Much has been made about the reported meeting between Crystal Palace co-chairman Steve Parish and manager Ian Holloway following Monday night’s game at Selhurst Park. Palace suffered a 4-1 defeat to Fulham thanks in large part to two stunning first-half goals from Pajtim Kasami and Steve Sidwell. The Cottagers would later add two second half goals from set pieces, with Dimitar Berbatov and Philippe Senderos being on the receiving end on corners from Bryan Ruiz. The four unanswered goals came after a solid 15 minute display from Crystal Palace which saw them take an early 1-0 lead from Adrian Mariappa’s header.
The assumption by some fans and media outlets is that Ian Holloway’s job has been in question over the past few weeks. It was felt that Holloway needed a positive result from Monday’s match in order to secure his standing with the club’s management.
Prior to the 2013-14 season, when most football experts where asked “Which of the three newly promoted clubs is most likely to be relegated this season?” the reply was unanimously, Crystal Palace. Former Premier League players/current television pundits Alan Smith, Jamie Carragher, and Gary Neville all pointed towards the Eagles as the club who were most likely to be dropped from the top flight. They agreed that Palace just didn’t have the funds or squad to compete with in the Premier League.
Just before the summer transfer window closed, Palace did make a fluttering of signings. To assist in their bid to survive in the league, Holloway and Parish signed no less than 17 new players – some of whom are not even eligible to play after the being omitted from the 25-man squad list submitted to the Premier League.
Yesterday, Holloway conceded that recruiting so many players may not have been the wisest decision with Palace struggling to find any rhythm during the early part of the season. “Maybe we changed too many. But that squad is who we’ve got until January. So they better buck up and stick together, and learn how to stick together. Because it’s tough, you’re trying to gel a group of people together. We’ve made 12, 13 new signings and that’s out of 25 people. It’s not excuses. It’s just the way it is. And at the minute every single thing that could go wrong has and is.”
Ian Holloway has been one of the bright spots in English football over the past decade or so. The 50-year-old former midfielder spent his playing days at Bristol Rovers, Wimbledon, Brentford and Queens Park Rangers. Over the past sixteen years, he has managed English clubs at Bristol Rovers, QPR, Plymouth Argyle, Leicester City, Blackpool and now Crystal Palace.
Holloway has been a refreshing addition to the managerial pool. His press conferences are always straight-forward, honest, and most times entertaining.
More than likely, most fans remember Holloway and his Blackpool squad for their thrilling, attacking displays against the Premier League giants during the 2010-11 season. Blackpool was relegated on the final day of the year. But prior to that, they had caught the eyes of the footballing world with their defeats of Liverpool (home and away), Tottenham (home) and Newcastle (away). The also drew with Tottenham at White Hart Lane and were barely edged out 3-2 at Bloomfield Road by the eventual Premier League Champions Manchester United.