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04 Nov 2003
SYMONS STEPS IN AS EAGLES BOSS GOES

Kit Symons has been placed in temporary charge of team affairs at Crystal Palace following the sacking of manager Steve Kember on Monday afternoon.

Kember's reign at Selhurt Park helm came to an end following The Eagles' 5-0 defeat to Wigan on Saturday their eighth loss in the last 13 games which left the London club in 20th position in Division One.

Symons, who only joined Palace two years ago from Fulham, has been named caretaker manager and, according to the club's chairman Simon Jordan, may have an opportunity to make the position his own.

Jordan told the Press Association: "Kit Symons is taking over for a temporary period. He might want to put his name into the ring for the permanent position. It's important to keep the dressing-room together and maintain order at the club."

Kember was appointed manager in May after his fourth spell as caretaker following the sacking of Trevor Francis, and Palace made a fantastic start to the season under the 54-year-old, winning their first three league matches.

However, just one victory since then has seen the club plummet down the table and Saturday's heavy defeat at the JJB Stadium was the last straw for Jordan, who has also dismissed first team coach Terry Bullivant.

The chairman insisted in a statement that he was forced to act quickly in a bid to turn Palace's season around while there was still time to reach the play-offs, and placed the responsibility for the team's demise firmly at Kember's door.

He said: "The players have ultimately been responsible for their performance but the management team are responsible for the players.

"Despite the recent downturn in results there is still an inherent belief within the club that the season is far from over, and with that in mind I felt it was imperative I acted decisively to get our season back on track in line with our early-season form."

Kember began and ended his playing career with Crystal Palace and has coached at every level within the club. He became a hero of the Selhurst Park faithful as caretaker manager two years ago when he steered the club to two away victories in the final two matches of the season to preserve their First Division status.

Overlooked on three previous occasions, Kember was finally entrusted with the managerial reins this summer with the brief of taking the Eagles into the Premiership this season. Hampered by a limited transfer budget and enforced cuts to his squad, which robbed him of key players like Julian Gray and Hayden Mullins, Kember managed just seven wins out of 23 games in charge, the last one coming against Cardiff two months ago.

Jordan had public discussions with his manager after defeats at Norwich and Gillingham, and a Carling Cup win over Blackpool proved only a brief respite before the thrashing at Wigan as the Palace chairman wielded the axe once again.

Jordan has invested more than 10million into the club and expects a place in the Premiership as his return, but five managers in four seasons - Steve Coppell, Alan Smith, Steve Bruce, Trevor Francis, and Kember - have not brought the success he demands.

Jordan added: "My ambition to put the club back in the Premiership remains undiminished and I will be looking to appoint a manager capable of achieving that goal."

Steve Kember

T: 01283 576350 F: 01283 576351 E: lma@lmasecure.com League Managers Association 2014
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