Wednesday 29 October ~
Becoming only the second team this season to be beaten by a fledgling Nottingham Forest side will have angered a great many Crystal Palace fans. Some will have expected another play-off appearance after last season's run, which almost ended with Neil Warnock's side making the Premier League (they could have been up there competing with Chelsea and Liverpool, Geovanni in midfield, Marlon King leading the line). Back in the real world we find Palace languishing in mid-table.
Following John Bostock's acrimonious departure to the still bottom of the Premier League Spurs, his fellow teen prodigy Ashley-Paul Robinson secured his exit from Palace by posting on a popular social networking site, in broken English, “Ashley-Paul is goin Fulham on Monday. If I pull dis off im dis ting”. Both angered chairman Simon Jordan to the extent that he wants out after apparently becoming disillusioned with the game, as well as running low on funds. In this time of financial uncertainty who would want to buy a Championship club in London? Someone does, obviously, as Queens Park Rangers have been taken over and Charlton Athletic are subject to foreign interest.
Before they received the Formula One millions of Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone, QPR didn't seem like a particularly attractive proposition. With a relatively small fanbase and rooted in a corner of west London already dominated by Chelsea and Fulham, QPR's potential is considerably less than that of Palace whose catchment area is spread through south London and Surrey. They simply benefited from the fact that chairman Gianni Paladini happened to be friends with the aforementioned racing magnates. Yet the voluble Mr Jordan does not appear to have a wide circle of admirers. Indeed he has a flair for maintaining feuds – as proved by his frequent run-ins with an old enemy, David Sullivan.
Charlton don't have any such connections but still have managed to attract investors from Dubai. So why not Palace? The potential is there in a youth system that continues to produce players more than capable of the step up (Tom Soares, now of Stoke City, being a prime example) and a manager who has a proven record in achieving promotion to the top level. Could the reason really be that people simply don't like dealing with the man with the year-round tan? Simon Jordan might be stuck there forever, or at least until he learns how to get along with people. Jamie Hinks