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Most people tend to learn from their mistakes in this life. Well, actually that's not true, because if so a colossal hangover would dissuade you from drinking gallons of red wine of an evening and seek an alternative method of making the interminable pain of daily life stop.
Start again - most people should learn from their mistakes in this life. Most of all football managers, who as we know have a limited time in which to produce results. This should be the first thing that a manager considers before pondering how to approach a new job - what worked last time, and what was a calamitous failure? Keep the first ones, get rid of the second, rinse, repeat, hope.
In some ways it's pleasantly endearing that Ian Holloway appears to be breezily ignoring this advice when approaching his second crack at the big time with Crystal Palace. During his first spell in the Premier League with Blackpool, Holloway relied on a phalanx of half-decent forwards to cobble together a few goals, but paid not much heed to the other end of his team. Blackpool, as you'll recall, were relegated.
In the recently-closed transfer window, Palace signed 16 players - 14 permanently, two loans. Four of those were defenders, one of which was Jack Hunt, an attacking full-back who couldn't get into the Huddersfield team before his move, another goalkeeper in Neil Alexander, who will act as back-up to Julian Speroni, as well as Adrian Mariappa and free transfer Florian Marange (who, incidentally, wasn't named in Palace's 25-man Premier League squad). Of the rest, nine were forwards or wingers, only four recruited from other Premier League clubs - and one of those was Jerome Thomas, released by West Brom at the end of last season. The others were Cameron Jerome and Jason Puncheon, both loans, and Marouane Chamakh. Among that clutch of strikers was Dwight Gayle, a forward with only 28 starts above League Two under his belt, upon whom they punted anything between £4-6million, depending on which trusted transfer source you believe.
At Blackpool, it was a similar story. The summer before their solitary season in the top flight they made 12 signings, four of whom were defenders, adding Luke Varney, Marlon Harewood, Elliot Grandin, DJ Campbell and Ludovic Sylvestre to a squad that already featured Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Jason Euell and Brett Ormerod. When January came, Blackpool were doing OK - at the end of the month they were 12th, having scored more than all-but-one team outside the top four, but had the second-worst defensive record in the league. Holloway's response was to sign James Beattie, Matt Phillips, Andy Reid, Jason Puncheon and Sergey Kornilenko, forwards/attacking-minded players all. He did recruit one defender - Moroccan left-back Salaheddine Sbaï on loan, but he didn't make a first-team appearance.
Blackpool were relegated with comfortably the worst defensive record in the division. They scored more goals than all but four teams outside the Champions League places (and the same as Spurs, who finished fifth), which was lovely for them and won Holloway plenty of praise from idealists who enjoyed using the phrase 'breath of fresh air', but it did them sod all good in terms of results.
This all seems eerily familiar. One might think that, after winning promotion from the Championship last term with the second-best goals total but with only a +11 goal difference (Watford, the only team to score more, had +27), Holloway may have reasoned that significant defensive beefing was in order. Apparently not. The other promoted sides have strengthened at the back - Cardiff spent £8million on Steven Caulker and another £12million on Gary Medel to prowl in front of him, while Hull brought in Curtis Davies, Maynor Figueroa and two new goalkeepers - not the most inspiring recruits, granted, but certainly better than Palace's.
All this would be fine if there was conclusive proof that strikers/goals = success, or at least survival, but as Daniel Storey recently pointed out in this excellent piece, it's a solid defence that will keep you up, not a relatively potent attack. You'd think that Holloway, of all people, would remember this from three years ago. Granted, Palace's approach appears not to be quite so gung-ho as Blackpool's, but that defence still looks troublingly thin.
If all Holloway wants is to create an attacking, free-flowing side that will win Crystal Palace friends and admirers then grand, bully for him, enjoy yourself big horse. But by failing to learn from his own mistakes, Holloway could be condemning Palace to another brief stay in the top flight.
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter