Crystal Palace have replaced a manager who became a manager in 1976 with one who was born in 1976. If it was inevitable that Roy Hodgson's successor would be younger than him - after all, 19 of his predecessors were - then Patrick Vieira made for an intriguing choice.
Selhurst Park has been the spiritual home of the old British manager. Frank de Boer, the last import, lasted 77 days. Palace did not score a league goal in any of them. He was the Louis Van Gaal disciple, Vieira is the Arsene Wenger ally. Not that his football in France was often Wenger-esque: Nice came seventh in Ligue Un in 2018-19 while scoring just 30 goals. He threatens to make the cautious Hodgson look cavalier. Perhaps it will prove pertinent that his reign began with a 1-0 win, albeit in a pre-season friendly with Walsall on Saturday.
But there is a new youthfulness to Palace. Hodgson left the oldest squad in the Premier League. But he also left with many of them out of contract and boasting a transfer-market profit. It afforded an opportunity to remodel Palace. Hodgson is funding Vieira's rebuilding. His replacement did not need to be the continuity candidate and change is belatedly coming.
Reading's 19-year-old midfielder Michael Olise was quickly signed up. Marc Guehi, newly turned 21 and outstanding for Swansea last season, joined him on Sunday. An Under-17 World Cup winner should be the cornerstone of a defence potentially shorn of all of Gary Cahill, Scott Dann, Mamadou Sakho and Patrick van Aanholt.
If each marks a change in recruitment policy, from pragmatic moves for proven Premier League players to perming the Championship for rising stars, it may be influenced by the success of Eberechi Eze last season and sporting director Dougie Freedman's long past in the second tier as well as by Vieira's track record developing emerging talents.
But there is something symbolic that the centre-back Hodgson signed from Chelsea was the free transfer Gary Cahill, who excelled but is now 35, and the one Vieira brought in is the far costlier and much less experienced Guehi.
It is short-termism against long-termism when the longest spell of top-flight has come by focusing on the immediate. It explains why De Boer was dismissed after 77 days and his plan to revamp the style of play abandoned to appoint Hodgson at 70.
Time stood still under him. The future was postponed as the status quo was preserved. Hodgson bought Palace time so his successor could buy players. But while his team, at times, seemed to run on autopilot, a change of direction was inevitable when he left.
Now uncertainty abounds, and not merely for the contingent of the out of contract. Andros Townsend seems set to leave. The talismanic Wilfried Zaha is eyeing the exit, though he does every summer. His importance is amplified as injury means Eze is set to miss at least half the season while Nathan Ferguson, last summer's other youthful arrival, is still yet to debut.
Vieira has work to do to bolster a slender squad. Loaning Chelsea's Conor Gallagher, also a target last summer, would help, both in replacing James McCarthy and in adding energy in midfield. Vieira unveiled a 4-3-3 formation against Walsall, possibly offering indications of a more possession-based game. Gallagher would suit the shape and further lend a progressive feel.
Vieira's influences stretch beyond Wenger. He played for Aime Jacquet, Roger Lemerre, Fabio Capello and Roberto Mancini. And yet, even more than Wenger, De Boer will remain the most relevant comparison in his early weeks.
He starts with four London derbies. Palace's first 10 opponents include seven of last season's top eight. There is little time to ease into a new era, to road-test ideas, to let newcomers adjust to a new division. De Boer's reign was curtailed after four weeks. Palace were swift to recognise he represented a mistake. That does not necessarily mean history will repeat itself when Vieira could prove to be the manager who reinvents Palace. But, one way or another, life after Hodgson is a step into the unknown for them.