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Arsenal display showed why Ollie exit is no great loss
3:44pm Tuesday 29th October 2013 in Sport
EAGLES columnist is already thinking letting Ian Holloway go was the right thing to do after a vastly improved effort against Arsenal on Saturday.
IT’S not often you feel content after witnessing a defeat on home soil.
And yet I imagine a fair few supporters walked out of the stadium with a spring in their step on Saturday, perhaps even sporting a forced smile.
Top-of-the-table Arsenal were predicted to run riot but despite being initially dominant, they finished the game somewhat fortunate to take home all three points.
Keith Millen, who was fulfilling a life-long ambition of leading his boyhood club, was able to mould brute force and relentless energy to effectively shackle the creative talents of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey.
At the other end, Marouane Chamakh emerged from his shell to frustrate his former employers, while Barry Bannan looked far more at home on the wing than in the hole.
Joel Ward was once again unassailable at right-back and Mile Jedinak reprised his role as Captain Marvel, just as opposition fans were beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about.
If reports suggesting the curly-haired Claude Makelele has signed a new deal are true, it would represent a wonderful contrast in emotions from this time last week.
Saturday’s promising Arsenal performance was desperately needed in the wake of Ian Holloway’s departure and subsequent parting shot at the attitude of his new arrivals.
The widespread view Palace are simply relegation fodder was hopefully abolished beyond the opening 10 minutes, when passion and determination swept aside inevitable tepidness.
However, it appears as though Tony Pulis is still spurning the advances of Steve Parish.
The former Stoke man reportedly has major reservations over the vacancy, believing it will be the hardest job of his career to save us from the drop.
While this may be undeniably true, it merely highlights Pulis is only truly concerned with short-term attainment and reaffirms my belief the board should look elsewhere.
Talk of a bumper £1.5m contract and a healthy survival bonus leaves me with the horribly vision of Pulis playing hard to get, winking seductively from beneath his tatty baseball cap while he sits at home making tactical notes on the Rugby League World Cup.
The club needs to use its newfound financially-secure position to build a foundation for future success.
After all, Steve Parish has already admitted he was happy to go back down to the Championship if a plan was in place to instigate a swift return.
Just because Holloway bailed out of his five-year contract painfully early doesn't mean we should instantly dismiss the prospect of another long-term project.
Upon reading Holloway’s latest newspaper column I was expecting a few tear-stained words cobbled together by a broken heart and a tired mind.
Instead, he was surprisingly eager to draw attention to the club’s pitfalls this season, openly declaring mistakes were made and lessons had been learned.
It was as though he was filling out the ‘what have I learned from this experience’ questionnaire after a particularly strenuous work placement, presumably with the intention of sharing it with ever prospective employer in the Championship.
But in doing so he perhaps inadvertently attempted to shift some of the blame free from his heavy shoulders and onto chairman Parish.
“Looking back, he (Parish) became so obsessed with bringing in players to help us cope with life in the top flight that he wanted to buy anyone and everyone,” mused Holloway.
“Because we didn’t have much time to put a proper plan of action in place, we became desperate.”
Now while I don’t doubt the desire to bring players in over the summer bordered on obsession, I am utterly convinced Holloway was the main driving force behind the majority of moves, especially the likes of Barry Bannan, Jason Puncheon and Elliot Grandin – all of whom he had worked with before.
I am even beginning to think Holloway never really had control of the dressing room.
It wasn’t the pressure or the string of demoralising defeats which prompted him to walk away, more the crushing realisation he could no longer inspire a team he was never able to make his own.
Nevertheless, Holloway’s comments, coupled with last Saturday’s uplifting performance, have all but confirmed it was the right time for change.
I just hope we spend the right amount of time searching for a suitable successor.
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