over the past few years alongside Gary Issott.

Held in high regard, the youth team players will no doubt regretfully accept the change.

However, before you get too worried that he has left the club, the good news is that Ben Garner has moved up to become a first team coach. Garner could be seen in the first team coaching team towards the latter part of last season, with other members of the youth development staff taking charge of the U18 side.

Clearly Ian Holloway has been impressed by the work of Garner whose coaching ability is very highly regarded within the club. Bulpin and Holloway have worked together previously, whilst Holloway was managing at Plymouth. Indeed, it was only because Palace’s opponents today, Stoke City, signed a coach from Plymouth that Bulpin returned to Holloway’s coaching set up.

The new U18s manager also has a talent for spotting a player, having given current Stoke striker Peter Crouch a chance at QPR when he was 17 following his release from Spurs, so if Crouch scores today, we know who to blame for giving him a chance in football!

A bizarre move to manage the Philippines National team ensued after leaving Plymouth, whilst the Scot also managed the Indian youth teams and Shillong Lajong in the Indian league.

With vast experience, there is no doubt that Bulpin will seek to employ new tactics and ideas for the youngsters at the club, and that can only be a good thing.

Whilst the tactics will remain similar, Bulpin will make his own mark on the side, and utilise his knowledge to help the development of the young players, whilst Ben Garner’s promotion should help the senior players as well as ensuring a smoother transition into the first team for any youngsters coming through.

An interesting change, which also suggests that the club are looking to increase the number of staff they employ, particularly at youth level. A move for category 1 status may beckon later this season.

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