Jan Kruger – The FA
I am feeling like a mountaineer, standing at the foot of Everest.
With the Premier League season less than a week away I am going though the whole gamut of emotions.
I can’t wait. I’m inspired, confident, excited and energised.
And, I have to admit, there is also a massive fear factor for me to get to grips with.
I am pretty sure that every other manager feels exactly the same.
Whether you are David Moyes at Manchester United or , we are all taking a step into the unknown.
What I do know is that you don’t get anywhere in this life if you aren’t brave enough to meet your biggest challenges head-on.
We did exactly that when I was manager of Blackpool three years ago.
And we failed to stay in the top flight by a single point.
What I didn’t realise was how much things have changed since the last time I was in the top flight.
The wages being asked when I was last in the top flight were mind-blowing.
Now they are just plain crazy.
It’s no longer .
It’s a meat market – with vultures that like to call themselves agents picking the game down to its bare bones.
I have lost count of the number of players we have been offeredsince we hit a £100million jackpot with our play-off win over Watford.Many agents seem to believe that money belongs to them by right. Some approach you, claiming to have a mandate to work on behalf of players and the clubs that are selling them.
In reality, most of the time, they have no agreement in place and are just chancing their arm.
Premier League football is nothing like the shiny, sanitised product that they portray in television ads.
The game has got more than its fair share of chancers, parasites and hangers-on just out to make a quick killing.
And the higher up the food chain you go, the greedier they seem to become.
Afew times, we have been offered players who we are interested in – onlyfor fees and wage demands to double or treble once negotiations begin. It has been very frustrating because we need to give ourselves a fighting chance and are still short of quality and numbers.
I’ve got to balance that by saying the Palace chairman Steve Parish has done a terrific job sifting through the charlatans.
Hehas not been afraid to ask people in the know for guidance and advice and he will not put the long-term future of the club at risk for short-term gains.
It’s so easy to get sucked into thinking that you are playing fantasy football. Itell you what, though, I wouldn’t swap places with anyone.
Weare just six days away from facing Tottenham in Palace’s first PremierLeague game for eight years and the club is absolutely buzzing.
Perhaps,but we shut the so-called experts up at the end of last season by winning promotion and we’d love to see the doubters choking on their words again next May.