The wise men at Crystal Palace wanted a change. Big Sam Allardyce kept them in the Premiership the season before and they felt they have arrived. When Allardyce strangely resigned from the club, the bosses, instead of continuing with the tradition of employing average English managers, went one step up and decided to go for a celebrity as a manager. They got in Dutch football poster boy, Frank de Boer.
They felt he had the magic wand, he felt he had the magic wand, to transform players majorly recruited by Sam Allardyce for their ‘kick and follow’ football skills into ‘tiki taki’ total football geniuses. The rest, as they say, is history. Frank lost four games on the trot, he lost the dressing room and ultimately, lost his job.
When Allardyce left, one of the managers who put their hats in the ring to replace him was former England manager, Roy Hodgson. He was overlooked and de Boer got the job. When the Dutch man failed, they had to come back to Roy. But has Roy made any difference? Not really.
Palace have played three games under him and they still have not scored a goal nor have they won any premiership game. If one will be honest though, Roy Hodgson has not had the fairest of fixtures. He has had to face the two high flying Manchester clubs in the three games he has been in charge. His next game in the premiership after the international break is against defending champions, Chelsea. One good thing is that he has the international week to work with his players and get them more into his ideas.
This may not particularly work against Chelsea in their next game, but it should work in the other games coming after that. Crystal Palace’s next games include battles against fellow strugglers Newcastle, Everton and inconsistent Tottenham Hotspur. Surely they should be able to get something out of those games. Surely we should be able to know more about Roy Hodgson’s plans for the club. Roy started late at Fulham as well, they had problems as well. But with patience, support and loyalty, he was able to build them into a team that played in the finals of Europa League Cup.
History, however, may be against him. In 2009 Portsmouth FC were under former Arsenal captain, Tony Adams. They lost seven out of eight games and even though the manager was changed, they still ended up being relegated. In his own case, Roy’s team remain the only one in Europe that have not scored a single goal, don’t worry about them winning a game.
When clubs are in this kind of problem the guy they call on who effectively bails them out is Sam Allardyce. It is just ironic that his resignation was the trigger that put the fire on the roof at Crystal Palace. Maybe this is an opportunity for Hodgson to step into Big Sam’s shoes as the man to keep you in the premiership when you are involved in a relegation battle. Just like Sam used Palace to repair his damaged reputation while England manager, Roy may use the same club to repair his as well, after the unexpected loss to minnows Iceland at the Euros. This could prove added pressures, but Roy has been England manager and no job in the whole world comes with more pressure than that. Palace are in good hands.
The multi-million dollar question now is whether the players are ready for the battle ahead.