Three Million Seven Hundred Reasons

A week is a long time in so many facets of life.

Last Sunday saw Palace fans waking up and checking that the events of the day before had really happened.

There were inevitable and possibly justified calls for the sacking of Alan Pardew. As you may have noticed, we have not been good at defending set pieces. Or keeping clean sheets. Relegation fears have taken hold, and not in a good way.

The name of Sam Allardyce has been mentioned as a possible replacement. Clearly available for employment again after the humiliation of being caught drinking white wine by the pint, Big Sam has a track record of keeping struggling sides in the Premier League.

Allardyce is very much from the old school, and would undoubtedly focus on sorting out the problems with defensive organisation. It is something we have needed before, especially in October 2013, when Ian Holloway left the club.

However, the three nil victory over Southampton has put any plans of replacing Pardew to one side, at least for now. The mutual “thumbs up” between Steve Parish and Pardew on Saturday seems to indicate Parish remains supportive of Pardew.

And I hope that Pardew is able to fix the problems that he may have played a strong part in creating. While he appears to have an ego the size of over-sized mock Tudor mansion somewhere near the M25, and a tendency to speak first and think later, he does have a genuine affection for the club.

I don’t want a return to that ‘old school’ manager with old school attitudes and morals.

There were an unusual number of ‘football news’ stories this week, stories that featured on the front rather than the back page. Firstly, the appalling disclosures of further child abuse among the academies of several clubs dating back to the seventies. Then, the tragic plane crash in Colombia that took the lives of so many players and staff from Brazilian side Chapecoense.

Following that, the Sunday papers had a scoop concerning notable clients of super-agent Jorge Mendes. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho, among the highest earners in the game, may not have been paying their fair share of tax. It appears they were using countries with very low or non-existent FIFA world rankings to open secret bank accounts.

One other news story that certainly caused excitement among Palace fans, if disappointingly few others, when it broke last Monday.

It was of course the tale of Tony Pulis losing his appeal against the loss of his £2million bonus for keeping Palace up in 2013/14. The costs of pursuing his appeal were awarded against Pulis and he was left £3.7million out of pocket.

This story has been covered in detail by Samuel Smith on this site already but Pulis may have been fortunate that the focus of news outlets this week has understandably been on other stories. Nonetheless, the judge’s comments on his character are pretty remarkable.

Our former boss is said to have made “fraudulent misrepresentations” regarding the early payment of his £2million bonus.  This was followed by his resignation ahead of the season opener against Arsenal. Pulis had wanted the bonus money early to complete a property purchase for his children, but there was no evidence of any transaction. On top of that was evidence that three former players may have lied about the date of the now infamous ‘heated players meeting’.

Despite the judge’s comments, the story seems likely to disappear quietly. Pulis even got away without an amusing witticism from Gary Lineker on Match of The Day. Surely Gary could have joked that Parish was missing a hairdressing appointment to be at the Southampton game.

In the same programme, they analysed Dele Alli conning referee Jon Moss into giving a penalty by deliberately tripping over the planted leg of Kyle Naughton.

Then there was the fracas at the end of the Manchester City versus Chelsea game, following Sergio Aguero’s horrible tackle on David Luiz. Fernandinho was sent off but there was clear provocation from Cesc Fabregas.

Sunday saw the two footed tackle from Marcus Rojo and a sly kick in Seamus Coleman’s head from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

It was all very unsavoury and not good for football’s image. Chelsea and Machester City have been charged with failing to control their players. But Alli, Aguero, Rojo and Ibrahimovic could all be charged with bringing the game into disrepute.

But I would be happy to defend them.

While the financial penalty on Pulis is high, the game is not taking any further action against him. There has been no indication from football authorities that Pulis’s behaviour was unethical and unacceptable.  Nor anything from the League Manager’s Association, who recently inducted Pulis into their Hall of Fame.

If Pulis is allowed to get away without any further penalty, I suggest there are three million, seven hundred reasons why those players should not be charged.




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