Back in September 2017, Premier League side Crystal Palace confirmed that they had parted company with manager Frank de Boer.
The Dutchman only took over at Selhurst Park earlier that summer following the departure of Sam Allardyce, who had led the Eagles to Premier League safety the season before in eventually finishing in 14th place in the top-flight.
Yet de Boer’s time in charge of the London club lasted a mere four league games, with his sacking prompting much outrage from plenty of Palace supporters on Twitter at the time…
Embarrassment. Steve should be ashamed. Especially after yesterday’s comments
— J (@paIacejosh) September 11, 2017
I’m actually ashamed to be a Palace fan for the first time in the history of support them. The club is run so poorly.
— James F Johnson (@MisterJohnson87) September 11, 2017
Absolute disgrace being turned into a laughing stock
— Jim Wrigley (@Bourneagle) September 11, 2017
Bad from Crystal Palace! Players need to look at themselves cos they are the under-performers
— Ky Davies McCarthy (@kddavies) September 11, 2017
@CEO4TAG absolutely astonishing. And embarrassing. Especially after the “let’s stick together” tweet yesterday.
— Iain (@Eagle_Iain) September 11, 2017
What were you thinking???
— James Morgan (@BoyFromLambeth) September 11, 2017
How dare u do this
— wilf_fan (@JasonCPFC) September 11, 2017
So when we lose our next 4 games to hard teams will we sack that manager too??!!
— Nathan Anthony (@alecnanthony) September 11, 2017
Yet it was clear, even from those early couple of matches, that things weren’t working for de Boer, and with the upturn in form that took place not long after Roy Hodgson’s appointment as manager, it was clear that, while Palace fans raged at Steve Parish’s decision, the chairman got it absolutely spot on.
Ultimately, it was always going to be difficult for the 48-year-old to implement his style on things at Selhurst Park given he was succeeding former England boss Allardyce, someone who made his teams difficult to beat but certainly weren’t the most exciting and easy on the eye.
As such, the former Ajax and Inter Milan boss was always going to need time to get his message across and get Palace playing the sort of football he wanted them to play – but to lose his first four matches, all of which without scoring, was already leaving him firmly up against it.
And while de Boer can feel somewhat hard done by given he wasn’t afforded the time necessary to make such changes, Parish deserves credit for making the decision quickly and with plenty of time left in the season – they may have been bottom and without a goal or a point, but there were many games left to play.
Things didn’t immediately get better under new boss Hodgson, with his side losing to Southampton, Manchester City, and Manchester United to start the season with seven defeats, but there is no doubting that he brought the feel-good factor back to Selhurst Park as the season wore on.
Eventually, the Eagles stayed up comfortably by finishing 11th in the Premier League table, accumulating 44 points from their 38 matches, all of which came in their final 31 games of the season.
Yes, it’s plausible that de Boer would have got things right at Palace and turned things around, but how many times in the past have owners and chairmen waited too long to make a change? Newcastle United in 2015/16 rings a bell.
So while it was a decision met with outrage by many Eagles supporters, it was a big call for Parish to make so early in de Boer’s tenure – it was one that ultimately admitted that he got it wrong initially, but also one that enabled Palace to get their act together and stay in the division.
As such, while it was met with anger, there’s little doubting that Parish pulled off a masterstroke in getting rid of de Boer when he did.
Palace fans… what do you think? Let us know!
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience