Two Championship sides met in the so-called ‘richest game in football’ on Monday. One coached by a fashionable Italian manager and one by a seasoned Englishman.
One of these managers got their tactics spot on and saw their side dominate the match and win promotion to the promised land and riches of the Premier League.
Who would have guessed beforehand that in a time when we are obsessed with more fashionable, foreign coaches that Ian Holloway would be the victorious coach?
And over a coach linked to a host of jobs at big clubs in recent years in Gianfranco Zola.
I don’t think I would have been the only neutral rooting for Palace either.
Holloway has worked wonders in his short stint so far at Selhurst Park without a lot of money to spend and is a popular character.
Add that to the fact they were up against a squad including a ridiculous 12 loan signings and I knew who I was rooting for.
In my opinion, Holloway is twice the manager Zola is at present. He tactically out-foxed the Italian in almost every area of the Wembley pitch on Monday.
Yes, they were helped on their way by the prodigal talents of Man Utd-bound Wilfried Zaha, but Palace’s team ethic and better game-plan saw them past their more fashionable opponents.
Their ball retention was a lot better and they managed to get their dangermen in Zaha and Owen Garvan on the ball.
Watford’s star men this year have been, not surprisingly, loan signings Nathan Chalobah from Chelsea and Matej Vydra from Udinese.
Holloway managed to nullify both of them so much that I almost forgot they were playing at times.
I don’t think anyone would doubt that Holloway and his side deserved to win the game, they had a lot of chances to kill the game off in 90 minutes but couldn’t find a way past Manuel Almunia.
The big question for me is, if a big job came up tomorrow, who would be more likely to be linked to it, Holloway or Zola?
You don’t need to answer that one, of course it would be Zola.
We seem obsessed with how much better foreign coaches are and a lot is made of the need for the English game to conform to the ‘modern’ way of thinking.
We desperately need more coaches passing their Uefa badges - as of last year we had one B License coach to every 812 players compared to Spain’s one to every 18 players - a staggering statistic.
We won’t be able to get good British managers into top jobs regularly until we see more of them getting the necessary qualifications.