On Monday Steve Parish unveiled Frank de Boer as Crystal Palace’s latest manager after the Dutch manager signed a 3 year contract with the club.
The appointment came a day short of being 5 weeks since Sam Allardyce resigned and went into retirement. During that time it seems everyone was in the running for the Palace job but one by one they either too up other positions or they ruled themselves out of the job.
In truth we will probably never know if FdB was the club’s number 1 target but if you believe even 5% of what has been written in the papers then it would seem FdB was 3rd or 4th on the list.
Indeed, last year when Alan Pardew was under pressure there was paper talk linking FdB to the manager’s job as he had just been given his P45 by Inter Milan. Were we seriously considering him at the time? Was he seriously considering us at the time? Who knows but being out of work for 8 months with seemingly no interest in his services might have made us seem quite an attractive proposition.
After all, if I haven’t eaten for 8 hours that old pizza slice in the freezer looks a mouth watering proposition.
Whenever a new manager is unveiled there are all the right things said. How the club has great potential, blah, blah, blah. We’ve had great potential ever since I can remember…
But I don’t blame FdB for paying lip service to the club, he’d hardly do anything else. It was more the self-congratulatory comment he made when he said Louis van Gaal (not a name I’d drop) told him “Congratulations, you are one of the top 20 managers in the world now!” which if we’re honest isn’t true.
For a start, if you wait long enough the Palace job will be offered to you sooner or later.
Next, is the great LvG saying that all of the Premier League managers are the top 20 in the world? And finally, wouldn’t managers of some of the top nations be in the top 20 managers in the world list?
I know, I’m being an arse but to come out with that line, albeit in his second or third language smacked a little of “hey, I’m a great manager!”
A Positive Move
But don’t think I am down on this appointment, because I’m not. I think if given time and, more importantly, money to spend FdB will do well for Palace in the long term. He might be the appointment that we thought Pardew was going to be.
All jokes aside and removing how inept he turned out to be in the end, I thought Pardew would be with us for the long term. I thought he would develop the club and bring through the younger players.
For whatever reason that didn’t happen and the reasons were not all his own fault. For example, Pardew wasn’t the one who insisted Keith Millen stayed on as assistant manager!
No, it turned out that Pardew was going after short term gain and then tried to avoid a relegation fight by adopting a style of football which we didn’t have the personnel to play.
Style of Play
Which brings me on to style of play. FdB has been spoken of as someone who will change our style of play. We’ll play possession football, build from the back, etc. Didn’t we try that last season under Pardew?
Again, don’t get me wrong, FdB is a better manager than Pardew. We have a better backroom team than we had under Pardew. But we still have 80% of the same team as we had under Pardew.
FdB might be a very good manager but even he won’t be able to turn Joel Ward into a player who is comfortable on the ball under pressure. That isn’t a snipe at Ward, I like him and he gets some unjust stick but you can’t polish a turd!
FdB will need to bring in his own style of player to make things work and as well all know, there isn’t much money to spend this summer. Maybe he’ll have contacts to bring in some decent loans? Maybe he’ll have contacts to bring in some decent
past it ageing players?
Whatever the case, if any manager isn’t given the chance to bring in his own
tools players then he can’t implement his vision. There is a good chance that FdB won’t get the chance to put his vision into reality.
The Road To Success
The clock is ticking for him. Not many clubs decide that the way to avoid relegation is to play possession football yet for the second season in a row that is what we are going to try and do.
We need to move forward as a club but we need to recognise what we have and what we can do. I don’t think FdB will be a success this season. I think he’ll need at least 4 transfer windows, the current window being the first, before he is able to have people in that he is happy with. This isn’t weird, Jose said the same when he was appointed Manchester United manager!
The question in my mind is, how long will he get? I think he can be a success but in 2-3 years time. This is a ‘transition’ season so if we get to February and we’re hovering above the relegation zone will he be allowed to see the season out? Will he stick around if we go down?
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that because if we can survive this season then I think we will be a decent side under FdB, it’s just this first season that concerns me.
FdB is being touted as the man who will turn our academy players into diamonds. Once again I sound a note of caution because I don’t think we have the talent there. We don’t have the facilities there either.
Since Zaha and Williams came through the ranks in 2009/10 nobody has followed them. Sure we have Kaikai and Boateng but they are not really pulling up trees in the Championship, are they? I hope they are given a chance because the route from academy to first team is a tough one, just look at Chelsea and the player’s they’ve let go.
Maybe FdB has been brought in with the idea that he can develop players thus saving us a few bob in the transfer marker? If so then it could be a dangerous gamble. There are better articles elsewhere on why our academy is lagging behind the likes of Charlton and Millwall.
Time will tell and we’ll know more soon enough when the players report back for pre-season training on Thursday.
All I am saying is don’t believe the hype. Keep your expectations in check and expect a difficult first season. Bringing youth players through at Ajax is a totally different job to doing it at Palace.