De Boer dismissal and Hodgson hire both signs all is not well at Palace

By Jonathan White Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/12 23:38:40

How long is long enough to wait before making the decision to sack your manager? It seems that a mere four Premier League games - five matches in total including a League Cup win over Ipswich Town - over 77 days is not the requisite sample size to warrant pulling the trigger, based on soccer's reaction to Ronald de Boer's dismissal from Crystal Palace. 

The Dutchman was let go after his side lost away to Burnley, even though the Eagles were much improved and unlucky to lose. Regardless, a 1-0 win for the home side meant a fourth league defeat in a row and no goals scored - the worst start by any side in the English top flight for more than nine decades. 

The show of fight from his players was not enough, and it makes you wonder just what he would have needed to oversee in the match against Burnley on Sunday to get a stay of execution - would a win or a draw have changed Chairman Steve Parish and the board's decision? Given the speed of De Boer's dismissal, it seems that their mind was made up. 

If that was the case then why not put him out of his misery during the recent international break? That's one of a number of questions that have been asked following the Dutch manager's appointment and almost immediate sacking. Another being why did they immediately turn to previous manager Sam Allardyce, only to be rebuffed, and then appoint Allardyce's England predecessor Roy Hodgson? 

Parish had admitted that the club wanted to change over the summer and De Boer was a key part of that. Only the second manager from outside Britain that the club have ever employed, the Dutchman was hired after the club targeted candidates including Sean Dyche of Burnley, Mauricio Pellegrino and Roger Schmidt. 

It was a shortlist that was largely foreign and aged 50 and under, so it seems odd that Palace's response to De Boer not working out was hiring 70-year-old Hodgson. It's a short-term fix and it will be interesting to see how the former England manager can turn the club's fortunes around. Hodgson has not worked in the Premier League for five years, he has no transfer window to influence the squad and his time managing England ended in ridicule. 

More worryingly for everyone involved at Palace, the problems at the club seem to predate De Boer. Including this season's four, they have lost eight of their last nine Premier League games and did not score in any of those losses. More tellingly, they have only had one season in their five since returning to the Premier League where they have had the same manager throughout the season. 

Hodgson might not even be the last Crystal Palace boss in this campaign. Crystal Palace face Pellegrino's Southampton at the weekend before a tough run of games that sees them travel to both Manchester clubs and then champions Chelsea. They also host Huddersfield Town, the side that beat them 3-0 at Selhurst Park on the opening day of the season, in the League Cup next week.

The author is a Shanghai-based freelance writer.


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