What a week for Palace: Are they getting a grip or are they skidding towards relegation?

Crystal Palace

You can understand Palace feeling the need to get some kind of good news out to their fans, right?

Winless after four matches having seen Big Sam sling his hook after keeping them up last season, Steve Parrish decided that he wasn’t fully behind Frank de Boer’s dream of making Crystal Palace the Croydon version of Ajax Amsterdam and that he wasn’t that bothered about whether FdB was capable of making Wilfried Zaha the next Johan Cruyff. As for all this passing it out from the back rubbish, it’s almost as if Parish remembered that Scott Dann and Damien Delaney are not exactly an English mix of Franz Beckenbauer and Ronald Koeman.

If Palace fans wanted de Boer out then they must have wanted him back in again pretty damn quickly when the successor was announced. When you are bottom of the table, do you really turn to Roy Hodgson? Looking at the way Parish seems to recruit, I have a sneaky suspicion that if Iceland got a mention he probably assumed that Roy had a bad experience in the frozen fish section. It’s hardly inspiring, is it?

Think how the new signings at Palace probably feel – they sign for an ex-Ajax and Barcelona star and end up with Uncle Roy looking after them. I know Hodgson had a fine continental career, but that was back in the 90’s for crying out loud. And it’s not as if he was England’s answer to Pep Guardiola back then.

So Palace are in need of some good news this week. They are in some dire need of good news this week. And in modern football, when you need good news you turn to the Commercial Department.

Crystal Palace FC signs Apollo Tyres as the Official Tyre Partner of the Club

Yes, you read that correctly. Official Tyre Partner. Because when you are bottom of the league, you need an official tyre partner.

Look, I know Manchester United have been dealing in this kind of crap for over a decade but this is Crystal Palace. And these are tyres for crying out loud. Does anyone out there actually think that Dave, who lives near Ikea, is going to go out to get some new tyres for his Mondeo and ask Geoff in the garage whether he can “sort him out with some Apollos?”

“Nah Geoff mate, they don’t need to be new. It’s only a fucking Mondeo”.

Crystal Palace’s Commercial Director Barry Webber released this statement.

“We are excited to welcome Apollo Tyres into our expanding partnership portfolio and to build on our recent high-profile announcements by introducing a leading player in the Tyre Industry. The continued rate of growth of the Club’s international fanbase and reach around the world, combined with Apollo’s expansion and development into new territories, makes this an ideal platform for both parties to continue this growth.

“Apollo is a brand which values its communities, integrity, empowerment, and has a real passion for football, and these qualities shine through in the engagement activities they have lined up. Everyone at the Club is looking forward to taking part in what we are certain will be an exciting partnership, and a long and successful relationship with Apollo Tyres.”

I appreciate Barry’s enthusiasm and all, but I am pretty sure the kids in Calcutta are unlikely to put down their cricket bats, rip down their pictures of Kohli and MS Dhoni and replace them with pictures of Andros Townsend and Martin Kelly just because Palace have tied up an agreement with a provider of tyres from India. Call me cynical and all that.

Marco Paracciani, Chief Retail & Marketing Officer, Apollo Tyres, said:

“This association with Crystal Palace FC is an indication of our growing affiliation with football, which is growing as a sport, and allows us to engage with the large fan following, especially the youth, that this sport enjoys. Crystal Palace, with its strong fan following in London and with a growing fan base globally, provides us the opportunity to have a greater visibility in a key city like London and beyond.

“The Premier League is the most watched football league in the world, our increased investments towards this supports our global growth strategy perfectly.”

Football is growing as a sport, is it? For the last hundred or so years I presume he means. I’ve never met Marco, I am sure he is a lovely man but don’t talk about football as if you have just stumbled across a new sport that is still a little bit underground. And honestly, putting Crystal Palace and global growth strategy in the same paragraph just reminds me of what is wrong in the football world. I feel a little bit sick.

At the end of all this, I am sure Frank de Boer is sitting there thinking, “dammit, if only I had held out another week I could have got the tyres on the Merc redone for nothing”.

Real football fans don’t care about this kind of news folks, they are too busy laughing at Palace as a club that thinks Roy Hodgson is the best managerial option available to them right now.

That said, I like big Mama Sakho so I do hope they stay up. Maybe they will gain some traction now. Maybe they are no longer skidding to relegation. Maybe they are finally getting a grip. Maybe you are now tyred of this piece. I have gone off track after all…