Palmer not likely to return

2008-07-08 00:00

WHILE neither side was willing to go on record with a concrete confirmation, it appears that negotiations have broken down between Maritzburg United and Ian Palmer.

It now appears certain that the man who guided the Pietermaritzburg club back to the Premier Soccer League by winning the National First Division will not be United’s coach in the coming season.

Palmer yesterday, through his agent Ryan Hartslief, faxed a counter-proposal to United to reply to the offer made to him by club. It is believed that United verbally informed Hartslief that they will not be able to meet the proposal, and the two parties will not be able to agree terms.

United chairman Farouk Kadodia said that it is unfortunate that the club cannot reach the terms asked for by Palmer, which were apparently a return to the original proposal made by the coach when negotiations began on June 3.

“I am not hiding anything. I don’t want to be hit by the press the wrong way again,” said Kadodia, who has come in for flak from the press and the team’s fans for not being able to agree to terms with the popular coach.

Kadodia said he received a faxed counter-proposal on behalf of Palmer yesterday through Hartslief, which stated that the coach was asking for a package along the lines of “the original contract proposal dated July 3”.

“I don’t want to make any unnecessary statements unless I get any more flak. But I have to say that even Harstlief told me that he felt the offer I gave to Palmer was good and OK, and he felt Palmer should have taken it.

“I need to respond to the counter-proposal tomorrow [today] and I will.”

Kadodia denied that United have been trying to give Palmer the cold shoulder because the club is speaking to other coaches.

“Contrary to the speculation, I have not interviewed any other coaches. But I will have to tomorrow [today] because now time is running out.

“I will hope to have at least two appointments tomorrow, which is almost asking for a miracle, because it is not easy to line up two coaches to interview in just a day.

“While I haven’t interviewed any coaches, I have of course spoken to some just to know who is available, because I did not know for sure what was happening with Palmer.”

On Palmer, Kadodia said: “I respect him and never did him down anywhere. If Ian has something else up his sleeve, then I wish him all the best. Because there is no other reason I can think of for him to ask for something over the mark.”

Many people will be disappointed United have not been able to come to an agreement with Palmer. The coach was popular with the fans for guiding the team back to the PSL after the blow of relegation in 2006/07.

Most of all, he was highly respected as a disciplinarian, tactician and an approachable father figure by his players.

If United are to find a worthy replacement to Palmer, who showed himself to be one of South Africa’s brightest young coaching prospects in the past season in the NFD, then it will have to be a coach of the highest order.

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