Another Year, Another Failed Coach

Yes, it’s musical chairs time again at Selhurst Park. Simon Jordan has just said goodbye to the seventh manager in his seven years as the Eagles chairman. (It’s been that long already?) Reports the Guardian,

Crystal Palace have announced that Peter Taylor’s contract as manager
has been terminated by the club with immediate effect. The Eagles are
currently 19th in the Championship table after recording only two
league wins this season. The club have managed only 10 points from 10

Taylor took over at Selhurst Park following Iain Dowie’s departure in
June last year, but the Eagles failed to mount an expected promotion
challenge last season and have been unable to improve their fortunes
since. “Crystal Palace announce that Peter Taylor’s contract has been
terminated with immediate effect,” read a club statement.

Peter Taylor (almost) in a Palace shirt in the mid-2000s.

Like many, I had expected better things of Taylor’s tenure at Selhurst Park. He came direct from Hull City, with whom he gained promotion twice in successive seasons, and long before that, as a player, he was a hero at Palace in the mid-1970s, during the third division glory days of Malcolm Allison and Terry Venables. (How could they be glory days if we were in the Third Division? Maybe you just had to be there.) In addition…

“Taylor has also managed Southend, Gillingham, Leicester and Brighton as well
as a successful spell in charge of the England Under-21 side. He was
also the caretaker manager of the senior England team for one game, a
1-0 friendly defeat by Italy in 2000, and was the first manager to
give the captain’s armband to David Beckham.

Jordan now has the two-week international break to find a replacement
for Taylor, who is the seventh manager to leave Selhurst Park during
his seven years at the helm. Former Sheffield United manager Neil
Warnock has been linked with the role in recent weeks.”

Peter Taylor in a Palace shirt in the mid-1970s.

Sometimes in life, things that look like a perfect match just don’t work out. Taylor seemed to recognize as much as he offered a gracious departure. He told the Croydon Guardian:

“I’m disappointed.

“I came here to be a success but unfortunately that’s not how it
turned out.

“I’ll hold my hands up and say the players I’ve got here at the club
are better than 19th place in the table.

“Simon’s decided to make the decision and I respect that decision.”

I wonder, though, does Simon Jordan ever rue the decision he made after just a few weeks at Crystal Palace, in which he fired Steve Coppell, ostensibly over pre-season results but really because the club wasn’t big enough for the both of them? Coppell, the most successful manager in Palace’s history (and the most loyal) soon enough went over to relative minnows Reading, turned them into an excellent team, lifted them from the Championship with a record number of points, and saw out their first ever Premiership season in an impressive ninth place last year. That’s still six places lower than he achieved with Palace back in 1991. Will we ever see such dizzy heights again? I don’t hold my breath.

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November 2021