All change in SE25 (Again)

It’s the hope that kills you.

With Crystal Palace sitting in the lofty heights of 3rd position in the Championship and a genuine club legend in charge things were looking good after years of financial trouble and mediocre performances.

The eagles were “flying high” to borrow a tired tabloid phrase.

Heading into Saturdays derby against South London neighbours Millwall Palace fans had every reason to be hopeful coming off the back of five consecutive league wins.

A predictable spicy match ended 2-2 with Millwall coming back from a two goal deficit following defender Dean Moxey’s dismissal following a deliberate handball.

Despite the result the Eagles were still comfortably in the play off places and playing good expansive football under Dougie Freedman.

And then the impossible happened. The messiah departed.

Freedman opted to take the vacant managerial post at Bolton Wanderers following Owen Coyle’s dismissal earlier in the month.

The rumours had started as soon as Coyle was shown the door. Freedman; a young talented manager had long been admired by Bolton chairman Phil Gartside and was reportedly at the top of his hit list.

Crystal Palace fans were quick to dismiss the rumours as tabloid chatter. They said Freedman wouldn’t leave the club where he spent the majority of his playing career, the same club that gave him his first managerial job.

Freedman had stated in a press conference earlier in the season that he was happy at Palace and wasn’t the sort to leave a job “half done”.

But then again this is football, and even a supposedly loyal servant of a club, a cult hero and true fan favourite can be persuaded to jump ship.

Just when Crystal Palace fans thought their club was on the up they lose their manager, a man they assumed was Palace through and through.

The Crystal Palace board allowed Bolton to speak to Freedman on Monday, after initially denying them permission. A compensation deal was quickly thrashed together and Freedman was on his way North.

Palace fans are no strangers to managerial upheaval. With the Eagles sitting at the top of the League in 2001-02 and looking like strong favourites to return to the top tier then manager Steve Bruce opted to hand in his resignation and move to Birmingham City.

Most Palace fans agree that their club never do anything the easy way, and this latest setback will certainly only help to reinforce this.

So what now? Manager-less Palace managed to secure a 1-1 draw away at Barnsley on Tuesday evening to maintain their play off ambitions and keep alive hopes of a successful season.

The question remains however as to who will take the reins at Selhurst Park, the usual names have already been banded about, McCarthy, Curbishley etc. But the most interesting name linked to the job is Steve Coppell. Or Sir Steve Coppell as he is know in a certain corner of South London.

The same Steve Coppell who has managed Palace on four separate occasions and has led them to promotion, relegation and the only FA cup final in the clubs history.

Sounds like a match made in heaven, it’s not like a club legend has ever let them down before after all.

Robert Lock