It doesn’t take a genius to see that Roy Hodgson hasn’t been backed during his time at Crystal Palace. The first transfer window with him at the helm saw just three arrivals in January of this year; £9m Alexander Sorloth, £2m Jaroslaw Jach and Erdal Rakip on loan. You are forgiven for not knowing who the last two even are.
The following window in the summer saw four new faces arrive at Selhurst Park. Only £10m Cheikhou Kouyate merited a fee, whilst Max Meyer and Vicente Guaita arrived on free transfers along with Jordan Ayew on loan from Swansea.
I don’t need to tell you that the south London side have issues scoring goals, and are yet to see a recognised striker score a goal from open play in the league since January when Christian Benteke headed in against West Ham.
Despite that, no serious attempts have been made to remedy that problem – yes, Ayew and Sorloth have come in since then, but they quite clearly would never be the answer. Their previous form and their form in red and blue suggests that they were merely bought in on the cheap so Steve Parish could say, “look, I’m trying”.
You may be thinking that the chairman doesn’t pick the players and Hodgson does, but I’m not sure that’s how it works at Palace. When Mamadou Sakho was on loan under Sam Allardyce, he was definitely wanted by the former England boss, but he then left at the end of the season.
Frank de Boer came in, and didn’t appear too keen on the Frenchman as the hours ticked away in the window, but it seemed as if Parish sanctioned the £26m move alone and bought the defender from Liverpool anyway at the last second – the fact that de Boer left just four games into his reign reinforces that suggestion.
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The fans at Selhurst Park are angry. Very angry. They don’t want to be looking for scraps in the transfer window anymore and are blaming Hodgson for this, even more so after the experienced manager said that he is happy with his current options and believes he has players that can score goals – which, judging by the aforementioned stat, is absurd.
The former Liverpool boss surely doesn’t believe this. He has been hung out to dry by his chairman in front of the fans and is being left to face the backlash.
Parish and his little yes-man Alan Pardew plunged the club into financial restraint by bringing in Benteke for £30m and putting him on £120k-a-week wages, putting Yohan Cabaye on £100k-a-week wages for the three seasons he was at the club, and even paying Emmanuel Adebayor £77k-a-week for his six months at the club – even Connor Wickham is on £60k-a-week (as per Spotrac) and he hasn’t played for two years.
It is these past ‘glamour signings’ that have left Hodgson with no money to spend. Perhaps he doesn’t argue or kick up a huge fuss about it because he knows that this is most likely his last job in football at 71 years of age, and is happy to just work with what he has until he retires.
But those fans deserve better. One tweet in particular shows just how much of a chancer Parish is. When Palace had Benteke as their only fit striker last season in September amid a huge injury crisis, one fan expressed concern over if he too picked up an injury, which Parish dismissed. The Belgian did then get injured and Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha had to play upfront, something which they hilariously still do to this day.
What if he doesn't? What if the sun does in fact come up tomorrow ? https://t.co/KbHGLFma5t
— Steve Parish (@CEO4TAG) September 10, 2017
This aimless hope can only take the Eagles so far. Since promotion back in 2013, Palace have had the likes of Kevin Doyle, Shola Ameobi, Marouane Chamakh, former striker Andy Johnson, Benteke’s little brother Jonathan Benteke, Yaya Sanogo, Patrick Bamford and Adebayor as their striking options. One thing they all have in common? They cost Parish £0 in transfer fees.
Parish may not want to plunge the club into any further financial misery, which is understandable. However, what isn’t understandable and is quite frankly unacceptable is that he is shying away in the background and letting Hodgson unfairly face the music at Selhurst Park – no wonder the likes of Tony Pulis and Allardyce jumped ship, with the latter even claiming he was ‘retiring’ before winding up at Everton. One would think he was just trying to get away from working under such a problematic boss.