Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kember Steps in at Troubled Palace

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kember Steps in at Troubled Palace

Article excerpt

Byline: LEO SPALL

STEVE BRUCE is officially still manager of Crystal Palace but is no longer controlling team affairs. His assistant Steve Kember and coach Terry Bullivant will lead the team for the game at Walsall tomorrow.

That is a summary of the confusing situation which surrounds the club following weeks of speculation about Bruce's future.

Today, chairman Simon Jordan confirmed to Standard Sport that he has refused Birmingham permission to approach Bruce about their managerial vacancy.

The fact remains, however, that Bruce is poised to walk out after just five months at Palace and Jordan is furious.

Bruce's reported attempt to take both Bullivant and Kember with him to Birmingham can only have made matters worse.

Bruce was not at Palace's Beckenham training ground today and the players were put through their paces by coaching staff but he has not quit the club yet.

Jordan, who explained the situation to his squad this afternoon, said: "Unless something extraordinary happens, Bruce will not be appointed as Birmingham manager today.

"I have not given him permission to talk to Birmingham or the club permission to talk to him.

"Kember and Bullivant will be in charge of the team at Walsall and when that game is over those people with an agenda will have to resolve it.

"I see this as a challenge. If there is a problem and it results in us losing our manager I am confident we will overcome it.

"The club has been built on very solid foundations with good players and facilities.

We are in the top three in Division One for several reasons and only one of them is Steve Bruce. Bullivant and Kember have also been important and so have the set of very good players we have.

"If Bruce leaves, then he leaves. There is no panic because we are in a good position."

Jordan's stance will give him a strong hand in terms of compensation when, as seems inevitable, Bruce leaves.

The manager is thought to have a long notice period and Palace may try to hold him to it unless their terms are met.

The Palace squad's last contact with Bruce was after their 1-0 defeat at home against West Brom on Wednesday night. …

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