Are expectation levels too high at Crystal Palace?

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 23 December 2016, 09:37

Alan Pardew became the second victim of the 2016/17 Premier League Sack Race on Thursday after Crystal Palace handed him his P45.

The Sun's Andy Dillon (@andydillon70) has his say on the fallout, arguing that like so many clubs, the Eagles seem to think they should be pushing for the Champions League every season...

...IT CAN be extremely difficult working out exactly what you want for Christmas.

The same goes at Crystal Palace where the club’s American stakeholders finally decided to ditch Alan Pardew and go shopping for a gift-wrapped Sam Allardyce as a replacement - check out the latest odds here.

There’s very little except deflation and sadness at the whole sorry situation with the club and even Pardew himself speaking out on the depressing need for a change.

From the inside looking out it was inevitable maybe. From the outside looking in it is confusing.

Chairman Steve Parish’s words are also quite worrying when he says the plan to go for ‘expansive football hasn’t worked, it’s time to wind the dial back the other way’

Perhaps the club were worried about their Champions League place of course. That’s a bad Christmas joke by the way.

Because when you take a broader look at Crystal Palace it is baffling to decipher how the club sees itself, what the objectives are but more importantly what the bosses and the fans expect.

Take a look at their history in the Premier League for example. Seven glory-filled seasons in which they finished 20th, 19th, 20th, 18th, 11th, 10th and 15th.

Four relegations and just one finish clinging onto the top half of the table - achieved in Pardew’s first half season by the way.

That’s not banging the drum for Pardew, but just take a look at those stats and do the math. It’s hardly a glittering roll of honour regardless of which manager is in charge.

Palace is not a big club. Not by Premier League standards, not even up against their London rivals in the top flight.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, West Ham - all much more powerful in terms of finance and pulling power.

You get the impression Parish understands this but that the Yanks now pulling the strings don’t.

Maybe they need to get out more and look around at the other clubs sharing the same city as them.

Palace’s dilapidated Selhurst Park ground has a supermarket for one end. The main stand is made of wood and it’s widely regarded as the worst ground in the Premier League to get in and out of.

The so-called Ultras in the Homesdale End make noise but it’s hardly a bear-pit as some might describe.

Intimidation is Millwall’s Den or West Ham’s old Upton Park ground. Tottenham’s tight-knit White Hart Lane when it’s in full voice.

Arsenal frighten you with their football and Chelsea simply overpower you with pace.

Selhurst Park offers nothing of the sort. It’s windblown and disjointed and the supporters fall quiet very, very quickly when the going gets tough.

Pardew alluded to this fact just a few weeks ago while he watched other grounds such as Spurs’ being reconstructed for the modern age along with Chelsea’s grand plans.

Those Americans sitting back reading Sam Allardyce’s dossier on what was going wrong should put the paperwork down and stroll out onto the pitch and take in the view of the rickety old stands that run the length of the touchlines.

Then they might not be so sure that is was all Pardew’s fault.

Ironically, two years ago, Allardyce was manager at West Ham and in January 2014 his record of never being relegated was sorely tested.

His team was also beaten 5-0 by Championship Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup and 9-0 over two legs by Manchester City in the League Cup semi final.

He kept his job despite that but is about to get a new one because Palace are not as brave as West Ham and consider 17th position in the Premier League beneath them.

Let’s all look forward to seeing Crystal Palace back to doing what they do best soon - finishing in the bottom half of the table - just where they are now of course.


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