Date: 9th July 2018 at 7:00am
Written by:

John Bostock has become a hot topic of conversation for Crystal Palace fans this summer and it’s certainly reignited some old thoughts about his departure from Selhurst Park and the manner in which his switch to Tottenham Hotspur was conducted.

Having made his debut as a 15-year-old as a substitute in a clash with Watford, he made five appearances in total before moving to White Hart Lane for an initial £700,000. Plenty of fans had their say at the time, as did many professionals, but with Bostock returning to the club this summer, Palace have certainly given him the opportunity to set the record straight and to his credit, it’s not a fluff interview.

He’s asked some tough questions and he gives some tough answers, but the honesty is extremely refreshing in the modern media age and he clearly has regrets even if, given his age at the time, it would be unfair to give him 100% liability for the decisions made.

The full interview can be read on Crystal Palace FC where he discusses his love of the club as a fan, attending games with his dad and the day he got the call to feature in the first team, as well as a number of other topics.

Starting with Barcelona’s interest in him, that was obviously the beginning of the troubles and he admitted being so close to signing his scholarship terms, he wanted to ‘stay’ but here’s where other factors come into play and agents play their games and so on.

“The people who were managing me at the time weren’t happy with the offer that Palace gave so they were pushing me towards another option, but it was always my desire to stay at the club. Palace always made it clear that they wanted to keep me at the club and for me to go on to be a first-team regular and really take my place in centre midfield, so that was my plan also. They said everything and when it came time to offer the contract I think the people who were in control of my decisions at the time weren’t satisfied with it, and there were offers from elsewhere that were more attractive so the feeling was that Palace weren’t really backing up what they said in the first place.”

Hindsight is a wonderful thing obviously, and although Bostock certainly doesn’t come off as entitled given his early potential, he’s grateful for the experiences his career have given him so far, different cultures, experiences and countries. But he says himself, ‘I was just a kid…I was a 15-year-old…’ and at that age you have to trust others to make decisions for you.

Then you have to have faith in those decisions and the picture that’s being painted for you.

“All I wanted to do was play football. You don’t really have that much say so you have people to make decisions for you in faith that it’s the best decision, so that’s how it kind of came about. It may have looked like it was a change of mind but I think there was a disappointment at the offer and then some persuasion from other interested parties.”

Micky Hazard certainly took the brunt of the blame from fans at the time, but whilst Bostock can see how fans would get that picture, he stated Hazard had little to do with the deal in reality. Spurs weren’t the only option, but he admits they came in ‘hard with the interest’ both in terms of ‘pressure on my parents’ but also playing hardball with the agent with deadlines.

“It happened so fast. I remember coming home from school and being told I had to sign this contract and I was like: ‘wow, really? Is this the best thing?’ Everyone around me was saying it was and even though I was big for my age, probably a bit more mature, I still didn’t know what was best for me. You’re not worried about money at that age, you just want to be playing and focusing on playing first-team football and representing my country at youth level. But the people around you worry about other things. Everybody’s got an opinion, and now that I’m older I can make decisions for myself. You learn from these situations.”

As the interview progresses Bostock admitted that looking back leaving Palace certainly wasn’t the best decision to have made and he clearly regretted it, even if he admits he’s had to move on and become a better player and a better human ‘but if I could have made another decision for myself I would have 100%.’

He also covered the comments of fans at the time but looking back he can certainly see things from their perspective and although he wasn’t ‘bitter’ about what he read, obviously it hurt. He also joked about former chairman Simon Jordan revoking his and his dad’s season tickets in the Arthur Wait and they haven’t been back since, but again he holds no ill will now to Jordan as he ‘understood where he was coming from’.

There’s plenty more in th interview as well and it’s a good read from a perspective you don’t normally get as a fan with so much at a club taking place behind closed doors and then an agreed wall of silence on many things – at least until autobiography stages of a career.

The full 20-minute interview can also be watched on the clubs’ video channel. Whether it changes your personal opinion I can’t say, but it’s worth the time to read in full or watch in full in my humble.