Trevor Steven: Crystal Palace board is the real joke for appointing Frank de Boer in the first place

Trevor Steven
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Crystal Palace Unveil Their New Manager Frank de Boer
Palace overlooked De Boer's lack of suitability for the job (Source: Getty)

Managers say they live or die by their results but in the case of Frank de Boer, whose tenure at Crystal Palace was brought to an end after just 77 days this week, I think there was more to it.

Certainly the team’s inability to get any sort of result or even score a goal in some fairly routine opening games – a trip to Liverpool aside – would have painted a scary picture to the Palace hierarchy.

But this is a parting of the ways that has felt inevitable for a while, with those poor results compounded by training ground gossip that De Boer and Palace were never going to be a good fit.

Read more: Roy Hodgson set to return at Palace after they sack De Boer

I have to say I was surprised when the club appointed De Boer, given the Dutchman’s background and experience.

He was very successful at Ajax, where he won four league titles in five and a half seasons, but those circumstances were quite different and particularly well suited to him.

Ajax are founded on the principle of bringing through young players and those youngsters tend to have ultimate respect for the manager, especially one like De Boer who became a club legend as a player.

When he took his next role at Inter Milan, where the Ajax mindset was absent and a more worldly wise set of players would not be brought to heel so easily, it didn’t work at all and he lasted 85 days.

Introverted and unable to inspire

On the face of it, you wouldn’t say the Palace dressing room was a particularly difficult one to take over, but, like Inter and unlike Ajax, it has a lot of players from different backgrounds that a manager has to find a way to get his message across to.

Some of the more successful recent bosses at Selhurst Park have been very dominant characters, like Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis. Alan Pardew’s style was different but he too had a strong personality.

In comparison, De Boer seemed almost introverted. On the touchline, with his hands in his pockets and shoulders hunched, there didn’t look to be any urgency about his management. In the end, he didn’t appear to be able to inspire.

I’ve seen people say that it’s a joke to sack a manager after just four league games, but the real joke was the decision to appoint De Boer in the first place.

He was not the right man. His record suggested he was more suited to a younger group of players and the Palace board got it so, so wrong. They have acted quickly to address the mistake, but he is the fall guy.

The players’ confidence will be really low now. That won’t change overnight and they will need to rebuild that belief by going back to basics.

Hodgson's time in charge of England ended in ignominy (Source: Getty)

I have no doubt that if Allardyce were remotely interested he would be first choice to take charge. It needs to be someone who understands the Premier League, so on that level Roy Hodgson’s expected appointment makes sense.

He will get them back to basics and I hope he does well, but there are no guarantees in football and there is a real challenge ahead for everyone at the club.

Roy is a passionate guy who will have been hurting at the way his time in charge of England ended with defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016. He has got a point to prove not just to Palace but to the wider English public.

Read more: I'm sorry, I haven't a clue: England Euro farce deepens

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