Sometimes there’s no harm in giving a bit of credit, even when local rivals are involved. Just listened to the interviews on the radio with both Holloway and the Palace chairman. Both were open, clearly honest, and communicating fairly to their fans the reasons for the departure of a manager. Whatever the ins and out, and whatever happens next (on both fronts others are far better placed than me to comment), they both emerge with credit, with a willingness to talk to the media about a difficult affair, with no side to what they said, obvious regret from both parties that things haven’t worked out the way they hoped, and presumably a parting of the ways with good wishes all round.
Even though we understandably want to turn over Millwall when we play them, and feel that something’s wrong with the world if we are below them in the league, I couldn’t help thinking through recent years that in Jackett they had a good, level-headed manager doing a decent job (which is in no way any comment on the guy in charge now; on that front I have no idea). Palace will no doubt regroup and even if they do come back down will obviously have the resources in the short term to stand a fair chance of going back up.
OK, the (relative) goodwill will come to a quick end if there’s any suggestion that Palace might come knocking on Sir Chris’ door. I can’t say who would suit them, but can’t help thinking that one suitable candidate would be Curbishley, if he is looking to get back into the swing of things. The job itself would presumably involve a ‘no lose’ situation as far as this season is concerned (ie if they get relegated the guy stays, unless it’s a deal framed deliberately to tempt someone for just the rest of this season) and Curbs obviously has experience of keeping sides in the Premiership and of rebounding from the Championship after relegation. Might stick in the throat, but if he wants a job I wouldn’t blame him for sending in the application (although just how I’d feel if he led out a Palace team at The Valley would have to remain an open question; West Ham was another matter).
Closer to home, I couldn’t help noticing on the club site the piece about the ‘Addicks Place stones’ in front of The Valley having had a “full professional clean”. On the assumption that this has extended to the older bricks, that is welcome news and here too some credit where it’s due. It seems there were discussions with supporters over the appearance of the plot and if suggestions have been acted on so much the better. I will try to take a look at my brick on Sunday (assuming we leave the pub in time).
Of course we wish Wigan well in their European match tomorrow night. But it would be unreasonable of them to hope for anything other than a very tiring victory, including the possibility of a few post-match niggles for key players. Goodwill does after all only extend so far. Don’t know who draws up the fixture list for the Europa League, but if it had been me they would have been travelling to Rubin Kazan this week rather than the other way around.
As for last weekend, there were five requirements for me to have the perfect Saturday in Lyon. Well, the car worked OK, the corkscrew didn’t break, and after a fashion my partner Suzanne managed to work her new oven (I thought I was bad when it comes to having to read instruction manuals but she does take the biscuit). Three out of three became four out of four with our glorious victory. Believe me, there was a corner of Lyon where glasses were raised in tribute.
However, nobody likes perfection and perhaps predictably Lyon Duchere did not play their part to make it a clean sweep. They will have felt confident of beating mid-table Jura Sud and started the game well enough, generally dictating the play and looking threatening. But after a couple of efforts didn’t find the net Duchere were caught cold when their defence and goalkeeper hesitated and allowed in a Jura guy to score midway through the first half. No matter, plenty of time left – and indeed Duchere evened things up just a few minutes later as their nippy winger cut in and shot fiercely past their keeper at his near post. At that stage perhaps a little complacency set in as Duchere failed to use the equaliser as a springboard. Instead before the break they dawdled on the ball in midfield and Jura sprang forward well with numbers, played in their guy who rounded the keeper and scored.
At half-time the talk among the crowd (which must have numbered a little short of 200, including a carload who had clearly made the short trip from Jura) was that the Duchere manager might deliver a few choice words. Whatever was said didn’t have the desired effect as Duchere became increasingly frustrated at their inability to break down a team happy to keep their shape behind the ball and able to threaten far more on the break. Conditions weren’t easy as through Saturday it seemed the Mistral had made its appearance, but Duchere ended up failing to create a decent chance in the second half and can have no complaints about the result.
So be it. If I had to choose one of the five not to come off I guess I could have lived with the corkscrew breaking (provided this happened when the supermarket was still open), but other than that sorry Duchere but if pushed it had to be you.