De Boer departs
After a measly four fixtures, the powers that be at Crystal Palace have seen fit to hand Frank de Boer his marching orders and call upon the services of managerial veteran, Roy Hodgson.
De Boer’s reign at Selhurst Park lasted all of 77 days of his 3 year contract. He was at the helm for four premier league defeats and didn’t see his side find the back of the net once. This, undoubtedly, is a poor start by any standards. Yet it seems something of a knee-jerk reaction to sack the Dutchman so early into his tenure. De Boer had repeatedly made it clear that his intention was to instill a new philosophy and style of play at the club.
It began as a step forward
Upon arrival de Boer stated his intention to get Palace “play[ing] dominant football and if we don’t have the ball then we want it back as quickly as possible.” Considering he was taking over from Sam Allardyce, to see de Boer’s visions of Palace in action would have marked one hell of a turnaround.
De Boer may have had his head in the clouds even as he qualified the previous statement with this: “I want to play offensive football but also not be naive because Crystal Palace struggled last year so we know what our place is.” However, that may be a harsh judgment. Perhaps what can then gleaned from this—discarding the notion that the only manager in history to lead a team to four consecutive Eredivisie titles doesn’t have a clue about football management—is that change, be it evolutionary or revolutionary, takes time. The road may not always run smooth in that regard.
Crystal Palace must certainly know what their place is now. They are rock bottom of the league, embarrassed, and with a new manager whose football philosophy can at best be described as a futile attempt to bore his opposition into submission (didn’t work against Iceland did it?).
Taking two steps backward
At this point, it seems pertinent to ask what Palace chairman, Steve Parish, has been thinking. Why hand de Boer such a long contract to then throw in the towel after stumbling at the first hurdle? Even if Parish felt so quickly that de Boer was not in fact the man for the job, was his confidence in the prospect of a transformation of Crystal Palace’s playing style and footballing identity so weak that, instead of seeking a new manager who would represent a continuation of this ideal, he has had to revert to the likes of Hodgson (really a continuation of the Allardyce era) so quickly. It would appear that that is, in fact, the case. Thus it begs the question, why hire de Boer in the first place? And on such a long deal at that.
Much about this entire situation is unclear, and even more depressingly, neither is it unfamiliar. How many managerial reigns have we seen cut so savagely short as to render them utterly meaningless? What is clear however is that Palace could do with steadying the ship with a firm hand on the tiller. Perhaps that is what Hodgson represents, albeit in as uninspiring a fashion as possible. What Palace also need though is someone to get the Selhurst Park faithful singing and excited to watch their team play. Roy Hodgson certainly does not represent that. I believe Palace fans have every right to feel underwhelmed and fearful of another dirge of a season floating down around the poop chute of the Premier League.