Ghosts Of Managers Past

“We made a mistake, it’s as simple as that” uttered Steve Parish earlier this week, lamenting the series of events that led to Glenn Murray’s departure from Selhurst Park in 2015.

As Palace prepare to make the short trip to Brighton during the week for the first time in four years, Parish’s comments give some insight into elements of past management decisions that have been to the detriment of the club.

No, this isn’t an article lamenting Glenn Murray as the answer to all Palace’s problems had things been different. The departure of the once talismanic striker was an avoidable regret in the eyes of many. However, Murray’s departure nods to a prolonged pattern of stubborn egotism that has  been a huge contributing factor to the 20th position the club will occupy when the game against their arch rivals kicks off on Tuesday.

The arrival of Roy Hodgson has slowly seen some of the dark clouds over Selhurst dissipate. There are promising signs of salvaging a season that had looked lost only weeks ago. All this talk of regret, however, stirs up feeling about the rot that had taken hold of the squad before the former England manager’s appointment. Where once there was such promise, lay a broken collection of players.

Murray’s departure was important as it is indicative of the infallibility granted to Alan Pardew by Steve Parish when he was in charge. Such was the sheer size of Pardew’s head, he oversaw a cull which stripped a Palace side of many of it’s biggest characters. Parish didn’t want him to leave. His mate Alan had other ideas.

Without a care in the world, Pardew strode around the dressing room and marked his territory as he deemed fit – pissing down on those he saw as a threat to his own position of power. Not content with just moving Murray on, Mile Jedinak had his captaincy revoked and a train ticket to Birmingham shoved in his suit pocket. He also set in motion the marginalisation of club legend Julian Speroni.

Parish’s regret on the sale of Murray may be more linked to the number of mistakes he himself has made in recent years. For too long, Pardew’s decisions went unchallenged, with Parish affording him the sort of infallibility a Pope would be proud of.

Which makes the announcement of Frank de Boer’s ill fated arrival earlier this summer all the more ironic. As white smoke bellowed out of the Tasty Jerk takeaway signalling the beginning of a new era, Parish must have thought that the days of dealing with stubbornness were behind him.

To Parish’s credit, de Boer wasn’t granted the papal infallibility Pardew had been. Even though de Boer only lasted four league games, considerable damage had been done. His steadfast refusal to remove his head from his own arse ultimately cost him his job.

The stubbornness of manager’s who make obvious poor decisions is very interesting to behold. In the instance of de Boer, it almost belies belief that he was so willing to fall on his 3-4-3 sword rather than tweak the system to suit the players he had.

Are modern coaches programmed to ignore any suggestions that come from fans, no matter how sensible they are?

Are they tuned as such that, in order to feel like they have succeeded through adversity, they must do it their way rather than the perceived popular way?

Does it kill these egotists soul to think that Pete in row 26 just MIGHT be right in his suspicion?

It’s not just a Palace problem, of course. Up and down the country frustrated fans are turning up to their clubs every week wondering why X is playing, when everyone can see that Y is the better option. Manager’s hate nothing more than having their decisions questioned. However, those willing to change or address glaring issues are usually the ones who don’t self harm to the degrees that Pardew and de Boer did.

Here is where hope for Hodgson lies. He spoke early on of playing to players strengths, and the improvement to this already capable side has been clear. It is Hodgson’s experience, not his stubborn luck, that is helping Palace slowly transform their fortunes.

Lets hope it’s coming at the right time. While not all the storm clouds have cleared, what better opportunity for Palace to banish the lingering regrets hanging over them from the previous two years than getting a result at the Amex on Tuesday evening.



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Donogh Hurley

Donogh Hurley

Donogh is a stout swilling, pasta eating, Palace enthusiast. Arthur Wait season ticket devotee hailing from West Cork, Ireland. Exiled in London. Enjoys a good ramble. Has a mean dinosaur impression.

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