After a fourth successive defeat without scoring, Crystal Palace have sacked Frank De Boer and look set to replace the Dutchman with former England manager, Roy Hodgson. Ben McAleer looks back at one of the shortest reigns in managerial history and assesses the Eagles' chances of avoiding relegation...
"At least in Hodgson, Parish will be appointing a manager who is familiar with the struggles that come with a relegation battle, having previously avoided the drop as Fulham and West Brom boss, but even then, Hodgson hasn't managed in over year after England's thoroughly underwhelming Euro 2016 campaign."
The writing was on the wall for Frank De Boer once Michael Oliver blew the final whistle at Turf Moor in Sunday's early kick. Crystal Palace fell to a 1-0 defeat to Burnley to leave them mired in the relegation zone with four defeats from four, seven goals conceded and none scored.
All in all, the Dutchman lasted just 77 days at the Selhurst Park helm, that the shortest reign by a permanent manager in Premier League history. After his disastrous spell with Inter Milan, De Boer needed a new job to improve his reputation. He's done little more than worsen his credentials after he made such a positive start to his managerial career with Ajax.
Palace are now second favourites to be relegated at [2.5] and it's clear that chairman Steve Parish is eager to bring in a new man capable of staving off the drop.
Roy Hodgson is the overwhelming favourite to succeed De Boer at [1.25] on the Exchange (paid out if he completes 10 games) as Parish strives to land a 'safe pair of hands' in their bid to consolidate a Premier League spot once more.
When Sam Allardyce confirmed his intention to retire from the game having guided Palace to safety, it left the Eagles in a conundrum. Allardyce had come in as Alan Pardew's replacement with the sole purpose of keeping Palace in the Premier League. He'd completed his objective, yet the 62-year-old's choice to call time on his career meant Parish had a problem on his hands. Palace's squad is one assembled by Pardew and Allardyce, with the latter's style of play not pretty, but effective.
Parish interviewed a number of managers - he had a 37-man shortlist for Allardyce's successor - and plumped for De Boer, even if his style of management did not suit the players that were at his disposal. That did not discourage Parish from appointing the former Ajax and Inter boss, but ultimately Palace have shot themselves in the foot. Granted, De Boer had a full pre-season to work with his new squad, but to demand a complete overhaul in style and expect results from the off was foolhardy to say the least.
"We need evolution over a period of time," Parish said back in June, yet handed De Boer just four league matches to change Palace for the better. The club is very much now back to square one in terms of development. However, De Boer is not completely devoid of blame in this instance. His dismissal highlights the cruel mistress that is football management, yet he felt he was the best man for the job back in the summer. It's vital to believe in your abilities, but it was naïve of him to instantly demand change from the players.
The squad is one built for playing a specific way and rather than implement change gradually, he looked for a complete immediate overhaul. The first time Palace actually played well this season was in Sunday's 1-0 loss at Burnley and that was only because he moved to a four-man defence having experimented with a three-man backline in the opening three matches of the campaign.
The blame will largely fall on Parish's shoulders, though, and deservedly so. He failed to back De Boer in the transfer market, which fundamentally hindered the 47-year-old's chances of success, and of course the manager is real loser in this instance.
At least in Hodgson, Parish will be appointing a manager who is familiar with the struggles that come with a relegation battle, having previously avoided the drop as Fulham and West Brom boss, but even then, Hodgson hasn't managed in over year after England's thoroughly underwhelming Euro 2016 campaign.
A 34.7% win success rate in the Premier League isn't one to scream home about, but that in turn is 34.7% better than De Boer's, and that's the crucial aspect here. What's more is Croydon-born Hodgson brings English top-flight experience to Selhurst Park and the know-how of digging deep when the going gets tough, yet his appointment is very much papering over the cracks.
De Boer was very much the wrong manager for the wrong job, yet he at least has the sympathy of the game, even if he made mistakes during his brief spell as Palace boss. Parish now, however, needs the new man, be it Hodgson or someone else, to work their magic from the get go or else it could be a long, hard season for the Eagles.