In our Transfers that shook the club feature, Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at deals that had many may not have seen coming and the impact that they had during their time by using statistical data and pundit remarks.
Amid recent praise for the current regime at Crystal Palace from notable journalists such as Jonathan Wilson, rewind to June 2017 and the club were meant to be on the start of a new long-term journey which would change the way they operated in the Premier League.
The man they brought in to do this seemed entirely appropriate; the man who coached Ajax’s youth academy for three years before taking the full-time job at the club and then winning four back-to-back Eredivisie titles – Frank de Boer.
It was a time of huge excitement at Palace. To bring in a coach with such a reputation was a coup for the club who were on the brink of extinction just seven years prior.
As you can tell from the responses to de Boer’s tweet below, the Palace fans were buzzing with the news.
Welcome aboard Frank! Congratulations!
— Michael Dunn (@mikeywmFREE) June 26, 2017
Welcome Frank, let’s have some fun eh. Just 1 little request if at all possible. Ask the players if they’d like you to sign Sakho #TheBeast
— GaryFoxCPFC Always (@foxintheboxGARY) June 26, 2017
Welcome to @CPFC. We're all behind you and incredibly excited you are here. Good luck
— Aidan McGee (@amcgee66) June 27, 2017
Upon De Boer’s appointment, Sachin Nakrani from the Guardian wrote: “The decision of the club’s chairman […] is also based on a long-term strategy of developing young talent and integrating it successfully into the first team, allowing Palace to become less reliant on big-money signings and quick-fix loan deals, as has been their way in recent years. In that regard, De Boer fits the bill perfectly.”
Nakrani was not wrong. After four seasons in the Premier League and a number of different managers, this was seemingly meant to be the time Palace settled down and created their own style and strategy, however, this move proved to be easier said than done.
77 days later and five games down, de Boer – and Palace’s new method of operating – was gone. He had been sacked after just four league games and four losses, without a goal scored and Roy Hodgson was instantly appointed.
There was a large amount of criticism after the Dutchman was sacked. Charlie Nicholas described it as “deplorable” and said that “Parish should hang his head in shame.”
He went onto say (via Sky Sports): “De Boer inherited a mess, that’s why Sam (Allardyce) wanted out, and they’ve made him a scapegoat.
“You look at Steve Parish and wonder what he is contributing? Why did Big Sam leave them?
“I put no blame on De Boer. Of course he wants to play a different style but so does every manager.”
Hindsight tells us it was most likely a decision well made by Parish, though ultimately, we will never be able to tell whether de Boer could have implemented a dynasty at Selhurst Park. Success is so hard to measure when you are a side like Crystal Palace. Essentially, a club with no pedigree in fighting for Europe surely must view top-flight survival as a success.
It is impossible to tell whether de Boer would’ve kept the Eagles up but his replacement Hodgson has managed to do it two years in a row without it going right down to the wire.
De Boer was a source of huge excitement for Palace fans, but his biggest legacy will most likely go down as being the answer to the pub quiz question ‘who is the shortest lasting manager in the Premier League of all time?’. It really did shake the club in terms of them making a quick-fire decision to completely ditch plans to change the way they played.
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