IT never seems to be easy at Crystal Palace does it? Just two days before the beginning of the new season, the Eagles have been plunged into chaos following the departure of Tony Pulis, who reportedly clashed with the board over the club's transfer policy and a frustration at the failure to sign summer targets such as Gylfi Sigurdsson, Steven Caulker and Michu. But just where has it gone wrong for a man who was named Premier League manager of the year after guiding Palace from the bottom of the league in November to 11th - their highest top flight finish since 1992. The former Stoke City manager's time at Selhurst Park has undoubtedly been a rousing success on the field, turning Palace into a side that was hard to beat and that won five consecutive games from March 29 to ensure safety, including impressive victories against Chelsea and Everton. In fact, Palace won 13 of the 29 games under Pulis, propelling them to a mid-table finish and leading to Pulis winning the manager of the year award, ahead of Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, Everton manager Roberto Martinez and the manager of Premier League champions Manchester City, Manuel Pellegrini. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said this morning (Friday) that Pulis had done a "remarkable job" at Palace ahead of the Eagles' trip to the Gunners for the season opener tomorrow (Saturday), but while the 56-year-old received plaudits for the way he turned around a club seemingly destined for the drop, there have always been murmurings in the background of discontent over transfer policy. The first signs of a potentially difficult relationship between Pulis and the board can perhaps be tracked back to how long it took to negotiate Pulis' arrival in SE25, despite him being the overwhelming favourite to succeed Ian Holloway in the Palace hotseat. It was a month between Holloway's exit in October and Pulis' arrival, with rumours that Pulis was initially cautious about taking the job and how much he would be able to spend in January to bolster the squad. Eventually, he was convinced by the board and a two-and-half year deal was agreed, but rumours of a rift between Pulis and the board surfaced back in January, when the manager was reportedly unhappy with the length of time being taken to complete deals for new players. Again that was resolved, with the arrivals of Scott Dann, Joe Ledley, Tom Ince and Wayne Hennessey, and the permanent signing of on-loan midfielder Jason Puncheon. But the tension between Pulis and Parish reared its head again this summer, with the pair said to have clashed over the club's transfer policy and vision for the future, while it is understood that Pulis wanted more control over football matters, and especially transfers, having worked with Parish and sporting director Iain Moody to identify and bring in targets. A proposed move for former Eagles hero Wilfried Zaha has been cited as an example of this, with Parish understood to be keen on a deal to bring the youngster back to south London after a difficult first year at Manchester United. However, as reported yesterday (Thursday), it is understood that Pulis had reservations about Zaha's attitude and how he would fit into his team. Pulis was also said to be frustrated that Parish was putting too much attention on a move for Zaha, instead of sealing a £3m deal for Southampton midfielder Jack Cork, who he identified as a key signing. The reported tension between the pair led to the odds being slashed on the Welshman exiting Selhurst Park, and after Pulis travelled to central London for showdown talks with Parish last night (Thursday), it was confirmed that he would be departing after just nine months in charge, leaving Keith Millen in caretaker charge for a daunting trip to the Emirates Stadium.
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