Palace’s predicament at the bottom of the Premier League table continues to break unwanted ground as they became the first ever club in the English Football League history to lose their opening six league games without scoring a single goal in return. Every week, the history books never stop being thrown at our faces, but how much more can we take of this utter nightmare? Is a drop through the trap door the answer to end all misery?
There’s no doubting the pride Palace fans have felt over the last 5 years since the club finally returned to the top-flight and managed to stay for a record time. Our fifth successive Premier League campaign has well and truly broken the yo-yo hoodoo around the club, with a real opportunity on the cards for our potential to really be unlocked. Yet, 4 years on from our arrival, has the club made big enough strides to guarantee a better future regardless of division? It appears not.
As difficult as the English Premier Division continues to be, Palace haven’t ever made the most of their boom period and stabilised as a solid mid-table club. The money available through television revenue, evergrowing ticket sales and advertising deals off the pitch should significantly boost the team on it. £32 million transfer fees, 20th highest spend in Europe, a squad with the biggest wage bill in the club’s history. These should be the glory days, but instead we are left each year with no real long-term progress.
No new or developed stadium, no youth coming through the academy, no strategic planning in the transfer market. Palace did so well over the years to overachieve with individuals playing beyond themselves through team spirit and togetherness. Without ever really bringing in any real exceptional quality, that momentum died away and these heroes lost their magic touch. Now, we see a squad that has been found out and a club hierarchy that has run out of luck.
For too long Palace flirted with the threats of relegation only for a veteran manager to come and save the day. Pulis, Pardew, Allardyce. These men reignited the club for the short-term but could never take it to the next level and sustain. This must absolutely lie with the owners of the club who have failed to plan properly as a top division outfit should. Despite the supposed stats surrounding the cost of the Palace squad, we all know over the years we could have done more and should have done more to guarantee and maintain success.
January 2016 was the turning point for the club. Just when things were really clicking and a new quality of player was being brought in like Cabaye, the owners didn’t capitalise and invest with money or purpose in the club. The new Americans coming in promised new pots of gold but all we saw was Emmanuel Adebayor arriving on a free transfer. The team at the time were joint 4th with Manchester United and Tottenham, only needing a couple of quality additions to help keep the momentum for the second half of the season.
The less said about the rest of 2016, the better. A cup final day out aside, the club plummeted downwards. Christian Benteke and Steve Mandanda arrived with promise, but still there was no long-term planning to build around these new players. Pardew crumbled and Allardyce saved the day, but now? Now we are seeing the mess of a club who haven’t progressed or learnt from past mistakes to create a situation irreversibly embarrassing.
On a historical level now, Crystal Palace are a laughing stock. All the club has worked hard for over the years is being completely undone, but as I say, what were these things? Are we going to notice them the day we fall back down to the second tier and will we be any better for it? It doesn’t appear that way and Palace could quite easily fall like Sunderland and Aston Villa have done. There’s no long-term promise, just a club ready to go back to what it always was; striving for the Premier League to evolve its club. That evolution (or revolution) has never come, and may never come again.