Crystal Palace have approached Roy Hodgson about making a surprise return to Selhurst Park until the end of the season after Patrick Vieira was sacked.
The former England manager, who is 75, is understood to be interested in taking over from Vieira. The Frenchman was informed he had been sacked in a 7am call from the chairman, Steve Parish, as he travelled to the club’s training ground on Friday.
Hodgson, who was replaced by Vieira in July 2021 after the former England manager’s departure at the end of the previous season, is seen by Parish as a reliable option to steer Palace away from relegation trouble. Vieira’s dismissal came after a run of 12 games without a win so far in 2023.
Hodgson is due to hold talks with Parish after Palace’s trip to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal on Sunday, but is expected to be entrusted with the role until the end of the season, when other candidates to fill the role on a long-term basis will be available.
It is understood that Paulo Fonseca, who is currently managing French side Lille and came close to being appointed Tottenham manager in 2021, is among those who could come into consideration.
Hodgson appeared to be set for retirement when he walked away from Palace 18 months ago, before returning to management at Watford last year. After failing to keep the Hornets up, Hodgson said: “I don’t think I shall be putting my name forward anymore for further stories in the world of Premier League football.”
More immediately, the former club captain Paddy McCarthy will lead the side against Arsenal on Sunday, with the under-21 coach assisted by Darren Powell and goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely.
It is understood the decision to part company with Vieira was taken on Thursday after talks between Parish and his fellow owners John Textor, Josh Harris and David Blitzer. Vieira’s assistants Osian Roberts, Kristian Wilson and Saïd Aïgoun were told they were departing by Palace’s sporting director, Dougie Freedman.
Parish is believed to have been deeply unimpressed for some time by performances under Vieira. The team have failed to score in any of their past four fixtures and lost to rivals Brighton for the first time in more than four years on Wednesday.
Other candidates reportedly on the club’s list to potentially replace Vieira long-term include the former Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, Burnley’s Vincent Kompany and Michael Carrick of Middlesbrough.
“It is with enormous regret that this difficult decision has been made,” Parish said in a statement posted just after 8am. “Ultimately, results in recent months have placed us in a precarious league position and we felt a change is necessary to give us the best chance of retaining Premier League status. Patrick’s impact since joining us in the summer of 2021 has been significant, and he is held in the highest regard by myself and all of his colleagues.”
Parish later said his decision was “just football” but added that he felt the squad was in need of “fresh impetus”. He told Sky Sports: “I think things just weren’t happening. So the mood was good, it was fine, but obviously we’re hoping that there’s a bit of fresh impetus, a few different ideas, maybe we surprise the opposition a little bit by doing something different.”
“The feeling is good,” Parish added. “You know, everybody loved Patrick, genuinely. The players had all the time in the world for him. You saw from the performances he never lost the players at all, they were all running and playing for him.
Vieira’s departure means there are no black managers in charge of a club in the top flight of men’s and women’s football in England. Last week statistics from the Black Footballers Partnership revealed that only 4.4% of management-related positions in English football are held by black employees.