Information: This is an article I wrote for The Eagles Beak and has been published here 1 month it was published on their website. This version may differ slightly from their version.
Are Palace fans really as fickle as we recently appear to be? I always thought we were several steps above the supporters of ‘big’ teams who love or hate the manager depending on the phase of the Moon, but I appear to be mistaken.
I am a fairly recent member of the ‘Pardew Out’ club and have taken out membership after due diligence, just as I stated I would back at the end of May.
Back after the cup final I stated that I would give Pardew until the end of November before deciding if he was the man to take Palace forward or not. I have to admit, I’d made my decision before the Swansea game and once we were 3-1 down I was comfortable with my decision. At 3-4 I was in two minds but consoled myself that we shouldn’t have conceded 3 goals. At 5-4 Pardew had well and truly lost me, he’d put me through enough already!
I say that for good reason. You see, I was one of the people who fought Pardew’s corner on Facebook, week in and week out throughout the first half of 2016. After every defeat or game without a win I was defending him because of our injury list, bad luck or anything else.
I wasn’t one of the deluded people who saw our league position the week before Christmas 2015 and thought it was a fair reflection of where we should be. We were 5th at the time and we were not a 5th placed team in terms of quality. So, when we started to fall down the table I just put it down to the planets aligning themselves and we’d just fall to where we deserved to be, around 11th.
From the middle of January people began to call for Pardew to be sacked. It was easy at first to tell them that they were being silly however come April it was pretty difficult to see fault in their logic.
His tactics, team selection, motivation skills and man management seemed to be lacking a lot in the last few weeks of the season which culminated in the cup final which I feel he got wrong. Despite this I thought Pardew should be given the summer to rebuild the squad, after all we still had a lot of Holloway and Pulis signings that simply were not good enough. I was prepared to give Pardew time to sign players and start of the new season to see what he do.
Well, we’ve all seen what he did. I feel he made a bit of a hash of the transfer window, least of all because we failed to sign a defender (we lost 2 in the summer and signed 1) and we ended the window with 2 spaces left in the squad which he was forced to fill (as per Premier League rules) with Appiah (who in the summer Pardew said would never play for the first team) and a free transfer (Flamini) who doesn’t seem to be fit enough to play more than 10 minutes.
We missed a few midfield targets but this was spun in the media by Pardew and Parish as all part of the plan. Poppycock! We were either too tight to pay the fee or wages or they didn’t fancy playing for Pardew.
The start to the season was a disaster, in my opinion. We dropped points we should have won on paper and at the time of writing we have yet to win a point that I didn’t think we should have won.
Before the season kicked off I had us down as finishing 10th. That isn’t overly ambitious and it is something we should be aiming for with the squad we’ve got.
Sure we’ve had some bad luck. You can’t plan for a first team player to be out for the season because of a car accident BUT you can plan to have a back up in place in case he gets an injury! Our back up is a player Pardew doesn’t trust to start a game.
I feel building a squad is pretty simple. You have 11 players who play in a game and you just double it so every position has 1 back up. That equals 22 players. You then have 3 players who you can have as either utility players or players who enable you to change formation. We do not need 3 senior goalkeepers! We need just 2 and a good development squad keeper who would not require a squad number.
Pretty simple, right?
Most of our problems are of our own making and Pardew said after the win over Southampton that the American investors don’t know much about football because Parish has had to defend him to them. He said they needed 6 defeats explaining to them. Well, I think there are quite a few thousand fans who DO know about football and DO know what 6 defeats mean.
So, what is my point here? After the win against Southampton there seemed to be a lot of Pardew fans coming out of the Twitter woodwork saying how great he is and how he is the man for us.
We won one game. One game! Is anyone really that fickle to go from Pardew out to Pardew in because of one win? Does anyone really believe that winning one game of football cancels out the previous 11 months of dross and defeats?
It’s taken me 11 months to come to my decision, it will take a lot more than one sodding victory for me to change my opinion! Pardew will need a good 3-4 months of results before I come back around to thinking he might be the right man after all.
Another thing I said in May was that from August I wouldn’t have the mindset that we are ‘plucky little Palace’ or ‘isn’t it nice to be in the Premier League’ or ‘we are lucky to be in existence after 2010’ and so on any more.
All that is behind us and we have to start having bigger ambitions and an ambitious mindset.
Look a Southampton. In 2009-2010 they were in administration, in Division 1 and had 10 points deducted. In 2010-2011 they got promoted to the Championship then in 2011-2012 to the Premier League.
So, the season before we went into administration they were in a worse position in a lower league and look what the last couple of seasons has given them. They have been in the Premier League one season longer than us and they finished 6th last season.
Do you think they are still licking their wounds? Thinking how lucky they are to be in existence? Thinking where they were 7 years ago? Just happy to be in the Premier League?
They seem to have a game plan. When one manager leaves they have a decent one lined up. When players need to be sold, they have youth players lined up.
We keep being told how lucky we are, how great our academy is and so on. Southampton is the model we should be looking at and the club we should directly compare ourselves to.
We can do it and we shouldn’t settle for less than we deserve!